A Sales Career. Don’t read if you are easily offended.

I have a lot of people ask me about my career and why I don’t think I would ever pursue any other option.

Let me back track.  My senior year of undergrad I had a professor that asked the entire class one question on the first day, “Who wants a career in sales after college?”

Legit one person raised their hand, & it wasn’t me.  At the time, sales seemed like the one thing I would do ONLY if there was literally nothing else.  I didn’t think very highly of sales people and thought that it was a career that people either 1). Thought was shady or 2). Was for people that sucked at regular “business” jobs.  Boy, was I dead wrong….

I was recruited into my first sales job months after graduating & while I wasn’t exactly thrilled, everything else I had pursued just didn’t seem like a good fit. Now let me tell you, sales is a HARD gig. I struggled BIG time and realized quickly that I was way in over my head.  Something cool started to happen though.  I kept meeting people in the industry that I admired and looked up to.  They were rock stars.  They could sell a piece of trash to anyone and do it flawlessly.  Here’s the thing about sales, it’s a skill.  The greatest sales people know how to create a need for a product that can solve a problem. It’s not something shady.  In a lot of ways, it’s no different than general marketing and the commercials/ads you see on a DAILY basis.

So there I was, pretty unsure about HOW to do the gig, but I saw the opportunity and knew I needed to figure it out.  There is no manual on how to be successful in sales.  Sure there are books and podcasts that “Give you the secret to success” but those will only get you so far.  True skill comes from repetition and finding what your sales style is.  Sales people aren’t all the same.  In fact we are all pretty different, but we all share the same “motor”.  We run hard, and we run fast.  The most successful sales people just run better than anyone else because they have been doing it and know HOW to.

So here’s what you SHOULD know about a career in sales.  Let’s get detailed on the finances and the real opportunity.  Outside of the regular benefits of any job with a major company, a career in sales can be an extremely lucrative gig.  I’m talking 6 figures type lucrative.  If you are in sales and performing well but NOT making 6 figures, here’s the bad news.  You are selling yourself short financially.  Any solid sales gig should have an easy 6 figure opportunity for performing at quota.  This isn’t even considering the top percentile of reps.  I am talking bare bones, meeting your quota.  The ante to play is what I like to call it.  If you can’t hit 6 figures hitting your quota, you really need to consider switching gigs.

The opportunity to earn is absolutely limitless with certain opportunities.  Find a sales gig that doesn’t put a cap on commissions.  That is the best route to go.  You can sell the crap out of the product and make all the money you want in the world.  The reward for being in sales financially is one, that once you experience it, you can’t fathom doing anything else. I like my commission checks FAT.  I do the hard things for those FAT checks because at this point in my life, it is worth it.

The last thing you should know about sales is this, it’s not for the weak minded.  Any true sales gig is a grind.  Certain parts can get easier through time but it’s not a walk in the park.  You need to have tough skin. Especially as a female.  Now, hold your panties for a second, I am not getting political here, I am just telling you the reality of successful females in the sales world.  If you think everything you read next is from a political standpoint, hate to break this to you, but you are part of the problem. So let’s continue.  Women in business and sales. For one, there are a LOT of us.  I have outperformed a LOT of men in my field and when your gender is sometimes looked at as “second in line” it feels damn good to be at the top.  There is a stigma in the business world with females that is quickly being stomped out.  We are coming full force to win, and we are coming for our spot on the leader board.  I’ve been in situations where because of my gender I wasn’t even considered for opportunities.  Yet, I was the TOP performer. It’s laughable really, shame on those companies that don’t realize the damage that does to their OWN reputation.  Mad props though for the struggle because it has allowed me the opportunity to work harder and continue to outrank some of my male counterparts. J Females in sales are a force to be reckoned with.

To sum it all up, you have to be ok with doing the hard stuff.  You have to go out when everyone else wants to stay in. You stay up late to be prepared.  You remain persistent but professional.  There is a statistic that says it takes 10 no’s to get 1 yes.  You have to understand that and take a no as a “not yet.”

  • If you shy way after being rejected once, sales isn’t for you.
  • If you don’t like FAT checks, sales isn’t for you.
  • If you’re not competitive, sales isn’t for you.
  • If you hate failure, sales isn’t for you.
  • If you don’t like recognition, sales isn’t for you.

& finally, if you aren’t willing to do the hard stuff, then sales isn’t for you.

Do the hard stuff, make the money, gain the recognition, and find a career that allows you to develop and showcase your skills.  If I could go back and tell my college self in that class what sales really was, I wouldn’t have raised my hand that day, I would have stood up and said it out loud.

Happy selling,

Kate

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