So maybe you are just joining the workforce or maybe been considering selling as a profession for a while. Or you are an experienced salesperson questioning whether to continue in sales. Let’s look at why people choose selling and what characteristics make a great salesperson. There is the age-old question of whether great salespeople are born or made. The answer is yes to both. Here’s my take on that answer.
My Story. Short Version
I guess I was born to be a salesperson, although my career didn’t start out that way. My mother for a time in her working life owned a children’s shop. My dad both before and after his active duty time in the Army was a road warrior salesman. Me, I got a BS in electrical engineering and a few years later an MBA. I had mostly engineering oriented jobs early in my career. About ten years into my career I was working for an engineering company. And enjoying the engineering kind of work with some customer interaction. I kept looking at the salespeople in the company and saw how much fun they seem to be having. So I made the jump and have been enjoying successful selling ever since.
If you are in sales and not happy or maybe just looking to join a sales team think about what you want to sell. Broadly speaking there are two things to sell. Those that are tangible; the things you can see, touch feel and usually try out before you buy. Then there are the intangibles. Those you have to buy first to experience them. Life insurance. Haircut. Financial advising. You get the idea. Me, I was always a guy selling stuff. The tangible things. Do you want to sell to consumers or to businesses? I found it easier to sell to businesses. Getting people to part with their own money wasn’t my strength. Then consider whether you would rather find and develop new customers. Or just manage existing customers. “Hunters” are engaged in the pursuit of new business. I was a hunter. For me it was more exciting to win the next big deal rather than work at keeping a customer happy year after year. All salespeople have to do both to be successful. But decide whether you are more passionate being a “hunter” or a “gatherer”. Either one can make selling as a profession exciting.
Take A Look At Your Personality
How resilient are you? Nobody wins all the time. Can you bounce back quickly from defeat? Will you learn from your mistakes to improve your performance? Are you a self-starter? Self-motivated? Most selling is done alone. Just you and the buyer. Sure you will have support from your boss and others in the company but most days success is all up to you. Would you enjoy working under those conditions? Do like people? That’s not a silly question. If you aren’t genuinely interested in helping others succeed, you won’t enjoy selling as a profession. Great salespeople know putting the buyer’s interest first leads to success. So if you don’t like working with and understanding people, maybe selling isn’t for you.
Always Be Learning
Those who choose selling as a profession are committed students of their craft. Great salespeople learn from others. But the best learning experiences come from working their craft every day. Study selling skills to improve yourself. Study your customers to become a valuable asset to them. Study the market to be prepared for changes and be ready for them. And work with a coach or mentor to become not only a better salesperson but a better person.
What You Can Do Right Now With Selling As A Profession
- Decide whether selling is right for you
- Determine what it takes to become the best in your profession
- Dedicate yourself to achieving your goals by helping others achieve theirs.