Sales careers involve exchanging products or services with other individuals or organizations for financial returns. Traditionally, a salesperson earns money in the form of a salary and/or a commission, a percentage of the sale price. Salespeople are a necessary component in almost every company. Salespeople rely on interpersonal skills and persuasion; they’re often very utilitarian or results-focused. To become a salesperson, college degrees are not required. Salespeople often begin their careers by receiving training by working in an entry-level position for a small company. Insurance sales, auto sales, and business to business sales are all great places to start. Moving forward in a salesperson’s career path usually means earning higher commissions, working for a bigger company, finding bigger clients, or becoming a sales manager.
Careers in sales are some of the highest-paying with the lowest comparative barriers to entry. There are no specialized degrees in sales (which is a shame!). Apart from experience and successes to make you stand out, there are very few required qualifications.
If you can sell, you can find a great job. Salespeople are the cornerstone of most companies; without them, there would be no revenue.
A salesperson career path often involves working as part of a team. Sales is a very social job that revolves around building relationships and rapport with coworkers and clients.
Closing a large deal can be exciting, especially when the prospect of a huge commission is at stake. Salespeople thrive on this feeling and it often motivates to push themselves even further. If you crave excitement, sales may be for you.
Though the excitement of success can be a huge motivator, salespeople need to be prepared for disappointment just as often. Resilience is the ability to overcome rejections and failures, and good salespeople have it in abundance. When faced with defeat, even good salespeople may take a hit to their confidence, but some people may find themselves completely dismantled in the midst of repeated “no thank yous.”
Bottom line – If you embed yourself in an uninteresting industry, you won’t find much success. When looking for sales positions, consider the industry: what people work there, where will sales take place, what is the product used for? Take medical or pharmaceutical sales, for example. Most of your time will be spent talking to doctors, nurses, or hospital administrators. To learn about your device, you may need to observe surgeries and treatments, which might not sit well with someone unable to see blood.
Alternatively, selling food might sound fun, especially if you’re visiting fancy restaurants or trying different cuisines. However, food selling will require discipline if you want to stay healthy. Eating or drinking too much will have a strong, and probably visible, effect on your body. Either way, take positions that come up when you’re starting out and use them as opportunities for building your skillset. Don’t be afraid to explore different industries to find one that suits you
If you’re a rising entrepreneur or want to become your own boss at some point, gaining some sales experience now will be a great help later. Small businesses depend on sales to survive. Even as an independent consultant or a gig worker, you’ll be selling yourself or your services. Simple training programs, like The Art of Sales at Coursera, can help you learn some of the skills without committing to a full time sales position.
In fact, most sales jobs have a smaller base pay with larger commissions. Read your commission agreement carefully and negotiate if the structure doesn’t really work for you–this is very important as it will shape your wages. As they master their craft, many salespeople tend to choose positions with a small base salary with a larger commission, since it allows for more incentive and better pay.
Selling items and creations online has never been easier, with numerous platforms to suit your needs. Read this blog post from Intuit for more information on online marketplaces and their benefits. Sell your creations, designs, or merchandise on online marketplaces like Etsy or Redbubble, sell your old stuff or resell items on Amazon or Ebay, or create your own storefront on a unique domain using Wix or Squarespace.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs, such as Amway, Mary Kay, and Primerica, are also options for individuals looking to get started as salespeople. MLMs allow individuals to sell their products and earn commissions; these recruits are then allowed to recruit their own sellers who will then earn themselves and their recruiters commissions. Many organizations offer training in sales techniques and connect individuals to a larger network of coworkers and salespeople. However, MLM programs have been considered controversial for the last several decades. According to a report published on the Federal Trade Commission website, 99% of people who join MLMs lose money and many individuals accuse MLMs of predatory practices. Despite the negative stigma, the industry is not without its success stories, like those described here.
As someone pursuing a salesperson career path, learning popular sales management software could give you an edge in applying for positions. Companies are often more interested in individuals who require less training. Platforms like Salesforce, Infor CloudSuite, or Microsoft Dynamics will help you in the long run.
In addition to books, there are many online resources that will help train you in sales techniques.
Coursera’s The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process, offered by Northwestern University – Free
Coursera’s Sales Training for High Performing Teams, offered by HubSpot Academy – Free
Udemy’s Sales Machine: The Sales Training B2B Master course, offered by Patrick Dang – $134.99
Udemy’s Sales Training: Practical Sales Techniques, offered by Chris Croft – $104.99
Udemy’s Business Development & B2B Sales for Startups offered by Patrick Dang – $134.9