A sales officer works to sell a product or service for a company. Sales officers work in a variety of industries, from computers to automobiles to retail and manufacturing. Sometimes, sales officers work independently, but whether alone or with a team, the goal is the same: To push a product or service and close a deal.
Sales officers have to show customers what they are offering is worth buying. Salesmen do this by understanding the product and describing its benefits in great detail. Occasionally, they give a presentation and display how the item works. It’s also important for a sales officer to have a thorough knowledge of the competition, enabling him to show why his service should be considered superior.
Sales officers should be confident, energetic, organized and resilient, as even the most accomplished salespeople face rejection on a regular basis. They need to possess strong written and verbal communication skills and to be experts in customer service. Sales officers should also have at least a basic understanding of math, as they often deal with prices, deals and commissions.
There are no set requirements to become a sales officer, since the industry is wide-ranging and each company has different guidelines pertaining to sales. The key is to have displayed an understanding of, and even a passion for, the product or service offered. In some fields, just showing basic customer service skills is enough. In other industries, a college degree is required, with an emphasis on courses in marketing, promotions, communications and finance.
Jobs for wholesale and manufacturing sales officers are expected to grow by 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, as the industry follows the general growth of the overall economy. Expansion of inventory options, as new products are created, will also drive a growth in the job market for sales officers.
Many sales officers earn a base salary along with a commission, or a percentage of what they have sold. Wages, therefore, vary greatly by industry. Manufacturing and wholesale sales personnel earned a median annual salary of about $54,000 in 2012.
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