What does a salesperson do?

The primary role of a salesperson is to sell the products or services for a company and represent its brand. As a salesperson, you will be responsible for managing customer relationships as a primary point of contact. This performance-driven career requires you to generate leads and actively pursue them through the sales process to the point of purchase. You will have the task of identifying customer needs and pitching the ideal products/services while ensuring a positive experience from start to finish. 

The other roles of a salesperson include:

• Presenting, selling, and promoting company products/services with the use of solid arguments to existing and potential clients

• Performing cost-benefit and needs analysis of potential/existing customers to actualize their needs

• Establishing, developing, and maintaining positive customer and business relationships

• Reaching out to leads through cold calling

• Resolving customer complaints and problems to ensure maximum satisfaction

• Achieving sales targets and results within the schedule

• Coordinating sales efforts with other team members and departments

• Analyzing market potential in territories, tracking sales, and providing reports

• Keeping up with the best practices and promotional trends

• Continuously making improvements by providing feedback

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What is the average salary of a salesperson?

The salary range for salespersons varies widely depending on important factors such as education, certification, experience, and added skills. A salesperson in the USA earns $74,481 annually as of April 2022, and the salary typically ranges between $61,600 to $87,200. The salary scale is also dependent on the size of the company, the industry, and location. In some states, you can find salaries as low as $40,000. Some of the best paying states include:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Washington
  • New Jersey

How salespersons make their earnings

There are three ways salespeople earn money:

  1. A basic salary for time spent on the job, 
  2. A commission, and 
  3. Salary plus commission. 

Salespeople paid purely on commission have to make a sale to make money, and it is usually a fixed percentage of the amount of the sale. In some cases, the commission can be a standard amount such as $100 per sale once you sell more than a certain number of sales in a month. The other way to earn commission is team-based, where your department gets a reward for achieving a certain amount in total sales.


Working as a salesperson

Working as a salesperson is a great career choice because there is great potential for earning a high salary. This job has a clear career path within almost any organization, and anyone can get into the profession. As a salesperson, you will have personal growth opportunities by building professional and interpersonal skills. Sales jobs are always in high demand. Once you train for the career, it will equip you with transferable skills such as public relations, marketing, and customer care.

What are the responsibilities of a salesperson?

A salesperson's job can vary from one organization to the other depending on the type, size, or nature of the business. While some salespeople may work in-house and others in the field, certain responsibilities and duties are common to all businesses. Basically, the role of a sales representative is to identify prospective buyers, present products/services, and convince customers to purchase. 

The other responsibilities that you will perform as a salesperson besides selling include:

  • Identifying and reaching out to potential buyers, cold calling, and generating leads
  • Negotiating the terms and prices and preparing sales agreements with leads
  • Guiding the buyers by listening to their concerns and suggesting a solution that will meet their needs
  • Submitting and processing orders to ensure the products/services reach the customer on time
  • Dealing with complaints and making sure to resolve them quickly and amicably
  • Providing feedback on customer and market information
  • Answering client questions about products, prices, credit terms, and availability
  • Participating in sales promotion campaigns
  • Preparing daily, weekly, or monthly reports
  • Maintaining client records and following up with customers to sustain continuous relationships
  • Collecting credit information about the creditworthiness of a customer
  • Attending sales meetings with sales managers to recap recent results and achievements
  • Collaborating with colleagues from different departments in the organization
  • Collecting bills
  • Planning sales routes
  • Organizing for packing and delivery
  • Overseeing counter and window displays
  • Working with middlemen

What type of equipment do salespersons use?

A successful salesperson uses various tools and software that leverage technology to optimize the sales game. It's necessary to embrace sales technology to stand out from the competitors and build lasting relations with customers. The tools available to sales professionals make work easier, save time on admin tasks, and considerably shorten the sales cycle. Some of the sales tools that will help you succeed in selling include the following.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software

CRM software helps to manage your business's relationship with its customers. It is the most used tool by many salespeople and usually the first investment for most companies. The tool helps: 

  • Keep track of existing clients
  • Automate communication
  • Boost customer relationships
  • Enhance customer retention
  • Optimize sales and marketing efforts

Sales Intelligence

Sales intelligence involves a broad range of technologies to help you find, understand, and monitor information on existing and prospective clients' daily business. The tool helps salespersons know who they should talk with, what to talk about, and the best time to talk to them. Sales intelligence tools provide contextual information about your clients and prospects, such as current contracts, purchase history, digital footprints, and business objectives.

What is the work environment of a salesperson? 

As a salesperson, you have the opportunity to work for many industries in various settings, including wholesale, retail, and technical fields. If you work in the retail field, you most likely will work indoors on the retail floor selling items like cars, furniture, or outfits. The responsibilities will include running cash registers, tagging items, organizing displays, and organizing shelves. 

Those who work in wholesale and technical fields tend to travel extensively around numerous territories. Salespeople work under pressure to meet targets, with those working on commission striving to meet their sales volume goal to prop up their income.

Who are your colleagues as a salesperson?

While the sales department is responsible for maximizing sales, it must work with other departments in the organization to achieve a common goal. Some of the departments you will be collaborating with include marketing, and information technology (IT). You will also work with help desk support professionals, accountants and administrative assistants

What is the work schedule of a salesperson?

Your work schedule as a salesperson will depend on where you work and what type of products you are selling. Those who work in retail will have varying schedules that revolve around regular business hours and likely extend into the evenings. Retail salespeople will also work weekends. 

If you work in wholesale sales, your schedule will depend on the hours that your clients maintain. This position will also require travel, so expect to spend time away from home. Salespeople will maintain at least a 40-hour workweek. 

If you work on commission, you may have the ability to shorten your hours when you meet a specific earnings target. On the other hand, you will work more hours when sales are slow.


What is the career outlook for a salesperson?

A sales job has tremendous benefits, such as work flexibility, remarkable earning potential, and the ability to transfer skills to other industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook on sales careers is good as the expectations are that it will increase by 5% from 2020 to 2030. This projection is especially so in the wholesale and manufacturing sector, where roughly 298,000 fresh salesperson hires will happen. 

Opportunities for growth

If you opt to become a salesperson, you will have the options of conducting inside sales, outside sales, or industry-specific sales. Business ownership is also a possibility. There are numerous options in a sales career path; thus, you are able to choose to become a sales associate, business development representative, account executive, or sales consultant. The other more specific roles in sales include:

  • Insurance agent: You help clients choose insurance plans that suit their needs. You assist the client in reviewing options, processing claims, and recommending changes or updates to current policies.
  • Medical sales representative: You work with medical staff to provide the needed supplies. You have the option of specializing in a specific area, such as sports medicine or psychology, in this field.
  • Sales engineers: You are responsible for selling technology products such as machinery and software. You have in-depth product knowledge and the ability to work with clients to develop custom products or services.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a salesperson?

Whether you seriously want to find a job or are just checking out the job market, Spherion is the best place to start. We will help you with your employment search by matching you with a salesperson job that fits your skills. Spherion is one of the leading staffing companies with connections to many local businesses. We offer you many networking opportunities to find the right employer for your work style. Working with Spherion offers you the following advantages:

  • Weekly payment
  • Flexibility
  • A readily available contact person
  • Lots of training opportunities
  • A wide range of jobs in your area
  • A personal contact to help in your job search

What education do you need as a salesperson?

Although you are able to get a sales job with a high school diploma, most companies prefer to hire university graduates. Sales representatives with a bachelor's degree in marketing, economics, business administration, or any other related area are better paid. Knowing communication skills and a foreign language will give you an added advantage. If you have a degree in any of the following areas, you can become a salesperson.

  • Communications
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Public relations
  • Liberal arts
  • Psychology
  • Social science
  • Economics

Skills & competencies

The training you get in college is good but might not be sufficient to make you a successful salesperson. Certain skills and competencies enhance your performance by building solid relationships, shorter pipelines, and innovative opportunities. Sales teams and managers need to have the following competencies for effective sales:

  • Active listening: A keen listener is also able to read the speaker's non-verbal signs and body language. The clues that potential clients give enable a salesperson to predict the outcome of the presentation.
  • Product knowledge: Extensive knowledge of your company's products is necessary, especially if the selling is complex or the products are technical.
  • Sales leadership: As a salesperson, you will take the lead in the sales process and decision-making capability. This way, you are able to pick up on clues, anticipate needs, and provide appropriate solutions.
  • Marketing and industry insight: This competence enables you to place offers within the industry context and remain on top of competitor activities.
  • Confident communication: As a salesperson, you should be confident when pitching and negotiating. It would be best if you also kept abreast with the current communication channels.
  • Reporting skills: A salesperson requires attention to detail and proper numerical skills to generate reports on campaigns and other sales figures.

Other requirements

Besides the competencies mentioned above, you will also require these developed skills to excel as a salesperson:

  • Customer service skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Results-focused thinking
  • Computer literacy
  • Positive attitude
  • Neat personal presentation
  • Phone etiquette
  • Driver's license
  • Basic mathematical skills
  • Time management skills
  • Motivation
  • Relationship management skills
  • Knowledge of CRM systems


Working as a salesperson provides opportunities for growth and high earnings. Learn more about some of the frequently asked questions pertaining to this role. 

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