Embarking on a career in sales might be the unexpected yet rewarding journey you’ve been seeking.
It’s a path that offers a unique blend of challenges, excitement, and tangible rewards. If you are someone who thrives on human interaction, problem-solving, and a fast-paced work environment, then sales could be your golden ticket.
Still not convinced?
Wait till you hear about nine compelling reasons why a career in sales could be the perfect fit for you.
Let’s dive in!
When choosing or making a career change, you first want to make sure that it will be in demand, both now and in the future. So, is sales that career? Absolutely!
The products sold may change as technology continues to improve our lives, but the need to have someone sell them won’t. Let’s look at some facts…
Finding good salespeople is one of the biggest challenges for sales organizations. According to CSO Insights, only 16% of sales leaders are confident they have the talent they need to succeed in the future.
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) stated, “Even with Canada & the US in a recession, sales positions will continue to weather the effects better than most other careers. Sales and marketing workers tend not to lose or leave these jobs.”
As my mentor, John Noble always said, “If you are good in sales, you are never unemployed.”
Not only are qualified salespeople always in demand in the marketplace, regardless of economic conditions, but they earn an above-average income as well.
Salespeople consistently earn well above the average for their age group and education level. In fact, according to HRDC,
“Business service professionals, including those in marketing, earned well above average for Canadians. Sales, marketing and advertising manager earnings were among the highest for occupations in sales and service.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
“Sales workers in the services and wholesale sectors will continue to be in demand because these occupations remain critical in building and maintaining customer bases for businesses.”
Taking this a step further, research shows that sales professions are also more upwardly mobile, with 85% of today’s CEO’s, Presidents, and senior executives coming from a background in sales.
The main reason is that people who earn their living in sales are truly compensated on their performance. They earn above-average incomes because they are in charge of their own destinies. When everyone else is locked in to a 1% or 2% cost-of-living wage increase, salespeople can go out and write their own paychecks!
Think about it. If you want to make a million dollars, what’s going to get you faster: a $35,000 a year, salary-only position or a performance-based career where you have the opportunity to earn $100,000 plus per year?
Simply put, in sales, you have the power to make it happen.
It’s important to note, not all salespeople earn an above-average income and not all salespeople have a corner office. Why? Sometimes it’s because they are just not in the right sales job.
It’s not enough to just be in sales. You have to be in a sales job that’s right for you!
When you start to investigate sales careers, you will often hear the terms B2B and B2C sales.
Business-to-business, or B2B sales, is simply defined as the process where one company exchanges a product or service with another company with the use of its sales representatives. Common examples include business equipment, accounting services, office supplies, and technology.
The alternative is B2C sales, where a company deals directly with the consumers through its sales representatives. Some examples are insurance and financial services, real estate, retail, and home improvement products and services.
Often, the goods being exchanged can be considered both B2B and B2C. For example, companies and consumers both purchase office supplies such as pens, pencils, and computers. However, a consumer normally buys the products online or by visiting a retail outlet, whereas a B2B sale tends to be made with the assistance of a sales representative at the customer’s place of business.
When looking at different sales career opportunities, it is important to remember that B2B sales are different from B2C sales in the following ways:
If you take a moment to search for sales jobs online, you will see there are numerous opportunities in both B2B and B2C sales. One is not better than the other. You just need to know what works best for you.
You may be asking, with most companies making product information available to buyers with a simple internet search, are salespeople still needed these days? Hasn’t the internet made salespeople obsolete? Won’t a good product sell itself after buyers find it themselves online?
It’s true that consumers (both B2B and B2C) don’t engage with a salesperson until they’re about three-fourths of the way through the buyer’s journey. But as they wind up their research and prepare to make a buying decision, they often have questions, need guidance, or want to “scope out” the vendors they’re most interested in.
No amount of sales pages or case studies can replace this one-to-one experience.
Salespeople know their product inside and out. They understand the problems they can solve for customers. And they often do as much consulting as persuading in the sales process.
So while it’s true, consumers like to explore their options without the aid of a salesperson, products don’t sell themselves. And that’s especially true for expensive products and complicated solutions.
Harvard University recently found out that about 85% of your career success comes solely from having well-developed soft and people skills.
And sales skills are more than just helpful when it comes to closing deals. Communication, negotiation, and persuasion are all important elements of sales that can be applied to many different areas and aspects in life and work.
For instance, better communication skills can help you become a better parent and a better partner.
Similarly, the ability to take calculated risks, learn from your mistakes, and stay persistent without coming off as pushy can help you become a better leader, manager, entrepreneur, and problem solver no matter what field you pursue.
Facing rejection is part of a salesperson’s job. But it teaches you resilience and perseverance.
Salespeople don’t just give up when they hear a no. Instead, they use rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow. They strive to understand why someone said no and become more effective by adapting their pitch accordingly.
This is how a career in sales helps you become more resilient and better able to adapt to change.
Salespeople don’t just sell products or services. They are also tasked with the creative challenge of finding solutions that best meet their customers’ needs.
This is why sales is an art form, requiring creativity and resourcefulness to come up with the perfect answer.
Successful sales involve understanding customer needs, explaining to them why your product is the best choice, and convincing them it’s worth investing in. And creative problem-solving is key to tackling this challenge and finding innovative solutions.
This could mean thinking outside the box and creating custom packages, clever incentives, or budget-friendly options.
So, if you’re looking for a job that gets your creative juices flowing, there’s no doubt that sales is the profession for you.
In a survey by LinkedIn, 80% of the respondents considered networking important to career success. And sales is all about relationships. You are constantly meeting and talking to new people, which leads to the development of a vast network that spreads across industries, locations, and career paths.
This type of expansive networking can help you build valuable connections that could lead to referrals, new clients, or even potential employers, opening up many different career paths down the line.
In addition, being able to talk to any kind of person is an important skill for a successful salesperson. And it’s something that will help you in all aspects of life. After all, who doesn’t want to be the person everyone turns to when they need help?
The thrill of closing a deal, meeting targets, and helping customers find solutions brings about a high level of personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. This intrinsic satisfaction makes sales a fulfilling and rewarding career.
This is especially true in B2B sales where your product or service can make a real difference to someone’s business. That feeling of making a positive impact is immensely satisfying and something that you won’t find in many other jobs.
According to the research in the book How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer by Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney, 1 in 4 people have an aptitude for sales.
How do you know if you could be that one out of four?
Generally, if you’ve got what it takes to succeed in sales, you:
If you’re good with people, you’ve probably got what it takes to succeed in sales. Think about the activities you enjoy and the jobs you’ve succeed at in the past. If you’ve ever done teaching, coaching, or training, you’ve used skills that will help you succeed in sales.
Other skills you’ll need to succeed include:
You need to believe in the product you sell. And you need to be passionate enough the solution it offers, that you’re excited about sharing it with other people
As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you sell, they buy what you believe.”
Having said that, sales is not for everyone. Again, according to the studies in How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer, not everyone can sell, and some should even give up trying!
So how do you know if you are the one?
A sales aptitude survey will tell you if you have the right personality and skills to be successful. Some can even suggest what type of selling would suit you best.
Just Google “free sales aptitude test” and you’ll see many choices to get you started.
Once you discover that you have the aptitude, then it’s just a matter of the right sales training and the right sales position and you’re on your way.
Successful salespeople are not born with the skills they need to succeed. Successful salespeople are trained for their trade, just like every other profession.
You can take the initiative and take some online sales training to get you started. O you could look for companies that hire “rookies” and train their new reps to use their own sales process.
In fact, one associate of mine just started her first sales job at one of those companies after I suggested she look at a career in sales when she set a new record for 50/50 ticket sales for a charity draw.
The point is, even if you don’t have any sales experience, you can still have a very rewarding career in sales.
We all sell. Whether you are a recent graduate selling your skills on your resume, or a volunteer trying to raise funds for your favorite charity, or a parent trying to sell tonight’s dinner choice to your toddler, we all sell.
The real question is, can you make a living in sales? Now that you know all the facts, I think it is certainly worth investigating. Mind you, after 30 plus years in sales, some might say I am biased!