Is a Career in Sales for You?: (5) Criteria for Success


IBM, Kraft, eBay, and AT&T will always have a need for salespeople to promote their product.  As a job hunter have you considered a job in sales?  In this rapidly changing economy is it time to apply for a job as a salesperson?


I don't believe in the myth of a naturally born salesperson.  People are not born to sell; they learn how to sell by trial and error, by rejection, practice and executing a well thought out business plan.  Successful selling takes many years of experience, tenacity and determination to master.


Yet, having a career in sales can be financially lucrative, exciting and allow you to have more control of your career. The negatives are inconsistent income, stress from meeting sales goals and working overtime to close a deal.  Having recruited thousands of sales managers and sales people in technology, real estate and consumer product sectors, I have observed the following skills that are needed to have a successful sales career.


1.  Tenacity. It is essential to becoming a successful salesperson.  Great salespeople are not set back by the word "no". In fact, all of the successful business people I know are not afraid by the word "no".  They, somehow, go beyond the word "no" and change their strategy or tackle a new project or analyze why the person turned them down.  They typically don't blame the other person for the let down nor beat themselves up believing they are failure.  Being turned down is not a failure; in their eyes it truly is an opportunity.


2.  Having a positive attitude in life.  This coincides with the philosophy I am sure you all have heard.  There are no issues in life just opportunities.  These are the words of a total optimist who often seems totally out of touch with reality.  You know the person I am talking about.  He is the one who gets beat up all day on sales calls, the company he works for is bought out and he may be out of a job, a tree just fell on his house barely preserving his wife, and he still  smiles and says, "These things will pass.  You know there's opportunity in these mishaps."  You want to slap him, but I tell you he's right.  There are always opportunities for people to start anew every day and what our attitude is greatly affects us in our lives.


3.  You must have the propensity to welcome change. Our society is quickly evolving, where the skills we mastered years ago are continually challenged, as the competition in all industries has become fiercely competitive.  We live in an international economy where all countries are grooming talented employees who are willing to pay the price for success.  Capitalism has made its way into most countries and the desire for a better life for the people in these countries is at the core of their existence.  The life of an American is what most people aspire to. 


4.  Have the ability to take calculated risks. There will be times you need to take calculated risks to aspire to the next level.  This ascends to all areas' of business whether it be changing jobs, investing in continuing education, joining networking groups, entirely changing careers or moving to another state.


5.  Need patience to learn about what you are selling. Having through knowledge of your product or service is key to a successful career. Nothing beats a salesperson that has command of the product/service they are selling. Know what the pros and con's are of your product.  You must also know what the value added is for the potential customer. 


 The ability to plan for your future and to assess where you are in your life and where you want to be in the next couple years, five years and ten years are imperative, not only as a salesperson, but also in any career.  Just reacting to life will not get you where you want to go. 


Even the best communicators will lose most of the time if they don't know how to satisfy the needs of the customer.  Sustained success will be attained when you develop empathy for a potential client, total knowledge of what you are selling and the value added is for our potential customer.  Is a career in sales for you?


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