According to the most recent UK population survey, it’s estimated that 8% of the UK workforce currently works in sales and sales-related professions.
Considering sales is the lifeblood of any business, this is hardly surprising.
However, despite being economically essential, sales as a career still carries a bad reputation compared to many other professions. Not many universities in Britain offer a degree in the subject, with apprenticeships or cold experience being the most common avenues into a sales career.
But the fact is that salespeople are fundamental to economic and business growth.
At durhamlane, we fly the flag for the importance of sales and work to dispel the unfair myths of soulless telesales corporations mindlessly flogging useless products one after the other.
So, if you find yourself wondering if sales is the right career choice for you, here a some things to consider.
1. Sales is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs
For Alan Sugar, it was car aerials, Richard Branson started out with records, and famed Dragon Duncan Bannatyne began his entrepreneurial journey with ice-cream.
There’s a reason why so many entrepreneurs with a track record of successful achievements start out in sales, the main one being it’s the fundamental building block of commercial activity. If you can’t sell your product or service, you’re going to have a hard time making money in the business world.
For many, sales experience provides a great intro to succeeding in business – an opportunity to learn how to build and manage relationships, how to broker a deal and how to self-motivate.
2. Sales is diverse
When most people think of what it’s like to work in sales, they envisage packed call centres or door-to-door callers plodding up muddy footpaths on drizzly days. Sure, it can sometimes be like that, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
All products and services have to be sold – a painter and decorator on a house-call is making a pitch, a politician out canvassing is selling themselves to the electorate, a tech firm needs to sell its software in an increasingly competitive market, and so on.
And, as well as being diverse in nature, sales is also perhaps the most culturally diverse profession there is. Because so many businesses across all sectors and territories are forever looking to expand internationally, multilingual salespeople are always highly sought after.
3. Sales gives you life skills
Lots of people who don’t work in sales might feel awkward talking to strangers, find it difficult to negotiate their phone bills and struggle to get rid of cold callers. But for people who work in sales, communication skills, rapport building and resilience are essential elements to succeed, which can be learned and improved through sales training. Confidence, enthusiasm and passion are also critical qualities, which continuously develop in sales professionals.
Basically, when you choose a career in sales, you get the chance to acquire skills that you can apply in many other areas in life.
4. Sales is for life, not just for stop gaps
There are a myriad of opportunities for upward progression in the sales profession. It’s not just a stopgap for people in between jobs or deciding what else they want to do when they finish uni; it’s a long term, sustainable career. From inside sales, to sales operations and business development, in sales you’ll find many career paths and many levels of responsibility and roles to aspire to.
Plus, there are always products and services to sell, so a good salesperson will never be short on job prospects.
5. Sales is satisying and rewarding
There’s no feeling like making your first sale, closing a big deal or winning a client. Sales is a satisfying career that brings with it tangible results and a deep sense of achievement. In sales, you’re the one who makes things happen and you’ll find gratification in both reaching your personal targets and helping your wider sales teams achieve their goals.
Salespeople personally reap the benefits of their success. As well as basic salary packages, most sales jobs carry great financial perks, like uncapped commission, bonuses, car allowances and more. There aren’t many careers that offer the chance to be instantly rewarded when you perform well – sales is the exception.
6. Sales isn’t for dummies
Sales is a highly-skilled vocation. It requires in-depth knowledge of products and services, exemplary time management and top-notch people skills. Because the profession requires such quality skillsets, graduate recruitment schemes in the field are growing, and so they should.
Sales is not a soft option, and it’s not career choice to be ashamed of. It’s a vital part of business infrastructure. It’s hard, but it’s rewarding. What’s more, the opportunities and challenges mean you’re always progressing both personally and professionally. So never mind the unjust sneers and inaccurate stereotypes – a sales career is about self-improvement, self-worth and it’s a choice worth making.
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