When you’re a kid and someone asked you what you want to be when you grow up — what did you say?
I used to tell people I wanted to be a chef, astronaut, and lawyer. All at the same time. How would I find the time?
One thing I didn’t consider until my mid 20’s however was a career in sales. It didn’t seem very glamorous. I thought it was all about being a smooth talker always trying to convince people to buy from me. And, well, let’s just say I had a slight stammer and I was probably about as far away from being considered a smooth talker as you can imagine.
My impression was completely wrong. Yes, you have to be smart and yes you have to be engaging and be able to tell a captivating story. But sales weren’t about trying to convince by any means necessary someone to buy from you. Being successful as a salesperson was about helping people and getting their trust. You need empathy and I had plenty of that. I learned to think of sales like this; imagine sitting opposite a potential customer, asking them questions to help them uncover a problem in their life/business, and then gaining the trust to move around and sit at the same side of the table and work out how you can fix that problem together. It was that change in mindset that turned me into the highest performing salesperson in my company and helped me launch my consultancy where I help people enter the field of sales and get their first break.
A career in sales isn’t something that a lot of people think about when deciding upon a career. I want to change that and I think you should consider it. Let’s look at five reasons why.
1 — Earning potential is huge and uncapped. Whilst your first job in business development is likely to be a starting salary of around £30k ($47k), you can quickly add around 50% onto this by hitting your target. What other entry-level jobs do you know paying that kind of money? Within two years, you can easily be hitting the £100k ($140k) level, seriously in the corporate world, that’s a fantastic start. As you progress your career, this can be literally uncapped. I know of people that are earning £250k ($400k) every year which will really put you into the top 1% of earners nationally and give you a fantastic quality of life.
2 — You don’t always have to be the smartest person in the room. Inquisitiveness and curiosity are critical skills you need in this industry. Asking questions because you’re generally interested will get you far. Some of the best performers I know have been… let’s say no conventionally smart. It’s important to be a hard worker and have emotional intelligence but academia is not critical here.
3 — Sales jobs allow you to be flexible. Sure, you work hard and probably longer hours than some other professions but because you’re in control of your own diary, you can take some time away to go to that dentist appointment or pick up the kids from school.
4 — Teamwork is important but you’re responsible for your own performance. At the end of the day, your figures do not lie and if you smash quota then you are directly rewarded for that. In fact, what drove me into a career in sales was making £300k over quota for my boss and him just saying thank you. I didn’t see any of that. It made me realize that I needed a career where I was responsible for my own income and revenue and I’d be rewarded for that accordingly.
5 — What other job allows you to have a direct impact and share in the happiness of those you are able to help? Your job is literally to help people solve problems in their lives or in their business. Without people like you, the world would stop turning and businesses would ground to a halt. You care about your customers and you are providing them with the care and attention they deserve. Congratulations.
If you’re interested in starting a sales career, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll talk to you about our free sales training and interview program.