The purpose of every sales job, regardless of the industry or employer, is to close the deal by selling a product or service. The difference between selling jobs is in the sales pitch. Some positions don't engage in any selling activities other than accepting payment; other selling jobs require engaged and informative explanations or demonstrations. Generally, sales jobs fall into one of four categories -- retail sales workers, consulting positions, cold sales and relationship agencies.
Most retail jobs pay workers hourly or on salary, but rarely compensate them with commission or bonuses based on their sales. Retail sales workers are employed in stores that sell products such as clothes, furniture, makeup, books, lumber or automobile parts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail salespersons earned a mean wage of $25,370 per year, as of May 2013. Retail jobs also include cashiers, who made an average annual income of $20,420, as of May 2013, the BLS reports.
Big Ticket Items
Those who sell investment products or services, like securities, commodities and financial services, automobiles or phone systems, are often seen as consultants. These sellers are highly knowledgeable about what they sell. For example, real estate agents know every detail about properties and make the recommendations that best fit their clients' needs. The BLS reports they earned an average annual income of $53,140, as of May 2013. Consultants also include sales engineers, who sell technological and scientific products to businesses. The BLS reports they made a mean annual wage of $101,790, as of May 2013.
Some jobs require workers to market themselves almost as much as the product or service they're trying to sell, like independent representatives for makeup or cooking supplies. For example, telemarketers attempt to make all sales over the phone, which demands interpersonal and cold-calling sales abilities. The BLS notes telemarketers earned an average annual income of $25,830, as of May 2013. Other selling jobs where employees have to work the crowd include product promoter and demonstrators, who show off products and answer questions at shows or events to create interest. The BLS reports they made a mean annual wage of $28,950, as of May 2013.
Several sales jobs require workers to establish and maintain long-term relationships with clients, such as suppliers and distributors. For example, travel agents plan accommodations for customers, fix travel problems and hope to convince customers to use their services again. According to the BLS, travel agents made an average annual income of $37,200, as of May 2013. Relationship sales jobs also include insurance agents, from those who sell property or automobile coverage to those who sell casualty or health insurance. The BLS notes they earned a mean annual wage of $63,610, as of May 2013.