How to Write a Sales Cover Letter (Examples & Templates) for All Sales Positions
If a cover letter seems a bit old school to you, think again. According to a recent survey by ResumeLab, cover letters are still an important component of the decision-making process among 83 percent of hiring managers, recruiters and HR staff. Moreover, 83 percent of respondents claimed that they would interview a candidate with a great cover letter, even if their resume isn’t up to par.
That said, you’ll still need a solid track record or educational background to snag the interest of an employer. But with a sales cover letter in hand, your next job search will become that much easier, whether you’re an entry-level job seeker or you’ve cultivated a LinkedIn resume that turns heads.
Why is a Sales Cover Letter Important?
Cover letters tell your potential employer who you are before you even walk in the door for a sales job interview, and it makes said interview that much more likely. Even if writing such a letter feels uncomfortable and you’d prefer to let your experience do the talking, this is still an invaluable skill to have.
5 Cover Letter Tips for Today’s Sales Professionals
Writing a professional cover letter for a sales job might not feel intuitive yet, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. The following tips will start you off on the right foot.
Be Clear And Concise
A cover letter is not an aria. It’s not a soliloquy or a monologue. It’s certainly not a rant. No, you can think of it as a short informational pamphlet—and the subject is you.
Rather than waxing poetic about your thoughts, feelings, or even your goals, stick to the main points, including who you are, what you’ve done so far, and what you can do for the company for which you’d like to work. Keeping your letter short and sweet can increase application success.
Make it Easy to Read
Hiring managers go through hundreds of resumes at a time. The way you format your cover letter can either help or hurt your chances of standing out.
No, that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the fancy fonts and fun colors. Instead, format your cover letter with the goal of making it easy to read.
Follow best practices such as:
- Write short, concise sentences and remove unnecessary adjectives
- Make your paragraphs shorter, or use bullet points to make key ideas stand out
- Use clean, professional fonts at a size that’s easy to read
The overall goal is for hiring managers to quickly and easily see what makes you stand out beyond the rest of the applicants. Don’t hide your strongest selling points in small, swirly fonts and huge blocks of text!
Highlight Your Skills
It’s very important to highlight your sales skills in a cover letter. This is different from accomplishments, which we’re covering next. Your skills are a separate category, in which you describe what you bring to the table, regardless of whether you’ve used those skills in the past or not. Include such details as the apps, sales tools or programs you know how to use, languages you speak, and areas in which you’ve trained.
While it is appropriate to include some reference to soft skills in your cover letter, limit it to a few. Any job applicant will claim they are a good problem-solver and a team player; it’s more important to share which skills make you stand out as a salesperson.
Showcase Relevant Achievements
In addition to putting your achievements on a professional resume, include a quick recap of them in your cover letter. Make those achievements quantifiable, using numbers and statistics from your sales reports or the company’s, and don’t hold back or engage in false modesty. This is no time to sell yourself short.
5 Steps To Writing A Sales Representative Cover Letter
So it’s time to write that letter and nail that sales representative position! But how exactly are you going to fit all the awesomeness that is you onto one page, single-spaced, in 12-point Helvetica font, without leaving anything out?
Good question, and as with all good answers, an analogy is called for: think of your cover letter as if it’s a highlight reel on your social media account. While your highlight reel can’t stand in for the hours you spend crafting witty tweets, it can give people a quick glance at who you are. And just like a highlight reel, the goal for your cover letter is to make others want to dig a little bit deeper.
A good sales representative cover letter should make your readers curious enough to learn more about you as a sales professional that they will want to ask you about yourself in person. Let’s take a look at how to make them do just that, in five easy steps.
1. The Header
Think of yourself as a sales hiring manager. How hard are you going to look for the contact information of a candidate if they can’t even bother to provide it somewhere obvious in the sales cover letter?
Answer: not very hard. That’s why every sales position cover letter needs a header. Usually, you’ll find it across the top, though sometimes the header runs along the side of the page. It needs to include your name, phone number, address, and any other contact information you might have.
Note that while cover letters to clients or professional colleagues might include your company name, a sales job cover letter should not. Under your info, put the date.
Note that the header is different from the salutation, which includes the hiring manager’s contact information. Don’t confuse the two.
2. How To Greet the Employer
Here is where you greet your potential employer. It has two parts: the contact info and the salutation. First, include the same contact info you included for yourself, but relevant to the hiring manager: their name, basic info and company name.
Then greet them.
You can pick from a number of ways to do this, but if you know the manager’s name, that’s the simplest. “Dear Ms. Lannister” is always better than a “Hi there,” “Greetings,” “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” The former two are too casual, while the latter couple are old-fashioned and make it look like you haven’t bothered to look up their name.
Note: If you can’t be sure of someone’s pronouns, opt for a neutral “Dear Hiring Manager Lannister” or their full name.
3. The Introduction
As with anything else, you have very little time to make a good impression if you want the job. Whether you’re in software sales or yacht sales, you need to punch it right from the beginning.
The introductory paragraph should emphasize why you are an ideal candidate. Remember that this paragraph needs to entice the employer to read further, and readers will lose interest in a boring introduction. Include why you’re applying, any notable sales goals you’ve met or awards you’ve won, and a lead-in to the following paragraph.
4. The Body
Here’s where you flesh out your skills and achievements in more detail. Include items such as:
- Work experience
- Sales experience and sales skills
- Communication skills
- Time management abilities
- Achievement or award track record
Note that you should avoid bullet points, though you can use them in your sales resume. The same goes for detailing aspects of your education, with the exception being your degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, etc.), which is appropriate to mention.
Mostly, this is a sales pitch that should include why you’re the best candidate for the job. Your existing knowledge and abilities are critical to whether or not you can land the role you’re looking for, so don’t hold back. While you should never brag or pass on compliments you’ve gotten, you should share exactly why you would be a good fit for the position.
5. The Conclusion
The last paragraph of your sales cover letter should include a summation, references, and the fond wish that you hear from the hiring manager again. It’s okay to use humor here as long as it is tasteful and doesn’t become the focus on the letter.
If you prefer a more serious tone, simply express your gratitude and desire to hear from them again.
Cover Letter Examples
There exist a wide variety of job positions in the sales world, with different focuses, locations and levels of seniority. No one size fits all when it comes to sales jobs, which is why you need to tailor your sales cover letter to the exact position you’re looking for.
Naturally, we can’t cover every possible job title in a single post. However, the following sales cover letter example list should give you a fairly good idea of what employers are looking for. Feel free to browse both the resume templates and the cover letter templates for ideas before writing your own.
Sales Associate Cover Letter
If you’re just beginning your career in sales, then chances are good you might find yourself at a retail location. From cell phone stores to electronics outlets, car dealerships to boutiques that pay on commission, these are great places to cut your sales teeth.
Just because they’re good for entry-level employees doesn’t mean employers don’t expect a good showing, however. You’ll still need a cover letter that impresses. Go through the sales cover letter sample list below to see what we’re talking about:
Inside Sales Rep Cover Letter
Responsible for selling products and services from company headquarters or satellite offices rather than retail locations where customers walk in, inside sales reps spend a lot of time on the phone and using email. (Ideally for the company, they’re also spending plenty of time using smart automated sales software, but that’s another subject.)
If you hope to become an inside sales rep, you’ll need a sales representative cover letter that demonstrates related abilities. That includes good customer service, the ability to focus under pressure, and a solid background in sales or its theory. Take a look at these examples:
Outside Sales Rep Cover Letter
While their inside counterparts work at a company building, outside sales reps travel to various locations to meet with clients on their turf. The two jobs have much in common, but an outside sales rep must demonstrate a skill set specific to traveling and meeting people in person.
This includes great one-on-one people skills, excellent personal grooming, and account growth. It is sales, after all. Here are a few excellent samples:
Sales Manager Cover letter
Whether you’re already a manager hoping for a position at a new company, or you want to get a managerial job for the first time, the competition is stiff. You’ll need to show you not only have sales chops, but that you can manage people at the same time.
A sales manager cover letter should include how long you’ve been in the industry, how many people you’ve managed, your previous positions, your sales quota history and any related stats. These letters showcase exactly how to present professionally and put yourself in the running for manager:
You may have noticed that most of the above cover letter examples come with offers from their sites to help you craft your own cover letter (and often resume). If you don’t feel confident that you can do a stellar job yourself, go ahead and use one of those templates. Over time, you can use those skills to begin writing cover letters yourself, but there’s no pressure to do so now.
Why Are Sales Cover Letters Effective?
Again, writing a sales cover letter might feel daunting when you first set out to do it. In addition to making you look responsible and organized, however, a cover letter will immediately push you further up in the queue because a full 45 percent of job applicants don’t even include one. If you can get ahead of nearly half of the competition that easily, why wouldn’t you?
At the end of the day, a cover letter just isn’t that hard, and the potential rewards are indisputable. Take this opportunity to write the best cover letter you can, tailoring it to the job description and using a cover letter builder if necessary. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help, but there’s everything wrong with leaving an opportunity on the table. That’s just not how salespeople roll, right?
Finally, keep learning. Increase your sales skills, learn to build remote teams, and practice your writing and communication skills as often as possible. Do this when you’re on the job hunt and when you’re not, because in the end, it will make you a better worker who is more appreciated by your employer. And that in turn is bound to pay off for life.