Working in the world of sales is so much more than just a job. It’s also the opportunity to develop on a personal level and experience business first-hand. It’s thrilling. And it requires passion.
The stereotyped image of the superficial, smooth-talking salesman has little bearing on current reality. The benefits are numerous, from the sense of challenge and the development of negotiation skills, to the chance to learn from the many people you meet. Here’s why:
1 Meet – and learn from – incredible people. The opportunity to meet new people every day opens your mind and makes you more adaptable. You get to travel, introduce yourself to contacts in other markets, and sell to people you never thought would be interested in your service… These interactions widen your horizons, sharpen your communication skills and help you give feedback to other departments for adjusting your product if necessary.
2 Find the right balance between personal and professional. Dealing with a wide range of people on different levels teaches you to be a good salesperson. It also encourages a friendly, approachable attitude. Excellence is not synonymous with seriousness. Invite your customer to play squash, or have a bite to eat together after the meeting and ask how everything’s going. Or send a personalised card on a significant date.
Enjoy the company of the people you do business with and make them feel important. You’ll gain their trust long-term and, who knows, maybe even their friendship.
3 Negotiate better, every time. Once on the sales track, you’ll start to optimise your efforts to close a sale – with great results. Being persistent, recognising different types of rejection according to your target’s interests, analysing how they evaluate your quotes, and observing their reaction when you talk about your product… all this helps improve your sales pitch.
Looking back on your early career as a salesperson, you probably smile at how inexperienced you were. We’ve all been there. The great thing about a career in sales is that you gain in self-confidence, and speak in a much more direct and influential way. And above all, you’re a brilliant listener.
4 Toughen up thanks to inevitable refusals. This may sound a little harsh. But closed doors are part of a salesperson’s job. In life in general, it’s important to accept ‘no’ as an answer. It’s even a useful opportunity to regroup, wait for your prospect to mature, move away from the projects or people that are blocking you, and know your own value. When someone decides to buy your product or service, dozens of potential clients will have been left along the way. But you learn from these experiences, and grow – personally and professionally – by surmounting them.
5 Rise to fresh challenges – continually. Shaking hands on a deal with a new customer is just the beginning. Yes, closing a sale is incredibly gratifying, but it’s not the culmination of your mission as a salesperson. You still have to search for new prospects, and surprise current customers with personalised offerings, unique products, and loyalty rewards that are different from the competition. Sales teams are actively thinking on a daily basis about where they can find key customers, and how they can keep them.
6 Practice self-discipline and persistence to be a model of sales efficiency. Finding new ways of filling your client portfolio, seeing refusals as opportunities to improve, and learning from all those around you will make you a model sales professional. And determination, self-discipline and motivation will give you all the efficiency you need for excellent sales management.
Do any of these benefits correspond to your own reasons for working in sales? If you have any anecdotes to recount or want to share your opinion, feel free do so in the comments below.