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Details for Retail Salespersons


Sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel in a retail establishment.


  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
  • Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
  • Compute sales prices, total purchases and receive and process cash or credit payment.
  • Maintain records related to sales.
  • Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts, and know how to prevent or handle these situations.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
  • Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
  • Ticket, arrange and display merchandise to promote sales.
  • Prepare sales slips or sales contracts.
  • Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
  • Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
  • Clean shelves, counters, and tables.
  • Exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.
  • Bag or package purchases, and wrap gifts.
  • Help customers try on or fit merchandise.
  • Inventory stock and requisition new stock.
  • Prepare merchandise for purchase or rental.
  • Sell or arrange for delivery, insurance, financing, or service contracts for merchandise.
  • Estimate and quote trade-in allowances.
  • Estimate cost of repair or alteration of merchandise.
  • Estimate quantity and cost of merchandise required, such as paint or floor covering.
  • Rent merchandise to customers.


  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Related Careers

  • Counter and Rental Clerks
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Driver/Sales Workers
  • Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products
Wages for this career
America's Career InfoNet