Sales is an industry that’s been around since the beginning of time – we all buy things, so we all need people to help us find what we want. But while some sales positions can be very straightforward and transactional, many of them require more than just the simple exchange of money for goods. Whether it’s a retail store or a manufacturer, your job will be to make a sale by understanding your customers and communicating the benefits of your product or service.
If your dream job is to make it as a professional salesperson, you’re probably thinking that all you need is confidence, charisma and a gift for customer service. While these traits certainly help, there’s more to it than that. To succeed in this field, you’ll need to have more than charm – you’ll also need leadership skills and industry know-how.
Sales as a career choice
While salespeople may be thought of as the stereotypical face of a company, there are many other roles in sales that offer excellent compensation and opportunities for career advancement.
Here’s an overview of some jobs you could pursue if you want to grow your career in sales:
If you prefer to focus on customer service, you can sell door-to-door or from a storefront.
Become a Sales Manager or Sales Representative. If you enjoy working directly with customers and have a knack for motivating people, one of the most popular ways to climb the sales ladder is to become a manager or sales representative. As a manager, you’ll be responsible for leading your team to success, whether it’s helping them develop their own skillsets or guiding them through the ins and outs of specific sales campaigns. As a sales representative, you’ll be responsible for building relationships with potential clients and promoting your company and its products or services to them. Sales managers have a lot of responsibilities and must be able to motivate their teams, think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems.
Sales representative jobs are available in many different industries, from food service to real estate. The focus of each job may differ based on industry, but there are some skills that are universal for all types of sales careers. For example, customer service is a must for all representatives because it’s important to keep clients happy in order to maintain their business. Customer service skills are necessary because you have to learn how to listen to customers and understand what they need. Other important skills include communication skills so you can speak with your customers about the products or services you represent, as well as management skills so you can effectively lead a team of other sales representatives.
Benefits of being a sales representative
There are many benefits to a sales career. Sales jobs can be very fulfilling and can offer a competitive income, especially when you consider that many sales representatives enjoy quarterly bonuses and commissions. Most sales representatives work long days, sometimes facing high stress levels and working odd hours. However, the ability to set your own schedule can be attractive to some people who want control over their day-to-day lives. Sales representatives spend most of their time on the road visiting clients and attending trade shows, so they tend to see a variety of places while on the job.
No matter what kind of sales you like doing most, there are courses in business development and management that will teach you everything you need to know about leading and managing others in this fast-paced career.