There are many out there who may be wondering if a career in sales is right for them. Those who ask this question to themselves are often filled with apprehensions caused, in large part, by their personal experience with sales professionals, the opinions of their personal network and the general public opinion of the sales industry.
They most likely have heard stories of people they know of who gave sales a try but who have more horror stories than success stories to share.
But asking the question, "is sales right for me?" is better if rephrased to "am I right for sales?"
Sales is not an Easy Job
An erroneous and commonly held belief is that sales professionals spend more time on the golf course than in a board room. While many sales professionals do spend time entertaining clients on golf courses, that time is earned time. Unless a sales professional is "playing hookie" and shrugging off their responsibilities to spend a day on the lynx, time golfing (or any other form of entertainment) comes only after a lot of work and usually only as part of a sales cycle.
Sales is a tough job. If you are considering a sales job, you must first understand that you will be expected to work very hard, long hours before you can earn some of the privileges of being in sales. Not only will your employer demand hard work from you, your clients, too will expect that you are dedicated and committed to delivering on your every promise. Doing so takes hard work.
"Can I Handle Rejection?"
Many people have a hard time dealing with rejection. For those in the sales industry, rejection is part of the job. Consider an inside sales professional who is charged with making 50 calls per day. The average inside rep needs to make 25 calls before reaching someone who is interested in learning more about the product or service the sales professional represents. That means 24 rejections before success.
If you have issues or challenges with being rejected, you will either need to learn how to effectively deal with rejection or consider a different industry.
"Do I have a Strong Internal Drive?"
Many sales positions offer plenty of autonomy. That means that much of your business day will be up to you as to how the hours are spent. Without strong, internal motivation and drive, those hours may not serve you well in your quest for success.
Over-bearing managers are somewhat common in the sales industry precisely as a result of having a sales team of professionals that lack self-motivation. But those sales professionals who usually have challenges and issues working for an over-bearing managers are usually those who most need to have an over-bearing manager looking over their shoulders and demanding more activity.
If you are not certain that you have a strong enough internal drive, that will get you up early in the morning and drive you throughout the entire working day, know that sales will be a struggle for you and success will be elusive.
"Am I Patient?"
Most sales industries demand patience as potential customers usually prefer to think carefully before making a buying decision. The days of hard closing a prospect are over and have been replaced with more patient reps who understand that consumers are more informed, have more choices and need consulting more than traditional sales reps to assist them in making a decision.
This approach demands patience, discipline and a strong set of sales skills. Not everyone has the patience levels needed to be in a career which results can take months to be realized. Couple the time that many sales cycles take with the a need for the often neglected sales skill of creating a sense of urgency with prospects and you will certainly understand that without patience, anyone in sales is sure to struggle.
By Thomas Phelps
Sales Careers Expert