Written by: Mike Smith | 17 Oct 2022

How do I start a career in Sales?

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Sales… hours on the phone, and sometimes only to get consistent rejection. Who would want to start a career in sales?

Well, for a lot of salespeople, starting a career in sales just kind of happens. I can’t think of any young children growing up who would rather work in sales than become an astronaut. But there are some exceptional perks in sales that not a lot of other career paths can offer.

Firstly, what sort of person would become a good salesperson? Well, there are a lot of core personality traits and skills that could lead someone to become a great salesperson, and most of these skills will come naturally, and are not easily learnt.

Some of the most well-known and obvious ones are:

  1. Persistence
  2. Drive
  3. Rapport building
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Persuasiveness
  6. A strong, likeable persona
  7. Resilience

All of these skills are important. Not all are required, especially when starting your career, however you will need to check a few of the boxes if you want to consider it. Some of the most vital ones for new career starters would be resilience, persistence and drive. These 3 traits alone can make you a decent in the world of sales. The rest are what can turn you from good, to great.

So, what would a day in sales look like? Well firstly, there are typically two basic types of sales. Internal, and field based. Internal would be based in an office, and field based would be someone who travels around the country (or even globally) to meet customers who rarely would spend time in the office. The latter typically has appointments arranged for them.

Office based is where you’d typically start. You would spend your day trying to identify leads (leads being potential new customers for your businesses product), identifying who the right person to speak too would be (normally the person who holds the purse-strings so to speak), and arranging conversations and face to face meetings to sell your companies product. Depending on the product, you could be expected to speak to one person per week (super high value capital equipment sales), or 100 people per day (low margin products such as office stationery). You will be arranging meetings, using social media to track down leads, meeting with other departments to pass on customer product feedback (or even learn the new funky products due to be released) and researching potential businesses.

The job will be grueling. There will be days (or even months) when you hate it, and get consistent rejection. But, on the flip side, closing a big deal is something you cannot put into words. Salespeople have more negative days than positive – which is where resilience comes into play – but the positive days make it all worthwhile.

Sales is without a doubt the most crucial department of any business. Yes, product designers creating an awesome product is vital, but without a strong sales team, that product isn’t going anywhere.

So why would someone want to chose this as a career focus? Most people typically move into it due to the financial rewards. Most sales roles truly are uncapped in your earning potential. You’d typically receive an average salary, but with strong sales performance, your bonus and commission payments can make your basic salary look laughable. I’ve personally known good sales people who’ll 10x their earnings through commission alone.

The career ladder is also strong. Some move into management, some move into a coaching position, and some stay in senior sales roles. All have their perks, but that will be for you to decide.

People often do best when they’re selling a product they genuinely believe in. So, if you want to move into sales, look for businesses that sell products you like the look of and it’ll make the world of difference.

So, if you think you look great a suit, have the tenacity to go-at-it each and every day, and talk yourself out of life sentence at Alcatraz, then perhaps this is the career for you!

Oh, did I mention I started my own career in sales? It’s not all doom and gloom. Promise.