Job as a sales manager

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Carl Lewis is an assistant sales manager of an independent mobile phone retailer. He is based at a busy store. Carl works in a team of eight people, meeting customers and promoting and selling the company's products.

What does your sales job involve?

I give advice and information to customers about the products we stock to help them decide what they want to buy. I work with an electronic till and handle cash, as well as working with other forms of payment. I also help to keep the shop floor attractive and presentable. As assistant manager I'm involved in planning the day-to-day activities of the team.

What is a typical day's routine?

I start work at 9am and set up the shop. I will then brief the team on sales targets for the day. When a customer comes in I explain to them how the store works, find out what they want and give them honest advice. This involves asking tailored questions and working out what types of phone or product is best for them.

The shop gets very busy from around 1.00 pm to 4pm. At the end of the day we do the housekeeping, which involves organising the stock and checking the cash taken for the day. I finish my working day at about 6pm.

What type of training have you had?

I had a full week's induction course, which involved periods of training at the head office and in the store. Since then, I have had additional training in areas such as business, data management and leadership skills.

Do you use any special equipment?

As well as using the electronic till for cash payments, we use equipment for copying SIM cards and a machine for top up swipe cards. If you are not technically minded the different machines can be daunting at first, but as long as you keep at it you can learn through practical experience.

Do you wear a uniform?

I wear a plain blue open necked shirt with a name badge. It makes it easier for customers and shows that we are serious and professional about what we're doing.

What do you enjoy about your job as a sales manager?

I really enjoy working in a team and being paid to speak to people!

What skills and qualities do you need?

You need to be friendly and get on well with staff and customers – you really need a passion for working with people and the drive to sell. Working in sales is 90% attitude and 10% knowledge – so it's all about being positive and enthusiastic.

How would you like your career to develop?

I want to stay working for TOMO and progress further along the management chain. I helped to set up new IT systems in other stores, and would really like to continue using my knowledge of IT to benefit the company. Ideally, I'd like to progress to working as the company's IT director.

Carl's route

  • Gardening labourer.
  • Sales assistant.
  • Degree in Internet Software Development.

Carl's tips

  • The job is all about presenting a positive, friendly attitude to customers and coming across as a professional at all times.
  • Whilst a job in retail involves working supportively as part of a team, you also need to be able to work independently and use your initiative.

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Salary working in sales

  • Salaries vary according to employer, size of shop and location.
  • Starting salaries begin at around £9,500. With experience, this can increase to £11,000-£12,000 a year.
  • Staff working at supervisory levels can earn up to £15,000 a year.

Becoming a sales manager

  • There are no minimum qualifications although communication and numerical skills are required. Some employers also ask for a minimum of two GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3).
  • Previous retail or customer services experience can be helpful.
  • Some people move into sales assistant jobs after starting as a Saturday or weekend assistant. Larger stores may provide work experience schemes that can also lead to a permanent sales assistant position.
  • It is possible to work towards a range of relevant qualifications such as an NVQ/SVQ in Retail Qualifications (Levels 2 and 3) and BTEC qualifications in Retail (Levels 2 and 3). The option to study for these qualifications whilst in employment may depend on individual companies.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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