All You Need To Know About A Salesperson Career

You think about becoming a salesperson but are still not entirely sure whether this job would be right for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a salesman or saleswoman in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a sales assistant, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, work-life balance, duties, educational requirements, prospects, future outlook and much more.

You will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about being a salesperson for you.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a sales representative looks like and whether you still want to pursue such a career or rather want to go for a different job instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Salesperson do?

Salespersons sell all kinds of things to wholesalers, retailers and to the general public.

This includes food, cars, electronic devices, furniture and many other things we need to make our lives as comfortable as possible.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Salesperson

  • Selling all sorts of things and devices to customers
  • Making sure that products are priced properly
  • Buying products as cheaply as possible
  • Making sure that shops are well-sorted
  • Assuring a nice atmosphere inside a shop
  • Advising customers on what to buy
  • Greeting and welcoming customers
  • Giving customers a good feeling and assuring that they have a good time in a store
  • Complying with laws, rules and regulations
  • Ordering requested stock for customers
  • Tracking inventory
  • Support customers with complaints and other service topics

What a Typical Day of a Salesperson looks like?

Most vendors get to work between 7 and 9 a.m.

After getting to their workplace, the first thing they do is to make sure that everything inside the shop looks as nice as possible so that customers get a good feeling inside the store and stay as long as possible.

Salespeople also make sure that hygienic requirements are met to minimize the spread of diseases to provide a safe atmosphere for their customers.

Not only will shop assistants consult customers regarding what to buy on various occasions, but they will also try to convince customers more than they had initially planned to increase the revenue of the store as well as their own salaries since their business model is often commission-based and the more you sell, the more money you can make as a salesperson in the long run.

After working in this customer-oriented style for many hours, salespersons usually quit their workday between 4 and 6 p.m., even though this also greatly depends on the shift you work and the industry you work in.

Salesperson Salary 2022

Salesperson salary brackets 2022

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $107,000> $53.45
Top 25 %$83,000 – $92,000$41.42 – $45.93
Bottom 25 %$43,000 – $47,000$21.47 – $23.39
Bottom 10 %$28,000 – $36,000$13.94 – $17.89
Range$28,000 – $119,000$13.94 – $59.38
Average (Mean)$54,000$26.88
Median$47,000$23.44

Salesperson salary 2022 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$28,000 – $39,000$13.94 – $19.45
Junior$37,000 – $45,000$18.39 – $22.47
Professional$42,000 – $59,000$20.92 – $29.43
Senior Professional$56,000 – $71,000$27.96 – $35.49
Expert$68,000 – $91,000$33.89 – $45.48
Top Expert$89,000 – $119,000$44.41 – $59.38

Salesperson salary by state 2022 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$49,800$24.38
Alaska$52,100$26.04
Arizona$55,600$27.79
Arkansas$51,400$25.67
California$63,500$31.73
Colorado$48,700$24.34
Connecticut$50,300$25.12
Delaware$52,300$26.14
District of Columbia$57,800$28.89
Florida$53,400$26.67
Georgia$48,800$24.38
Guam$49,900$24.93
Hawaii$55,200$27.59
Idaho$51,300$25.62
Illinois$47,900$23.94
Indiana$50,600$25.28
Iowa$48,200$24.09
Kansas$47,100$23.53
Kentucky$49,500$24.72
Louisiana$52,300$26.14
Maine$53,800$26.87
Maryland$55,400$27.69
Massachusetts$57,200$28.59
Michigan$48,700$24.32
Minnesota$47,900$23.92
Mississippi$49,300$24.63
Missouri$46,500$23.24
Montana$48,900$24.44
Nebraska$50,100$25.03
Nevada$47,800$23.88
New Hampshire$53,400$26.67
New Jersey$55,100$27.53
New Mexico$48,400$24.18
New York$64,600$32.29
North Carolina$49,100$24.53
North Dakota$51,200$25.58
Ohio$53,600$26.79
Oklahoma$55,800$27.88
Oregon$51,700$25.83
Pennsylvania$54,300$27.13
Rhode Island$52,900$26.42
South Carolina$48,400$24.18
South Dakota$46,700$23.35
Tennessee$49,500$24.74
Texas$50,800$25.38
Utah$52,700$26.33
Vermont$54,100$27.04
Virginia$51,800$25.89
Washington$57,900$28.93
West Virginia$52,100$26.04
Wisconsin$49,800$24.88
Wyoming$47,300$23.63

Job Security of Salespersons

Salespersons have pretty poor job security since educational barriers to entry to work in this field are pretty low and almost everyone can work as a sales representative.

Consequently, salesmen are replaceable pretty easily and always have to fear losing their jobs.

Future Outlook of Salespersons

Since an increasing number of people are buying things online instead of in shops in person, many small retailers will face serious problems in the near future and many jobs in the classical sales industry will be lost.

Thus, you will also have a pretty poor future outlook as a salesperson and may have a hard time finding a job just a few years from now.

Working Hours of Salespersons

If you work day shifts, you will usually start your workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish your workday between 4 and 6 p.m.

However, some salespersons also work nightshifts and get to work between 5 and 7 p.m. and stay at work until 3 – 5 a.m.

Thus, before you decide on becoming a salesperson, make sure that you are also willing to work rather exotic hours since you will most likely not get happy with this job otherwise.

Job Satisfaction of Salespersons

Since salespersons are often paid based on commissions, many of them are not able to make really good money from what they are doing and also have to deal with huge income swings.

In turn, many salespeople often worry about their finances and about their financial future and are not fully happy with what they are doing.

Promotion Opportunities of Salespersons

Salespersons have pretty limited promotion opportunities.

Once you start working in sales, you will do the same job over and over again and you might not get promoted for many years or even decades.

Career Levels of Salespersons

  • Salesperson intern
  • Junior salesperson
  • Senior salesperson
  • Senior salesperson with personnel and budget responsibilities
  • Store manager
  • Store owner

Fields and Types of Salespersons

  • Salesperson focused on selling cars and other vehicles
  • Salesperson specialized in the food industry
  • Salesperson selling housing equipment
  • Salesperson specialized in the pet niche
  • Salesperson focused on furniture
  • Salesperson with expertise in the construction sector
  • Salesperson focused on renewable energies
  • Salesperson focused on selling medical equipment
  • Salesperson selling fashion
  • Salesperson working in a classical store
  • Salesperson using digital channels

Educational Requirements for Salespersons

Salespersons don’t need any fancy education to be able to work in this field.

Instead, they can start their careers right after finishing high school and can start making money at a rather early age while many other people out there have to spend lots of time and money on education before they are able to work in their dream jobs.

How to become a Salesperson

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a salesperson
  2. Work as an intern in the sales department of companies
  3. Make a good impression during your internship and work hard
  4. Stay in touch with your sales colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for jobs as a salesperson
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Sign your labor contract
  9. Gain experience and save money
  10. Open your own store

Character Traits you need as a Salesperson

  • You should be friendly and outgoing
  • Strong personality helps you convince your clients
  • You should believe in yourself
  • Attention to detail helps you stand out from the crowd
  • You should be creative to always provide surprises for your customers
  • You should be a good listener
  • You should be customer-focused
  • Ability to deal with difficult people in a proper manner
  • You should be willing to sell things your customers might not even need
  • Willingness to work commission-based

Salesperson Skills

Hard Skills for Salespersons

  • Excellent knowledge of how to sell things to people
  • You should understand the needs and preferences of your clients well
  • Digital skills help you promote your business online
  • Math skills help you run a sales business in a profitable manner
  • You should have excellent knowledge of the market you operate in
  • Ability to forecast future market trends
  • Talent for customer acquisition
  • You need to know how to get into the minds of people
  • Knowledge of laws related to selling things to customers

Soft Skills for Salespersons

  • Empathy for your customers help you sell stuff
  • Emotional intelligence helps you get into the heads of your clients
  • You should closely listen to the needs and preferences of your customers
  • Confidence helps you overcome difficult periods of your career
  • You should be flexible to provide great customer support
  • You should put the client first
  • Good communication skills help you increase your sales
  • Good people skills help you lead a team of sales representatives
  • Patience helps you succeed in the long run

Exit Options for Salespersons

While salespersons get really good at selling things to customers, they are also pretty specialized and don’t learn many other things needed in the job market right now.

Thus, while sales representatives can sell things in many different industries, they often have a hard time finding a job outside the sales field and therefore have pretty poor exit options.

Salesperson – Similar Careers

Salesperson Career FAQs

Is working as a salesperson physically demanding?

Working as a salesperson is not heavily physically demanding.

Even though you will have to carry things from A to B from time to time, you will still not have to lift heavy stuff on a regular basis as farmers or welders have to do many times during their workdays.

Is working as a salesperson mentally demanding?

Being a salesperson is also not heavily mentally demanding.

Although you have to listen to your customers to provide them with the best possible support to increase the chances of a successful sale, you will develop a certain routine pretty soon and you will therefore not have to stress your brain at work as much as financial analysts or other people who work with complex models on a regular basis.

Is it dangerous to work as a salesperson?

Being a salesperson is not dangerous since you will work in a rather safe environment and your risk of suffering from accidents at work will be rather low compared to people working with heavy machines all day long.

How long do salespersons stay in their jobs?

Since salespersons don’t learn many hard skills, they are pretty specialized and will therefore stay in their jobs for many years since they often have a pretty hard time finding a job in a different industry.

Is it easy for salespersons to find a new job?

Since an increasing number of people are buying online, the demand for classical sales representatives decreases and it will therefore be pretty difficult for salespeople to find new jobs in this industry just a few years from now since many shops will have to give up in the near future.

Is it hard to switch from being a salesperson to another field of work?

Since salespersons are pretty specialized, they often lack the hard skills necessary to work in a different field and will therefore often get trapped in the sales industry for many years or even decades.

Do salespersons have a high social status?

Salespersons have a rather low social standing since they will often try to convince people to buy things they actually don’t need and their customers may not be happy with their services in the long run.

Consequently, your loved ones may not understand your career choice and other people may try to bring you down on a regular basis.

Can you help out your family and friends as a salesperson?

While you will become pretty good at selling things to people, you will not learn many other practical skills and while roofers, plumbers or carpenters can install and fix many things around the home, you will not be able to provide the same value to your loved ones and may therefore have a rather low standing among your circle of friends.

Can salespersons work remotely?

Classical salespersons are not able to work remotely since they will have to show up in the shops they work for in person.

However, if you focus on the digital world, you can become a successful salesperson by selling things online from home without having to show up at work in person.

Is it easy to find a partner as a salesperson?

Since many salespersons don’t make good money and also have to deal with huge income swings and significant insecurity related to their jobs, they are often not considered good providers and have a hard time in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship.

Do salespersons have to work on weekends?

Salespersons sometimes also have to work on weekends and if you are not fine with this, you should not become a sales representative but rather work as a financial controller or in other jobs where you have a rather standard workweek.

Do salespersons have to work on holidays?

Sales representatives don’t have to work on holidays most of the time.

Instead, you can use those days for making nice trips with your family or just relax in your garden.

Do salespersons have to work at nighttime?

Most sales representatives don’t have to work at nighttime.

However, if you work in the food sector, opening hours may be quite exotic and you may have to work in the late evening or even at nighttime on a regular basis.

Thus, whether salespersons have to work at nighttime or not greatly depends on the industry you want to work in as a salesman.

Do you have to travel as a salesperson?

Apart from commuting to work and back, you will not have to travel as a salesperson and will be able to spend lots of time at home with your loved ones while consultants and many other people who work in leading positions in the corporate world will be away for business trips quite often.

Are salesperson pensions good?

Salespersons often have to deal with huge income swings and also don’t make great money most of the time.

Consequently, also their pensions are pretty poor and many sales representatives have to deal with serious financial problems once they get to retirement age and quit their active careers.

Are salesperson salaries going up?

Salesperson salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since the demand for salespersons has dropped significantly since an increasing number of people are buying things online instead of buying from sales representatives in classical shops.

Consequently, many salespersons will no longer be needed in the near future and wages will likely drop in the sales industry.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a salesperson?

Since you will just try to sell as many things as possible to customers to make the best possible commissions, you will not have a big positive impact on society but will rather care about your own benefits instead.

How long does it take to become a salesperson?

Since you don’t need to get a fancy degree, you can start your career in sales right after getting your high school diploma and you can become a good salesperson within a few months if you understand human nature and how the minds of people work.

Is it difficult to become a salesperson?

Since you don’t need to get fancy formal education, almost everyone can work in this field.

However, while becoming a salesperson is not difficult, staying successful is a completely different animal and you really have to work hard to improve your selling skills to stay in the game in the long run.

Do you need to be smart to work as a salesperson?

You don’t need to have a high IQ for succeeding as a salesperson.

What’s much more important is that you have a high level of emotional intelligence so that you understand how human nature works and how to sell things to your customers in a proper manner.

Do salespersons have a good work-life balance?

Salespersons don’t have good work-life balance since they often have to work on weekends and during the evening.

Consequently, they will often not have much time to spend with their loved ones and will also have to work rather exotic hours while most sales representatives are still not able to make really good money from what they are doing.

Do salespersons have to work many extra hours?

Salespersons don’t have to work many extra hours.

Instead, you will have fixed shifts and once your shift is over, you will just quit your workday and will get back to work the next morning.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a salesperson?

The better you become at selling stuff at a rather young age, the higher your chances of succeeding as a salesperson in the long run.

Thus, you should start working as an intern in the sales department of local companies to get some experience and also to make connections with other salespeople so that you already have a foot in the door when it comes to finding a job later on.

Can salespersons work part-time?

Salespersons can work part-time as well as full-time.

However, hourly wages are often pretty low and most salespersons therefore have to work full-time to be able to pay their bills since a part-time job would not be enough in this regard.

Do salespersons work indoors or outdoors?

Salespersons work indoors most of the time and therefore don’t have to worry about weather conditions outdoors in contrast to garbage collectors or roofers who often work outdoors and have to deal with adverse climatic conditions on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a salesperson look like?

Salespersons often work in stores and try to sell things to many different clients.

Some sales representatives also use our digital world to sell products online and work with a computer all day long.

Do you have to look good for working as a salesperson?

While you don’t necessarily need to look good as a salesperson, it can still help to look nice to increase your number of sales and your commissions since studies have shown that people are often more eager to buy from pretty people.

Is a salesperson career beneficial for your private life?

Being a sales representative is not greatly beneficial for your private life since you will have to deal with lots of insecurity related to your job and will also not be able to make really good money most of the time.

Moreover, you will also have to work rather exotic hours and may not have enough time to spend with your family.

Consequently, your partner may not be happy with the overall situation and may start cheating on you sooner or later.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a salesperson?

You don’t need a college degree for working as a salesperson.

Instead, you can start working in sales at a rather young age right after finishing high school.

Do you need to be certified to work as a salesperson?

You also don’t need to be certified to work as a sales representative.

What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you have a talent for selling stuff and that you also understand human nature well to stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.

How much does it cost to become a salesperson?

Since you don’t have to spend many years in college but can rather start your career in sales at a pretty young age, you don’t have to invest lots of money in education but can even start making money right after finishing high school.

Is being a salesperson a good career?

Since salespersons often have to work on weekends and also work rather exotic hours while they always have to fear losing their jobs and also don’t make great money in the long run, being a sales representative is not considered a good career by the majority of the general public.

Is it easy to start your own business as a salesperson?

You can also start your own business as a sales clerk.

However, you would have to save up lots of money for inventory and other things related to your shop and you would therefore have to invest lots of money upfront.

Can salespersons teach themselves?

Salespersons can teach themselves many things they need to succeed in this industry.

Thus, instead of spending lots of money on fancy degrees or courses, you should rather invest lots of time on selling to actual customers to get really good at sales in the real world in the long run.

Do salespersons make good money?

While some salespersons make good money from what they are doing, most sales representatives don’t make good money but barely make a living from what they are doing.

In fact, your salary will greatly depend on the volume of items you sell and also on the industry you work in as a salesman.

Is it ever too late to become a salesperson?

It is never too late to become a salesperson since you don’t have to spend lots of time or money on education but can rather start a career in this field at any age without having to make huge investments upfront.

Do salespersons have to quit their careers early?

Most salespersons don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t work in a physically demanding environment and therefore don’t have to stress their bodies as much as craftsmen who often have to work with their hands and often have to quit their career early due to physical health problems.

What is the hardest thing about working as a salesperson?

The hardest part about being a salesperson is getting into the heads of people since every customer will be different and if you don’t understand the needs and preferences of your clients, you will not succeed as a salesperson in the long run.

Can you provide for your family by working as a salesperson?

Since you will work commission-based, your income will greatly vary and you will therefore not be considered the best provider as a salesperson.

Thus, if you want to provide for your family, you might rather become a nurse practitioner or work in a different field where you can make more money and also have a higher level of job security.

Will salespersons suffer from old-age poverty?

Since many salespersons are not able to make really good money from what they are doing, many of them also receive pretty poor pensions and are no longer able to pay their bills once they get to retirement age.

Can salespersons retire early?

Most salespersons are not able to retire early since they just don’t make enough money during their active careers and therefore have to work until retirement age or sometimes even longer to be able to pay their bills.

Do salespersons get a fixed or variable salary?

Salespersons often work commission-based.

Thus, the more items you sell, the higher your salary will be and you will therefore have a pretty high fraction of variable salary that will greatly depend on your performance at work.

Consequently, you will also have to deal with huge income swings over time.

Can you get rich as a salesperson?

It is almost impossible to get rich as an employed salesperson.

If you really want to get wealthy or rich, you should rather start your own sales business or work as a dentist or judge instead.

Do salespersons need a second job?

While good salespersons often don’t need a second job since they are able to make enough money to cover their expenses from their sales career, bad sales representatives are often not able to make enough money to pay their bills and need to work a second job.

Do you get continuous training as a salesperson?

You don’t get continuous training as a salesperson.

Instead, it will be on you to get really good at what you are doing if you want to make decent money from your salesperson job.

Do you get sick pay as a salesperson?

Most salespersons don’t get paid in case they get sick.

Thus, you should save money during good times that you can use during times you get sick and are no longer able to make an income anymore so that you are still able to pay your bills and don’t get into financial trouble.

Do salespersons have a high level of responsibility?

Salespersons don’t have a high level of responsibility since they just sell stuff to customers and their mistakes don’t lead to serious adverse outcomes compared to doctors or other people whose mistakes might take away the lives of people on a daily basis.

Can salespersons work abroad?

Salespersons are able to work all over the world.

However, keep in mind that salaries and working conditions might be quite different from what you are used to at home in a foreign country and you should inform yourself in this regard to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Is it stressful to work as a salesperson?

Working as a salesperson is not that stressful since you will not have high levels of responsibility and also don’t have to deal with lots of time pressure at work.

Is it boring to work as a salesperson?

Being a sales clerk may become boring if you are not passionate about selling things to your customers since you will do the same things over and over again and may lose motivation for what you are doing pretty soon.

Is being a salesperson hard?

Working as a salesperson is not hard both from a physical as well as from a mental perspective since you don’t have to stress your body and also don’t have to work with your brain in a heavy manner.

Are salespersons at risk of burnout?

Since you don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and are able to spend your workdays in a rather relaxed manner, salespersons are not at great risk of burnout or other mental problems related to their work.

Is there a dress code for salespersons?

There is no official dress code for salespersons.

However, your employer will often provide you with workwear so that you can represent the company you work for in the best possible manner.

What kind of salespersons are paid the most?

Since you will often work commission-based, your income will increase with the number and the volume of sales you make.

Thus, the more you sell, the higher your salary will be.

Consequently, you have to get really good at selling stuff to be able to make good money in the sales business.

What percentage of salespersons are women?

While 42% of all salespersons are women, around 58% are men.

Hence, percentages are pretty balanced and your gender doesn’t matter for your success as a salesperson.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a salesperson?

While you don’t urgently need a mentor, it can still help having an experienced salesperson on your side who can support you during difficult periods of your career so that you don’t give up and succeed in the long run.

Do salespersons have a high life expectancy?

Salespersons have decent life expectancy since they don’t have to work in a risky environment and also don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work so that they are less likely to suffer from serious health issues related to their jobs.

Do salespersons suffer from sleeping problems?

Since salespersons often don’t have to work at nighttime, most of them are able to maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs.

What states are best for working as a salesperson?

Since salespersons are not able to make good money across states on average, you should choose a state and a region where living costs are pretty low so that you are able to make a decent living from your salesperson career.

Who do salespersons work with?

Salespersons work with many different customers on a regular basis and it is therefore crucial that you are a friendly and trustworthy person so that customers are willing to buy from you in the long run.

Is working as a salesperson cool?

Being a salesperson is not considered cool by the majority of the general public.

Thus, you will often have to deal with snarky comments about your career choice if you decide on becoming a sales representative.

Can you start a side hustle as a salesperson?

As a salesperson, you will have a rather hard time starting a side hustle since you will not learn many hard skills and you would need to get lots of additional knowledge of different topics to provide enough value to people in other fields.

Do you have to be creative as a salesperson?

Being creative can help you succeed as a salesperson since selling stuff is all about telling stories and the more creative you are, the more convincing your stories will be and the more you will sell in the long run.

Do salespersons suffer from being overweight?

Since sales representatives often don’t burn enough calories at work, they often also suffer from being overweight or even obese in the long run.

How employable are salespersons?

Since an increasing number of people are buying online, the demand for classical sales representatives has dropped significantly and job prospects for salespersons will be pretty poor in the near future.

Are salespersons happy with their jobs?

Many sales representatives are not fully happy with their jobs since they often have to deal with huge income swings and also have to fear losing their jobs on a regular basis.

Is working as a salesperson exciting?

Working as a salesperson is not that exciting since you will do the same things over and over again and may just lose motivation for what you are doing in the long run.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a salesperson?

Salespersons just care about selling as much as possible to customers and don’t care about our environment in most cases.

What are the pros and cons of working as a salesperson?

If you still plan to become a salesperson, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a salesperson career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/960853/number-employed-sales-people-us-occupation/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1081368/monthly-retail-employment-us/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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