Sales careers offer real opportunities for career advancement. Sales can be a smart choice for those entering the workforce, because the nature of the job makes sales a natural growth industry.
As products and services change and evolve, people who want to sell them must learn how to do so in new ways. Career advancement depends on an individual’s success in selling these products and services, not on a company’s decision to promote or fire employees.
Titles may include sales representative, sales executive, sales manager, account executive, account manager, or business developer. Sales positions are found in many different industries and companies that produce goods or provide services. Some sales people work full time out of an office while others travel and make sales calls as consultants or contractors. Salespeople may also be referred to as reps, canvassers, or agents. Each industry has its own unique titles and functions.
Sales careers may not be as glamorous as many other professions, but they offer a number of advantages. Salespeople enjoy a high degree of independence and flexibility in their jobs. They are also in control of their earnings potential, and can see how well they are doing by tracking the number of sales they make.
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Tasks for sales professionals vary according to the company or industry in which they work. Sales representatives may work on commission, receive a basic salary, or a combination of both. They must have excellent communication skills, whether speaking with customers over the phone or meeting them face to face. Excellent listening skills are also essential, especially when sales people are working with clients who are experienced in their field and know more than they do about their product or service.
Sales careers often begin with an entry-level position as an inside sales representative or customer service representative. Entry-level positions generally do not require previous experience in the field and offer training and mentoring by senior members of staff. As sales people learn more about their product and improve their skills, they can gain promotions to become managers and eventually supervisors or regional directors within the company.
TIP: No matter what your interests, consider the many different types of sales careers that might be best for you. If you enjoy face-to-face interaction with potential customers, try a retail sales career – you can work in clothing stores, grocery stores, or department stores. If you prefer outbound situations where you don’t have to deal with customers daily, consider a career in insurance sales or a call centre opportunity. Or if you love working outdoors and making money while doing it, look into sales careers revolving around agriculture or landscaping. And if you have strong organizational skills and like helping others understand their options before they make a decision, try an administrative sales career where you can do that on a daily basis. No matter what your interests or goals are, think about how they align with the various types of sales careers available to you!