Be a Sales Assistant
By Beverly West and Caroline Chwojka
Monster Contributing Writers
Flexible hours, big commissions, customer interaction and travel are a few of the possible advantages of a career in sales. However, high-risk and commission-only salary structures aren't on everyone's career wish list.
But you can get a taste of the industry and sidestep the uncertainty by working as a sales assistant.
Of course, many sales assistants are not looking to move up the ladder and find happiness working in what they believe is the best of both worlds. Many sales assistants make good money but don’t have the pressure and stress of a broker’s job.
A Step Beyond Support
Many people become sales assistants because it seems to be the natural course of things. Having acquired many responsibilities in a prior position, becoming a sales assistant utilizes the existing skills. Of course, the learning curve is still steep but at the same time challenging and fun.
A Sales Assistant's Duties
Sales assistants support a sales department and may assist regional sales staff based in remote locations.
Responsibilities may include processing expense reports, coordinating proposal submissions, planning meetings, tracking sales progress, troubleshooting minor technical problems, maintaining department database records and serving as a liaison between traveling sales representatives and staff based in the home office.
Employers usually look for someone who has excellent administrative skills and who also is looking for a challenge by taking on a support position and more responsibilities. Furthermore, employers like to hire people with a go-getter attitude, leadership skills, and a good knowledge of the market.
While key attributes depend on the product and services your company sells as well as the work style of those you are supporting, the best sales assistant is one who can function like an apprentice, always trying to learn and grow.
Prerequisites generally include strong interpersonal skills, strong computer skills and good organizational abilities. Some positions require a bachelor's degree. While having good credentials is crucial, an honest and truthful personality shines through. This means that you must be able to admit having made a mistake and never deny any wrongdoing.
Break in with a Safety Net
Working as a sales assistant is a great way to ease into sales while maintaining a financial safety cushion.
At the beginning of the job, the sales assistant usually collects salary and a low commission rate. Once they get used to the position and learn their ways around the job, their pay is reduced and they are compensated with a higher commission percentage.
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