Sales careers are not for everyone. That's pretty clear. Just consider how many people are in sales positions only because they couldn't find a job doing what they really want to do. Or think about how many people you've met who said that they've "tried sales and it "wasn't for them."
The facts are that sales careers are not only not for everyone but also not everyone is right for a career in sales.
But starting off you career in a sales position, despite you believing or even knowing that you have no interest in staying in sales, can be the best thing for your career, long term.
The Front Line
Sales reps are often referred to as the "soldiers of a company." That's because, in most cases, only sales professionals meet face to face on a continuous basis with a company's most important assets: Their customers.
Being as close to a company's customers gives those in sales a unique viewpoint and an advantage over everyone in the company.
They get to hear, direct from customer's mouths, what is good and what needs improvement in their companies. This information can make the rep a more informed, connected and valuable employee should they move up in the company and into a position outside of sales.
Think about where you want your career to bring you and ask yourself if having some customer face to face experience will be an advantage for you.
While not all sales reps have finance degrees, most get a pretty good "on the job education" on a company's finances. Sales reps learn, by understanding their cost of goods sold and driving gross profit, how important it is that a company controls expenses and drives profitable revenues.
Sales reps get a crash course in the unique finances of the company they work for and often advance into finance positions in larger businesses.
Dealing with People
Sales professionals work with all types of people. They can meet with a strong type A person during their morning appointment then follow that meeting up with a sit down with an introvert before lunch.
To be successful in sales, a sales rep needs to both build rapport and be influential with all types of people. This skill will serve them well as they advance their career, despite the possibility that they never move into a management position. Just having the skills to be comfortable speaking with all types of people is a huge advantage. And if you couple that with the gift of being influential, you can see how far they can go in their professional life.
As you know, sales careers are not for everyone. One facet of a career in sales that proves to be too much for some is all the rejection that sales reps need to face. Sales professionals are rejected by customers, prospects, competitors and vendors all the time. In other words, sales is not a career for someone who can't handle rejection.
But if you can put in a few years in a sales position, and learn how to properly handle being rejected (over and over and over again!) you will be in a stronger position no matter where your career path leads you.
Just think of the confidence boost you'll have when being rejected doesn't stop you in your tracks but only motivates you to push harder!
By Thomas Phelps
Sales Careers Expert