“A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing.”
-Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross
I am a salesman. I currently sell a service, not a product, but I’ve been there. Now, I only talk to businesses, not high school kids trying to slang energy drinks. I’ve sold popcorn, cars, jewelry, real estate, insurance, stocks, bonds, and retirement plans. I call myself a “consultant,” even though I’m probably ahead of myself. I am a salesman, and a pretty damn good one at that, and I love it.
I was smart. I had a gift and I learned to enjoy that gift. Do you really think the star athlete only played a sport because his dad wanted him to, or because his dad saw he could actually be something? Did the violinist only practice because her mom made her, or because she had the skill to play Mozart’s “Requiem” drunk? Does the alcoholic only drink because that’s what he’s good at, or is it because he has learned to enjoy it?
I don’t work for a “sales” company, but I work in sales for my company. If you can convince someone to do something sales will always be hiring, but here are the top 5 reasons why a job in sales rocks.
1. You constantly have to be “on.”
2. People hate you…until they hear what you have to say.
If people hate you after your “pitch,” you are not in sales. You are in the career of sending information. Being in sales will hone your techniques to talk to people you have never met before, and convince them you are worth their time. The girl at the bar? Yeah, she’s a prospect for a case of the D, and it’s your job to close that deal. Turning people’s objections into opportunities is the reason sales is even a viable career. The reputation of a salesman is poor, but the relationships with salesmen are great.
3. Commission is great….eventually.
Sales is all about how hard you work. You could sit at your desk and play Pandemic 2 all day, or you could bust ass trying to find qualified prospects. Since sales is all commissions, the more work you do is directly related to how much money you make. Instead of being an IT guy who makes a fixed salary no matter how many hours he works, I can work as much or little as I want and get paid accordingly. This is the #1 reason why so many entrepreneurs come from the sales field. I can agree that some products and services sell faster than others, but those products and services usually don’t pay as high as the ones that take longer to sell. Everything (including wait time) is rewarded in sales.
4. Your value depends on you.
Some salesmen are not worth the phone or desk they sit at. Some are irreplaceable. The value you bring to the company is completely up to you. If you are able to perform well, then the company will recognize the money coming in the door and understand your value. If you under perform, then your value goes down. Take home pay and value to the company are 100% related. The more valuable the more you get paid. Unlike the IT guy who may have prevented the biggest Trojan virus ever, but he is still taking home $60k no matter what.
5. You could have done this years ago.
Just like the pro athlete, famous musician, or functioning alcoholic, you start young. I was able to pay for most of my schooling through sales. I was able to buy my first house before I was 20 through sales. The ability to persuade people to do the things I wanted them to do has been working for me since I was 10. When you have a gift, you have a gift. Use it or lose it.
I got lucky. I have a passion for what I am doing, and I’m good at it. I could be a telemarketer, work retail, or not even have a job at all. I’ve been in all of those situations before. Sometimes you fall into the sewer and land on a bed of roses.
A career in sales takes a certain type of person. People say it takes someone who is personable, aggressive, charming, assertive, direct, and even good looking (very good looking), but those are just how you get in the door. You stay because you can take almost constant and creative rejections, don’t mind “pledging” a company for a good while before you start to profit, ignore the regret brought on by knowing that nothing you studied led you to this point, and have no problem with being fake at most hours of the day (or all the time? I’m slowing becoming my fake personality more than my real personality).
I could make the proverbial sale of sand to an Arab (I’m more of a warm weather kinda guy). After all, I’m a salesman, and I’m on my way up.