Careers advice

How to write a sales cover letter that stands out

You can sell a product, but can you sell your skills?

For any job application, a good cover letter is an essential piece of the puzzle.

But when it comes to applying for sales roles in New Zealand, this document takes on even great significance. Think about it, if you can’t sell yourself effectively, the manager will probably doubt if you can sell the company’s product or services.

To help you nail your sales team member cover letter, we’ve come with this handy guide. At the end, you’ll also find a sales cover letter example you can adapt and use yourself.

Writing a great sales agent cover letter: top tips

1. Start strong

Just like a successful sales pitch, your cover letter needs to grab the other person’s attention from the get-go. Every word counts.

“To whom it may concern” is the cover letter equivalent of a limp handshake, and should be avoided at all costs. These intros look particularly poor when you’re applying for a personality driven role like sales – you’d never go to a client meeting without learning the other person’s name, and the same rule applies here.

Not only is addressing someone by their name more engaging, it shows you’ve done your homework and this isn’t the same generic cover letter you’ve sent to 14 businesses that day. Side note: don’t send the same cover letter to every business – tailoring is key.

Your opener needs to grab the reader's attention.

2. Let your energy come through

While your cover letter needs to be polished and professional, you also want to show the person reading it that you’ll bring 110% to the role. This is important in any job application, but particularly in sales, where you’ll need to bring enthusiasm and positivity to your client interactions.

A common cover letter mistake is talking too much about yourself, and not enough about the company you’re applying to, and why you want this particular role. Hiring managers want to know that you’re interested in their job, not a job. So re-read the job description, select the aspects of the position that appeal to you most, and be sure to mention them in your cover letter. This could be, for example, the product/service you’d be promoting, the client base they have or the opportunity to use your experience that the job presents.

Not only does this demonstrate your enthusiasm to get involved, it also shows you’ve done the research on who you’re talking to, which, in itself, is a key attribute of a good sales agent.

3. Be specific when it comes to your relevant skills and experience

When it comes to talking about what you bring to the table, we’ve got two key pieces of advice:

  • Use stats: if you’ve got a great sales record from previous jobs, don’t be shy. Facts and figures can really help your cover letter stand out, and really hammer home the performance you’ll bring to the company.
  • Consider all aspects of the role: Anyone who’s worked in sales knows there’s more to being a successful salesperson than simply pushing a product. So, if you were particularly effective at, for example, decreasing client risk, make sure to mention this in your cover letter. Similarly, if you’ve used specific tools or software packages before (for example, CRM tools, you can mention these too).

Another important thing to note is that sales roles are often popular among people looking at a career change from different sectors – for example, many of our sales account managers here at Trade Me Jobs previously worked in recruitment. If this is you, and you have expert insight into the industry your company sells to, make sure this is front and centre in your cover letter and CV.

Play upon your specific experiences that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Example cover letter for a sales role in New Zealand

In the below example, we’ve got a classic business-to-business sales role cover letter. In this instance, we’ve taken the example of someone applying for a company that sells team building courses to call centres.

Dear Nicole Gates,

I’m writing to apply for the senior account manager position currently advertised on Trade Me Jobs. I believe my experience working with a large portfolio of clients, and my track record of beating my targets, positions me well to become the newest member of your team.

I’ve always admired the marketing of your services, and your goal of helping your clients build futureproof teams, and as someone with experience of working in large teams myself, your product is one I would be proud to represent.

As an account manager at PREVIOUS COMPANY I regularly surpassed my quarterly sales target of bringing on X new businesses. At the same time working to meet KPIs is something I find highly motivating. I also greatly enjoy working closely with clients to build meaningful relationships, and I was proud to play a key part in reducing the churn rate across the company’s client base by X%. As such, I would greatly enjoy the challenge of working with the large number of high profile clients you currently have.

The other key skills I bring to the table are around using data to enhance customer value propositions. I’m confident about using X,Y and Z data platforms to really demonstrate to customers the benefits they get from working with us, something I would be keen to bring to this role.

I’m excited to learn more about this role, and would be keen to meet in person to discuss how I could contribute to your team’s mission and culture. Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,