Your Future In Sales
Why Choose The Sales Industry
If you’re reading this because you haven’t yet decided whether or not to pursue a career in sales, or you are already working in the sales field and need to re-affirm your choice then this is a great place to start your journey in and around our website.
First of all, you would be advised to realise (or remember) that sales is not just a job. It is a profession; one that is just a professional as any roles associated with a wide variety of other areas such as business, finance, marketing, management and so on, as well as all those other more traditional roles such as a doctor or a lawyer that your careers adviser probably spoke to you about while you were at school or college.
To be successful in any career requires an element of professionalism on both sides. Employers need to recognise the role as having a high status and treat it, and those working in it, as such, and employees need to act and perform their duties in a business-like manner.
So, it is worth noting that a job in sales is just as much a viable and long-term prospect as all of those other career avenues you’ve considered in the past. In addition, with the guidance and support of the ISM, we’re ensuring that those working within the field of sales are not only recognised as the professionals that they are but also that they are equipped with all of the skills, training and market intelligence to be successful and progress in their careers.
Sales is great for those with a competitive nature
If you are passionate about competition, but even more like to win, then sales could be the route for you. Even if you are not competitive when it comes to your peers, sales can still offer you the chance for you to compete against yourself. Many sales people look to beat their previous best performing day or month, best ever quarter or year. Sales can be the most fun when you are undertaking it properly and ethically and competitively. The thrill of beating your previous best record, improving your sales figures, helping to drive your company forward with greater levels of revenue, being seen and regarded as the best, the top performer. All of those aspects are inherent in a thriving sales environment. And even when we don’t quite achieve our targets, there’s always something to strive for, our definition of what ‘excellent’ looks like that we work towards and the personal journey that we take in order to get there.
Some of the benefits of a sales career can include:
- Recognition for your efforts on a regular basis
A fast moving environment where you are surrounded with like-minded people
The knowledge that you are making a positive difference in the lives of your customers
The training and personal development opportunities, communication skills & experience
Personal income and remuneration – don’t forget that companies like to reward successful sales people very well, and that they are highly regarded in today’s world of business.
Sales Professionals are highly regarded in their field
Although we’ve established that sales should be regarded as a profession, a number of people find themselves in sales simply because they are looking for a job. While many of those in this position do succeed, more and more it is those that see sales as a calling that become regarded as at the pinnacle of their chosen field.
Along with expert training, successful sales people look and act the part, and as such, receive worthwhile and highly useful experience.
And unlike other careers, sales can be an area that someone can become highly effective within a relatively short time. It takes up to 7 years to become a trained Doctor or a Lawyer, but with some excellent training, a recognised development programme and some experience, a sales person can be operating successfully and benefitting from the rewards, within a much shorter time span; in many cases in less than a year.
While there are some sales people and practices that have given a more negative public perception of sales, there are many within the field who are seen as gurus of the art, and who have made real tangible contributions to the companies for which they work and as such, deserve all the accolades that they receive.
According to a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, the position of Sales Manager is in the top 10 of the most desirable jobs in the UK, featuring much higher for example than a Civil Engineer, Lawyer, Software Engineer, HR Manager and Accountant.
Sales is either the best paid and hardest job you will do, or the lowest paid and easiest.
It’s up to you really. If you’re willing to commit to your training and development, and to work hard, then sales could be the most rewarding career choice you will ever make, both in terms of job satisfaction and income level. However, conversely, those that don’t do the work or treat it with the respect that it deserves tend not to last very long.
The big difference with working hard and being dedicated in a sales role is that those that work harder at whatever stage or level they are within their career generally earn the most money. It’s not uncommon in sales for highly successful and motivated individuals to be earning six figure salaries and yet still be in their 20’s.
Sales is about making a positive difference
Sales is all about a person serving a customer’s needs. As someone involved in sales, your total focus is on the relationship between yourself and those customers, about how you interact and identify what will make a difference and add value to their lives and how you serve those wants and desires.
Recognise those traits? Of course; they’re similar, if not the same type of interactions between many sorts of professionals and their clients. Relationship building helps to create long term success in any career area.
The further you progress within sales, so the definition of who your customers are changes. Within the role of a Sales Manager for example, your customers become the sales team that work for you, and with a senior position, your customers are your Sales Managers. And so it continues. The importance of building and sustaining a positive relationship between yourself and your immediate customers remains crucial at all levels. That’s what it means to be a professional.
When sales is performed correctly, adhering to a code of conduct and ethically, it is essentially about the actions of ensuring that people get what they want. Those actions will ensure that both parties are satisfied; the customer because of the outstanding service they have received, and the salesperson who can be gratified in having provided that excellent level of service.
Sales is not about underhand or shady practices – telling lies or misrepresenting the truth in order to make a ‘quick buck’. Sales is about helping people; all people at all times and it represents an opportunity to help them to make a positive change to their lives.
Sales skills are transferable skills
If you consider the nature of an experienced sales person, the way that they approach their craft and help their customers, you’ll soon realise that the range of skills on show at all times can become quite dazzling. Undertaking training and gaining experience in sales will not only support your immediate career, but be of immense help when you progress and even if you decide to change direction.
Here are some of the typical main skills associated with sales that would be of benefit in many other careers:
- Communication – a crucial skill that plays an important part not only in our everyday lives, but also in all career areas. Good communicators make for good sales people but virtually any profession requires communication to some degree, so efficient and confident communicators are sought after in many other sectors, which makes this arguably the most transferable skill.
- Negotiation – this is a delicate art that requires a whole skill set in itself to perfect, but essentially being able to put your point of view across in an informed and articulate way and then to be able to add just the right amount of additional information at just the right time is something that is a major requirement to a successful sales process but also in many other aspects of life and career roles.
- Ability to stay calm and to think fast– whilst this is not always a skill that can be taught, most top sales people do develop it once they gain experience. A need to remain calm at all times can apply to a high pressure sales situation just as much as to many other roles and so this is a desirable skill to master.
And here’s a list of some of the other transferable skills that you can gain from a career in sales:
- Follow instructions.
- Motivating Others.
- Providing customer service.
- Time Management.
- Problem solving.
- Interpreting and analysing.
- Decision Making.
- Presentation of ideas.
- Recording information.
- Target setting.
Sales can be the first step to starting your own business
When you consider the range of skills and abilities along with the vast amount of experience that you will gain from a career in sales, it is not difficult to make the leap between being a successful sales person and in starting up and running your own business.
The list of transferable skills above demonstrates the massive range of areas that you will become adept in and those are the same type of requirements for many roles in many fields, as well as those needed for someone setting out as an entrepreneur. Anecdotal evidence shows that many businesses began life when someone with sales skills or experience decided to take the plunge and go it alone, or in partnership. After all, companies thrive or fail in their ability to sell whatever it is they are offering to their clients or customers regardless of the service or product. Having experienced sales people involved at an early stage or in key management or director positions is a major benefit to a new start-up in any field.
As a potential business owner with sales experience and skills you will bring to the table a whole host of abilities, including:
- high level communication and presentation skills
- networking skills
- relationship building skills
- self motivation and positivity
- mentoring and training skills
All of which are crucial aspects of setting up and running your own business, regardless of whether you will be directly selling a service or product you will require money to change hands at some point, and this is where your armoury of sales related skills will come into their own.
So, wherever you are in the process of your career; whether you are making choices about your next steps while at school or college, or seeking a change from your current position, considering a career in sales could change not only your own life, but help to influence and change the lives of many others. This noble profession that we call sales deserves your attention and consideration, if only for the wide range of skills and abilities that you will acquire as you progress that you could take with you on your journey. If you do decide on a career in sales, you can rest assured that the ISM will support, nurture and provide you with an excellent, exciting and highly rewarding development path for you to follow.