Computer Saleperson--Retail Job Description and Responsibilities
There is such a vast array of computers and other
hardware and software in the marketplace that it is difficult for customers to
know what to purchase. Computer salespeople help these people choose the
Salespeople must know how the equipment works in order
to demonstrate the functions to buyers. They must be able to explain the
differences between brands of the same type of equipment and be familiar with
various computer programs that the store sells.
In some stores, salespeople specialize in one brand or
type of equipment. For example, one salesperson may specialize in selling the
Apple Macintosh while another sells IBM machines. In other stores, the
salesperson may be required to be fully informed about all of the store's
As computers represent such a major investment,
customers usually require full presentations to explain all the points of a
particular machine. Computer salespeople must be fully competent in the use of
each piece of equipment they are selling. They are often required to answer
technical questions about computers or computer accessories.
Successful salespeople try to find out exactly what the
customer's needs are. For example, it is important to determine the price range
the customer is considering as well as the brand of equipment, its options, and
its projected uses.
In some shops, the salesperson may be required to
install the computer and other hardware in the person's home or business. In
other situations, the individual may just be required to explain assembly
directions. Some computer stores offer free or low-cost lessons to people who
have purchased equipment or software.
Other functions of the salesperson may include serving
as a cashier, closing sales, totaling up customer's purchases, arranging for
layaways, putting through credit card purchases, taking payments for products,
and giving change to customers. The salesperson might also have to count
merchandise that has arrived, verify the receipt of items on invoices and check
that stock arriving is the merchandise ordered.
Computer salespeople are directly responsible to the
manager or owner of a computer store, shop, or department. Hours vary and
individuals may be required to Work overtime during special promotions or when
stock comes in.
The highest volume of jobs in this area are in major
cities hosting a large number of computer stores. Individuals may work in a
number of different employment situations including:
Privately owned computer stores, Chain and franchise computer stores, Computer departments of department stores, Computer departments of office machine and supply
for the 21st Century
Computer salespeople, knowledgeable about more than one
brand of computer as well as hardware and software, will be in demand
throughout the country. Individuals who can demonstrate and explain features in
an easy-to-understand manner will be sought out by stores and shops.
Earnings for computer salespeople range from
approximately $15,000 to $45,000. Variables affecting earnings include the ability,
experience, and responsibilities of the salesperson as well as the size of the
store, the geographic location, and the method of payment.
Salespeople may receive a straight salary, a commission
on equipment sold, or a combination of the two.
Computer salespeople can advance their careers in a
number of ways. Individuals who are being paid on commission may work toward
increased earnings as a result of large sales. Salespeople can locate positions
in large, prestigious stores that are more popular with customers.
Some computer salespeople are promoted to store
managers, department managers, or service managers, depending on their
Others may move into wholesale computer sales.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The minimum education for most full-time jobs is a high
Some employers will hire salespeople if they
demonstrate proficiency on the equipment sold in the store. Other employers
prefer individuals with college backgrounds or degrees. Many stores are
beginning to require that salespeople have degrees in computer science.
Classes, seminars, and workshops in computer science,
marketing, sales, programming, and computer services are all useful.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Some employers do not require prior sales experience.
They opt, instead, for technical knowledge of hardware and software. Other
employers prefer individuals who have experience selling computers and computer
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For career
information, contact Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association
Learn as much as you can about all types of computers,
software programs, and hardware. This will make you more marketable. Many
computer companies offer training programs to fully familiarize salespeople
with their products.
You might consider workshops or seminars in selling and
Job openings are advertised in the newspaper classified
section under "Sales," "Salespeople," "Computer
Sales," "Hardware Sales," etc.
There is a high turnover in this type of position. Send
your resume and a cover letter to computer stores and personnel directors of
department stores with computer departments. You might also stop in and fill
out an employment application.
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