A Sales Career is the Best Career There Is

This is an alternative viewpoint to one in a recent article featured in The Wall Street Journal called, The Pay is High and Jobs are Plentiful, but Few Want to Go Into Sales written by Patrick Thomas.

In the article it shared that ZipRecruiter reported more than 700,000 open sales positions around the U.S. and the challenge is in trying to fill those roles. Keep in mind there were massive layoffs in 2020 in hospitality and travel, with a tremendous ripple effect through most every industry which so many open roles today are backfilling from when the Pandemic began.

I’ve contended for years that the profession of sales needs a PR agent. How those early in their business careers still think of used cars and slimy, deceptive deals to represent the sales profession is beyond me. There may be a few sketchy sellers here and there, but the scenes from “Boiler Room” and “Glengarry Glen Ross perpetuate lists of “top sales movies” today.  May I encourage those looking for a good inspiring story to instead watch “The Pursuit of Happyness”?

Professional salespeople are helpers. We are change agents. We turn ideas, products, and services into currency which is the only way a company can survive. There is no place for sleaze, liars, or cheats in this role. Do they show up occasionally? Yep, but that’s true in any role.

This is an industry that no longer requires a college degree, yet if you do well in an entry level sales role you could see a six-figure income within a year in many regions. To be successful in selling, one needs to be coachable with a will to succeed, desire, commitment, motivation, good outlook and taking responsibility. Actual sales skills are simple to teach – if you go to a company with a strong learning and development program. You also need a great sales manager. The combination of your outlook, the opportunity at the company you’ve gone to, and how well your manager coaches you will determine how well you do.

With so many remote positions created when we all went digital, some companies will stay 100% remote. In the past, reps and especially SDRs and BDRs (front line reps) would be required to be in the office to hear the other calls and learn from the more senior folks. That has changed forever. Some companies will go back to a hybrid situation where reps will come in once or twice a week but many will not go back at all. What an opportunity to try a sales role.

My advice is to find a service you believe in, or a product or company you admire and give it two years to learn the fundamentals of professional selling within a successful sales organization. Sales can be a hard role in that you must learn how to deal with rejection. If you are a student of psychology and communication (never easier now thanks to Google) you can learn about being empathetic and a good listener. You can have some quick wins and grow more confident as you go along. Suddenly, you’re knowledgeable and able to help buyers improve their lives or their work. Once you help buyers buy, you feel the reward of being someone in the company who makes things happen. It is an exciting career.

I know that there are hundreds of thousands of potential professional sellers out there – many are not aware of the profession (it’s been a well-kept secret by the men who built it and grew it over the years) and those who get into it typically love it. We need more high school students, community college students, university students and those passing up college to learn about the opportunities and try it out.

Don’t let authors of articles in fancy newspapers sway you. Sales is an admirable profession. Nothing happens in the company until buyers buy your products, services, or ideas.