If you are struggling to find a job, there is one career path that many people overlook that they should possibly revisit.
While a career in sales may come with certain stigmas like pushy used car salesmen or door-to-door sales, there are actually some very lucrative and professional career paths to pursue that make sales a great career.
So, is sales a good career?
Sales is a great career if you can find a great company to represent and there is a clear career path with promotional and advancement opportunities.
The great thing about sales is that every industry needs salespeople to help bring in new clients as well as keep existing customers happy. This means that you have a wide net of opportunities to pursue a sales career.
Interested in a Medical Career? The medical sales industry is one of the most lucrative sales careers out there.
Like Technology? Software sales jobs are in high demand and reps are known to make over six figures in some roles.
Read on below for the reasons why sales is a good career:
One of the main reasons people like sales is the income upside that typically comes along with it.
Most sales jobs are paid by a compensation structure that has a salary and commission-based component.
As a result, people can make way more money than they can in a traditional salary-based role.
Commission-based roles also create a level of excitement and competitive spirit as each month you typically have a new quota you are trying to reach.
If you are a competitive person, a sales role may be a perfect fit for you as you will come to work each day with a new challenge, compared to a salaried role where your income is set and there is limited upside in what you can earn.
Quality of Life
One of my favorite things about sales is the quality of life that it provides.
Most customers do not want to be called on at all hours of the day, which means that it provides you with greater flexibility than an office job might.
For instance, you may spend your morning on sales calls, have a couple of hours of downtime in the middle of the day where you can go squeeze in a workout, then return to your laptop to finish up emails and plan for the next day in the afternoon.
Customers want people to get back to them in a timely manner and the best salespeople are very responsive.
As long as you are hitting your quota and responding to your customers within the same day, you do have much more flexibility with how you structure your job compared to traditional desk jobs.
Another great thing about a career in sales is that you will meet a ton of people as part of your day-to-day job which will create meaningful professional relationships that can open doors to other opportunities.
In salespeople tend to move around from company to company more than other jobs, so you never know who you will meet on your journey.
Competitors are always on the lookout for top talent so if you are noticed as being a high performer you may get approved by them to come to join your team.
The other value you create with your network is that there is typically a value associated with your network as you get older.
Let’s say you are in technology sales in the New York City area and have been doing it for 10 years.
You likely know all of the key decision-makers, industry trends, and key business drivers and that experience is very valuable.
If you ever decide to leave your company for a competitor, your network is something you can use as part of your negotiation to get a higher salary.
See new places
Most sales roles also involve some element of travel which can allow you to see new places on your employer’s dime.
Depending on the industry you are in your territory may be as small as a city or can cover multiple states.
Things like meals, hotels, rental cars are typically covered by your company which means that you can get to enjoy a new place without spending any of your own money.
Certain industries like Software typically will require traveling to larger metropolitan areas across a big geographical area.
So if you are interested in seeing the country a software sales job may be a good fit for you.
Why does sales pay so well?
Sales pay well because new customers and keeping existing customers are vital to any business’s success.
You can have a great product, but if you have no one out introducing it to new customers then the business will have a tough time having success.
Companies incentivize sales reps to bring in new customers by giving them a compensation structure that aligns them with company goals.
Can you get a sales job without a degree?
Yes, there are plenty of sales jobs that you can get without a degree.
Check out job boards like Indeed.com or Linkedin, and you can filter the job search requirements to only show positions that don’t require a degree.
A degree will open up opportunities to work at larger companies which typically will have a better infrastructure in place to help make selling much easier.
When you work at a big company, you are likely to have a better training program, better products, and better incentive packages so if you can find a way to check the box and get your degree completed it will pay off big time in terms of what you can potentially earn.
How easy is sales?
Sales can be easy if you work for a great company that has unique products with not a ton of competition.
If you are selling a one-of-a-kind product that has a pricing premium and you are lucky enough to represent this type of product, you are likely to have a pretty easy time selling your product.
On the other hand, if you are selling a highly commoditized product that has a ton of competition and pricing pressure, your job will be that much harder.
If you are looking into a sales career, make sure you do extensive research on the products you will be selling and try to talk to potential customers to get feedback.
You can be the greatest salesperson in the world, but if you work for a company that has a horrible reputation and inferior products, it will be difficult to overcome.
How hard is sales?
Sales can be hard in the following situations:
You represent an inferior product
If you are trying to sell a product that has quality issues sales will be extremely difficult.
You want to make sure you are selling a reliable product that has a great reputation.
You have a bad work ethic
You have to be self-motivated to be a good sales rep.
If you don’t take initiative and you aren’t responsive to potential customers you will likely not succeed.
Putting in the work each day is about 50% of what makes a good salesperson.
You are not responsive to customers
Being responsive is very important to becoming a good salesperson.
Most of your customers and potential customers are going to be very busy.
When they show interest in your product, you have a small window of opportunity to capitalize on their interest and move them forward in the buying process.
Being responsive is a great way to impress potential clients and show them you want their business.
Your company has bad customer service
Customer service is key to a companies reputation and brand success.
If you work for a company that bills customers incorrectly, doesn’t handle refunds correctly, or has another customer service headache that is another red flag that will make sales very hard.
You have an unreasonable quota
If you work for a company that has high turnover rates from salespeople that is another reason that sales would make sales much harder than it needs to be.
There are some companies out there that set unreasonable quotas for salespeople so that they are under a constant state of pressure.
The best way to avoid these types of jobs is to ask about the turnover rate in the interview process and ask to speak to a couple of sales reps to get some feedback on how reasonable the quotas are.
Good companies will want to keep good sales reps for many years and will set realistic quotas for them to hit.
Here is a good video that has some additional ideas on what else to consider before a career in sales:
How do you avoid a bad sales job?
The key to avoiding a bad sales job is to do up-front research ahead of time.
Try to speak to several sales reps that work at the company to get feedback and do as much research online as you possibly can.
If you want to go the extra mile, call up customers where you know the product you may sell is being used and ask them what they think about the product or the company’s customer service to get additional feedback.
Why are there so many sales jobs
There are so many sales jobs because sales is a vital part of every business’s growth strategy to bring in new customers.
Most sales roles are focused on trying to attract new customers but there are other sales roles that are account management type roles that are intended to help keep their existing customers happy and serve as their primary point of contact.
Can anyone become good at sales?
If you are personable and have a good work ethic almost anyone can be good at sales.
If you don’t like engaging with people then it may be a bad career for you since sales require good interpersonal skills.
Working hard and being strategic is very important in becoming a good salesperson.
The best salespeople I know are very thoughtful and analytical in how they spend their time and how they target potential customers.
Can you get a degree in sales?
Yes, there are some programs popping up around the country that specialize in sales.
The University of Houston has a sales degree program that teaches students how to sell and can help introduce them to companies that are looking to hire salespeople out of college.
Why is sales a good career summary
Sales is a great career if you are looking for income upside combined with a good quality of life.
While you may change companies in sales roles more frequently than other careers, the pros typically outweigh the cons.
Remember the research you put into a company before you take a sales job is a key factor in determining how successful you can potentially be in a sales career. Find a good company with a good product and reputation and the sky is truly the limit
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