From the outside looking in, jobs in sales appear to be great. The salesperson gets paid for talking to people, after all. Jobs in field sales look especially appealing. The salesperson gets to spend most of the day driving around in a nice car, stopping once in a while to take an order from a customer, before leaving to drive around some more while listening to the radio. Something else about that salesperson: he or she always appears to be happy, well dressed and equally well fed.
Most people who have never sold for their living have looked at salespeople and thought those kinds of thoughts. In comparison, many other jobs are physically harder, require jobholders to spend eight hours per day at one location – usually the same location as their boss – and offer much lower earning potential. Its small wonder that sales jobs look appealing, and perfectly understandable that those people looking for a new career decide that they want to have a go at selling. But it’s a career where reality can look very different to the brochure.
A Great Career Change for the Right Person
Yes, everyone’s seen a happy, smiling salesperson, rubbing along just nicely with his or her prospects, closing lots of business and making a great deal of money. For such people, selling is one of the very best jobs in the world. It is like a welcome bonus. The money is great, as is the freedom to manage one’s own day. But successful sellers offer the observer no insight into the life of the salesperson who isn’t succeeding – and at any one time there are always plenty of non-succeeding salespeople.
For salespeople who are underachieving – for those who are waking up at night worrying about how to hit their target – the life of a sales executive is one of loneliness. Spending most of the day by oneself in a car becomes a miserable experience, made worse if they cannot afford lunch – a strong likelihood if they’re behind their sales targets.
Selling is a nightmare job for anyone who doesn’t do it very well, and doing it very well is about more than talking to people and schmoozing the customer. One prerequisite of a successful sales executive – and this is an attribute which most people don’t have in abundance – is an ability to handle rejection.
Rejection Handling is a Big Key to Sales Success
What many people getting into their first sales jobs fail to realize is that rejection will play a large part in their working lives. Even the very best salespeople get told “no'” far more often than they get a ‘”yes.”
For those that are required to generate their own leads via cold calling, rejection is especially acute. A salesperson might make a hundred calls to be told “no” ninety times and to make ten appointments. Of those ten, only one might end up buying. So that’s ninety-nine rejections for one sale, and it takes an incredibly resilient person to keep smiling and keep striving in those kind of circumstances. A successful salesperson needs to accept rejection in the way that boxers accept jabs to the head. Most people couldn’t make it as a professional boxer. More people can make it as a professional salesperson, but their numbers are still in the minority.
Interviewing For Sales Jobs
Sales managers and recruitment professionals know how hard the life of a salesperson can be. To succeed at interview, candidates will have to demonstrate more than good communication and persuasion skills. Personal organization and motivation are equally important, as is the ability to remain motivated in adverse circumstances.
An ability to sell isn’t enough by itself. An experienced sales manager wants to recruit someone who keeps trying to sell when it seems as though the whole world isn’t buying. For such an individual, a sales career truly could be the right move.
Finding Work without Previous Experience
It can be difficult to find a job in a field of interest without prior work experience; however, it can be even more difficult to get the work experience necessary without landing a job. For all those first-time job seekers, workers returning to the job market after a long absence or anyone hoping to change careers, here are six tips on how to gain the right work experience.
Talk to Someone Working in the Field or Industry
The people who know how to do the job or get into the field or industry that job seekers want to enter are the best people to provide advice. By talking to friends, family members, neighbors, school mates or others that they know who are currently doing the job they want to do, job seekers can gain helpful information about how to get started. And they can do all this through an informational interview.
Be Willing to Take an Entry-Level Position
All those old movies where the head of the company started in the mail room have a ring of truth to them. Starting at the bottom and learning a business from the ground floor up is a great way to understand the day-to-day operations and inner workings of a company. It’s just a matter of taking time to watch, listen and learn. That means asking questions, networking with people both inside and outside the firm, reading things like the company’s annual report and industry news, and volunteering for assignments. And speaking of volunteering…
Start a Career by Learning to Do it for Free
Not only can volunteering provide valuable work experience in a previously untapped field or industry, it can give job seekers a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Taking on a new challenge, especially in a non-profit or philanthropic organization, provides job seekers with the chance to learn without the risk. Yes, it is important to be reliable and provide quality services; however, volunteering offers job seekers a chance to try on a new career first before making a career commitment.
Take Time to Learn a New Career on Campus
For job seekers who are preparing to graduate from school in the next six to 18 months or those who want to work and attend school simultaneously, working at school can offer a number of rewards. First, students who work on campus often get discounts on the courses they take. Second, it limits travel time since school and work are at the same location. Finally, depending on the student’s major, it is often possible to find an employment opportunity that matches with their career choice. Colleges and universities routinely offer jobs on campus for students in administrative, peer counseling, and other areas.
Check out Temporary or Seasonal Work
Another method for getting work experience with no risk of making a career commitment is to do temporary or seasonal work. Seasonal work can be found in retail, at amusement parks, and in hospitality. Or check in with a temporary employment service and find out what they have to offer. Many are career specific such as administrative, creative, and scientific, so it can be a great way to learn on the job.
Join a Professional Association
This is a really great way for job seekers who are making a career change to make much needed contacts and fine-tune business skills by actively participating in association meetings and events. For instance, if you want to transition from accounting into a full-time writing career, join an accounting association and take on the responsibility of editing the monthly newsletter.
The whole idea is to get out there and find ways to learn new skills while putting current talents to good use and to eventually find a great new job.