You love talking, listening, and persuading people to take action. Have you ever considered a career in sales? If not, you should. Here’s what it takes and how to make it a reality.
Map Out Your Career
Know what you want from the beginning. People who fail in sales, fail because they don’t know what they want out of their career, or how to get it.
Map out your career path before you start. See the end-goal before you go on your first interview. Set up a spreadsheet with all of your possible leads (companies you want to work for). Then, ask yourself what your skillset needs to be for each job, what background knowledge you need to have, and what your expectations are.
Get The Technical Knowledge You Need
Some sales jobs will require you to dig deep into the technical side. If you’re not good at this, get good at it by taking a course. If you’re trying to snag that sweet IT sales job, you will probably have to understand cloud computing, Salesforce, and other popular IT and sales applications (assuming you’re selling to businesses).
Clean Up Your Resume
Your resume shouldn’t contain any material misstatements of fact. In other words, don’t lie or embellish your resume to make it look good. You won’t be fooling anyone, not when you finally get the job and are asked to do things you can’t do.
More than 60 percent of resumes of salespeople don’t have the truth printed all the way through them. That’s sad. Don’t be in the majority.
How do you fill in what appear to be shortcomings on your resume? By telling the truth. For example, if you were out of a job for 6 months, explain why. Maybe you didn’t have any job prospects because of the economy. Perhaps there was some other reason. What did you learn from that experience? What will be the benefit for your employer by hiring you?
If you’re going into a sales interview, your job is to sell, so sell yourself. If you can’t overcome a negative aspect of yourself or your past, how do you expect to overcome shortcomings in any product you sell - lie to the customer? That’s no good.
Start reading everything you can get your hands on - especially about sales. Old books. New books. It doesn’t matter. Most of the good sales material was written back in the days of Claude Hopkins, but iterations on that theme have been published by Brian Tracy and other modern pitchmen.
Do Your Research
It might sound cliche, but you really do need to research the type of sales job you want. Sure, medical sales, recruitment jobs, and IT sales are all sales jobs, but they’re still very different from one another. And, some sales jobs require at least a minor in the product you’re selling.
For example, try doing pharmaceutical sales without understanding the drugs you’re selling. You’re not going to get very far.
But, you don’t need to know a lot about IT and computers to do consumer-grade IT sales. Some basic computing knowledge, product-specific knowledge, and you’re good to go.
Business-to-business selling usually requires more knowledge than B2C sales. And, if you’re thinking about a job on the road, be prepared for long nights and even weekends. Outside sales can be brutal for the uninitiated. You will be on the road several hours a day, every day.
You may not see your family for days on end. Even if you do, you may only see enough of your children to see them tucked in for bed. Can you handle that?
On the other hand, there are sales jobs where you’re home by 6PM and in time for dinner. You spend most of the day in the office making phone calls, and a few hours meeting with execs about a deal.
Those jobs are a different kind of stressful, because the sales cycles are long, and you only get a few meetings to make an impact. Markets are smaller. The stakes are higher. But, the rewards are greater, too.
So, before you jump into a specific sales job, research it. Find out the good, the bad, and the ugly. And, don’t be afraid of it. Jump into a job you think you’ll like and forget about what everyone else around you is doing.
Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for Simplilearn.com. She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.