a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Retail Sales Representative

Also known as Car Salesman, Customer Assistant, Retail Salesperson, Sales Associate, Sales Clerk, Sales Consultant, Sales Person, Sales Representative, Salesman

Retail Sales Representative

Also known as Car Salesman, Customer Assistant, Retail Salesperson

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
  • Social
Pay Range
$19,740 - $44,570 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Persuasion
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Maintain records related to sales.
Is Retail Sales Representative the right career path for you?

Would Retail Sales Representative be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Retail Sales Representative and hundreds of other career paths.

Get started with TraitLab

What does a Retail Sales Representative do?

Retail Sales Representatives sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel to consumers.

What kind of tasks does a Retail Sales Representative perform regularly?

Retail Sales Representatives are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Prepare merchandise for purchase or rental.
  • Compute sales prices, total purchases, and receive and process cash or credit payment.
  • Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
  • Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
  • Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
  • Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
  • Ticket, arrange, and display merchandise to promote sales.
  • Inventory stock and requisition new stock.
  • Exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.
  • Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts and know how to prevent or handle these situations.
  • Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
  • Clean shelves, counters, and tables.

The above responsibilities are specific to Retail Sales Representatives. More generally, Retail Sales Representatives are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Selling or Influencing Others
Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Retail Sales Representative salary?

The median salary for a Retail Sales Representative is $27,080, and the average salary is $30,940. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Retail Sales Representative salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Retail Sales Representatives earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Retail Sales Representatives earn less than $19,740 per year, 25% earn less than $22,900, 75% earn less than $32,990, and 90% earn less than $44,570.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Retail Sales Representatives is expected to change by -1.0%, and there should be roughly 524,500 open positions for Retail Sales Representatives every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$19,740 - $44,570
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Retail Sales Representatives?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Retail Sales Representative are usually higher in their Enterprising and Conventional interests.

Retail Sales Representatives typically have very strong Enterprising interests. 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.

Also, Retail Sales Representatives typically have moderate Conventional interests. 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.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Retail Sales Representative tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Retail Sales Representatives strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Retail Sales Representatives moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Retail Sales Representatives somewhat value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Retail Sales Representatives must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Retail Sales Representatives, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Retail Sales Representatives need?

Working as a Retail Sales Representative usually requires a high school diploma.

Retail Sales Representatives need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Retail Sales Representatives

  • 6.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 29.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 27.7% completed some college coursework
  • 10.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 21.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Retail Sales Representatives

Retail Sales Representatives may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as sales and marketing, customer and personal service, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Retail Sales Representatives might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Retail Sales Representatives

Retail Sales Representatives must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Retail Sales Representatives need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and speech recognition in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Retail Sales Representatives, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Retail Sales Representatives

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Retail Sales Representatives frequently use skills like persuasion, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Retail Sales Representatives, ranked by their relative importance.

Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
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.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.