A food sales associate is just like any other sales associate of goods or services. Their main goal is to sell food products on behalf of manufacturers to a wide range of food suppliers and distributors.
The first step in making a sale is locating potential clients. Food sales associates must continuously research new sources of clients in order to increase their company's profit margin. Potential clients may include grocery stores, restaurants, school systems, hospitals and wholesale distributors.
Executing a Sale
Once a potential client has been identified, the food sales associate must make contact with the client and offer a sales pitch. Basically, the associate must convince the potential client that he should purchase food products from the associate's company. An associate may be required to answer specific questions about the company's products for the client such as pricing, shipping methods and processing procedures. If a potential client is satisfied with the company's product, he will place an order. Once the order is placed, the sale has been executed.
The food sale associate's job doesn't end when a client agrees to purchase products from the associate's company. The associate must now ensure that each order is processed correctly. When a client indicates an intent to purchase a product, the associate must make a written record of the order. This is commonly done using a computer program for processing orders. This written record is sent to the company's warehouse where the product is prepared for shipment. It is the associate's responsibility to ensure that the client's order is prepared accurately and shipped within a reasonable time.
Invoices and Accounting
Once an order has been shipped, the food sales associate must send an invoice to the client requesting payment for the order. The associate must continue to monitor the client's account to ensure that payment is received in a timely manner and that the account is balanced. It is common for an associate to manage dozens of client accounts at any given point in time. Therefore, an associate must consistently pay very close attention to detail when handling client accounts.
Maintaining Client Relationships
Often a company's existing clients are the best source of future revenue due to repeat business. It is part of the food sales associate's job to ensure that the company maintains a strong working relationship with each of its existing clients. This means that the associate must provide excellent customer service, strive to understand and meet the needs of the client and keep in contact with the client on a regular basis.
According to Salary.com, the median salary range for a food sales associate in 2009 was approximately $47,684. Keep in mind that, for most sales associates, a large portion of income is earned on a commission basis. Location also has an impact on salaries--employees living and working near urban areas tend to see higher salaries than their rural counterparts due to cost-of-living and product demand differences.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the number of food sales representatives was expected to grow 7 percent between 2008 and 2018.