A salesperson is an individual who works to sell goods or services to customers on a retail or wholesale basis. Most sales positions require the minimum of a high school diploma or general equivalency development examination (GED®), literacy and general arithmetic skills. Some retail sales employers may require employees to take a salesperson exam in order to confirm basic skills or to assess their understanding of the line of business. In the US, each state has laws that require successful completion of a salesperson exam for those individuals who sell real estate and insurance products. The specific steps necessary to prepare for a salesperson exam therefore depend upon the field of sales, the formality of the examination process, and the test-taker's individual study requirements.
The area or type of sales in which the employee plans to work influences the preparation necessary for a salesperson exam. In most industries — such as "big box" retail sales — salespeople are paid an hourly wage with a small stipend added according to the level of testing they have accomplished. Many of these tests involve computerized instruction followed by testing on topics such as the company's overall business policies, emergency procedures, customer service policy and customer etiquette. Preparation for these types of tests involve arranging for time away from retail duties in order to take the test and review of any written material provided during a formal orientation if offered by the company. The topic-by-topic computerized test instruction and evaluations require that you pay close attention to the written information and visual displays used during the instruction phase of each unit.
In businesses such as insurance sales and real estate, salespeople are eventually paid entirely on the basis of their sales and state law requires successful completion of a formal salesperson exam. A real estate or insurance salesperson exam requires greater preparation as the testing is more formal, more difficult and involves successful demonstration of knowledge regarding the field in order to work independently. Many community college or vocational schools offer classes designed to help prospective insurance or real estate salespersons review the necessary material and take practice exams in preparation for the actual examination. There are also many books, DVDs and websites devoted to helping prospective salespersons study and prepare. Regardless of how a salesperson chooses to study for their required exam, success depends upon beginning the study process early.