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Sales Advisors work to identify and secure customers in order for a company to expand its client base and make money. Any industry that tries to sell products and services may employ Sales Advisors. For instance, a retirement community may depend on a Sales Advisor to make senior citizens aware of this lifestyle option. Sales Advisors for an educational company may network with high school students and their parents to present products aimed at improving scores on standardized tests.

Though often headquartered in an office, Sales Advisors may need to travel or go out “in the field” to meet people most likely to be interested in their company. Instead of a traditional salary, some Sales Advisors receive a base salary plus commission based on their sales totals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of sales and related occupations is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations, which will result in about 778,000 new jobs.

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Sales Advisor Duties and Responsibilities

In line with their goal of selling products and services in order to increase their company’s profit, Sales Advisors perform various duties. A survey of job postings reveals the following as some of the primary tasks expected of Sales Advisors:

Managing Leads

Sales Advisors figure out who might be interested in what the company has to offer. They then contact these prospective clients or make presentations at places they are likely to be. A Sales Advisor for a medical devices firm, for instance, may call individual practices or go to a physicians' conference.

Learning about Products/Services

Sales Advisors need superior knowledge of what they are attempting to sell. This expertise gives them the ability to answer questions customers may have and also to better relate what the company has to offer to the desires of each individual.

Training Others

As part of their job, Sales Advisors may be responsible for getting new sales team members up to speed. They may help them develop leads or instruct them on how to present the company's offerings effectively.

Sales Advisor Skills

Like all sales professionals, Sales Advisors need outstanding interpersonal skills. Their ability to connect with people and address their needs builds relationships and drives sales. Other abilities often found in successful Sales Advisors include:

  • Communicating effectively both orally and in writing to get information across to customers and other members of the sales team
  • Managing time well to ensure deadlines get met and customers receive a prompt response
  • Focusing on the bottom line and going the extra mile to gain business

Tools of the trade

: Sales Advisors depend on a variety of tools to do their jobs. Some of the most common include:

Leads – Information about individuals who might be interested in the company’s goods or services

Networking – Building relationships with prospective clients

Computers – Basic proficiency helps with Internet searches, database management, email communication and office tasks

Mobile devices – Smartphones and other portable technology that can aid with communication and organization

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data – Information on customers obtained from various sources — such as the company’s website, live chat, social media and email – used to learn more about customers and what they want

Presentations – Gatherings at which Sales Advisors talk with potential customers about the company’s offerings, perhaps by showing a PowerPoint or a live demonstration

Referrals – Information a current customer or other source gives about someone else who might be interested in the company’s products

Sales Advisor Education and Training

Sales Advisors typically have at least a high school education, though many also have completed some college courses or a degree. Employers look favorably upon previous work in sales positions or in customer service when evaluating applicants.

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Sales Advisor Resources

While we’ve provided a great overview here of what it takes to become a Sales Advisor, the Internet has additional resources that may be of help. A few you may wish to explore include:

National Association of Sales Professionals

A community for professionals who want to grow their career, the NASP is for those who want to learn "the latest and greatest in influence." The careers section of the site matches job seekers with opportunities and provides advice on how to create a standout resume.

The Sales Association

Join the 95,000+ members of this LinkedIn group to network with other sales and business development professionals worldwide. The association's stated mission is "to provide members a powerful and strategic means to connect with one another at events and online, grow professionally and drive profits within their organizations."

Sales Best Practices

Another popular LinkedIn Group (301,000+ members), this one serves as a place where both seasoned and new Sales Advisors can gain knowledge and increase effectiveness. Who couldn't use some great advice about cold calls or closing strategies?

The Real Truth about Life in Sales by Ken Kupchik

"Imagine a sales book written by Jerry Seinfeld and you'll get a good idea of what this book is like," says one reviewer. With a blend of humor and practicality, this guide captures the pressurepacked world of sales and provides eyeopening insight.

Your First Year in Sales: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional by Tim Connor

Sales can be a career filled with opportunity, but it also can be trying. This book provides prospective Sales Advisors with advice on honing their skills, talent, motivation and expectations to build a rewarding career that includes worklife balance and success even during rough economic times.

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