February 26, 2019 Last updated February 24th, 2019 459 Reads share

Securing a Career in Sales

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Securing a sales job can be difficult. It’s true that salespeople have an innate ability to sell a product, but some actually may have an issue selling themselves to a potential employer. After all, in many cases, you’re selling yourself to someone who likely has a more accomplished sales history than yourself. If you factor that into the stress of not having a job or coveting a new position, there’s a chance that the prospective interviewee may be thrown off their mark.

To alleviate that, here are a few easy tips to keep in mind if you’re looking to secure a sales job. These common sense examples should go a long way in landing the job – whether or not you have a lot of experience for these positions or you’re just starting out in the industry.

1. Find the Right Job

They say one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure. This is true in sales. While there are millions of people who find some sales jobs tolerable, there are others who are truly passionate about the work. While we would all love to sell all the products and services that we are truly passionate about, it’s important to understand that it isn’t always possible. As such, it’s important to strike a balance between tolerable and exemplary.

However, what makes a sales job isn’t just the core job itself. It’s worthwhile for you to examine some of the other benefits. For some, this could mean environment, flexibility, travel, as well as compensation. These all should factor in and will put you in a better mindset for the interview.

2. Critically Examine Your Resume

Hiring managers see a lot of interviews and sales managers looking to employ the right person generally examine them with a fine tooth and comb. Salespeople are much more inclined to look at stats and performance metrics. If you have this information, please be sure to extrapolate, as it means more than what many would consider. Many managers would be willing to forgive other deficiencies if there’s a solid sales record.

In addition to this, all of the common resume tropes apply. Be sure that you’re telling the truth, be willing to explain gaps of employment. Also, do not oversell your skills even though you may have that inclination. Lastly, be sure that there aren’t any spelling or grammatical mistakes; presentation generally matters more in sales than in most industries.

3. Know More

Your job is to essentially know the product you’re selling inside and out. Not only does it convey that you’re interested in the job that you’re interviewing for, but it also shows that – if hired – you’ll be able to perform the most critical action in sales.

Sure, it’s not always feasible to be able to differentiate every single product, as many companies have a plethora, you should be able to have a passing conversation about most that they sell.

Sure, the interviewer may throw a curve-ball that you may not hit out of the park. Still, it’s in your best interest to not whiff on it completely.

The best tip here is to actually independently contact the sales department. Be upfront about why you’re calling them and pick their brain. Generally, they may not have an issue with you understanding how they sell, training, and the inherent challenges they face in working with the company.

4. Be Inquisitive

Understanding the hiring needs and concerns should always be at the forefront of the company. Not only does it make you more knowledgeable, but the unintended benefit is also in showing the interviewer that you can and will fulfill those needs. Of course, this also gives you some ammunition and a leg up through going through the sales process at the time of interview and allows you to pivot into exactly how you’ve solved and identified a similar problem in the past. Lastly, it reinforces in your head that you can be a very valuable asset to the company, leading back to the first point.

5. Talk About the Numbers

If you’ve had a great sales record in the past, it’s important to bring that up in the interview. If possible, this should be your primary focus. The company brought the interviewee in to make money for them, and as such, you should present them with exactly why you will do that to them.

Most salespeople don’t have an issue with talking about themselves, but if you do, don’t be afraid to brag and tell them almost exactly the dollar amount you’ve brought your previous employer. Most importantly, explain to them exactly how you closed the deal.

In the event that you haven’t had a previous sales job, stick to your personal achievements and how those could correlate to success.

Landing a sales job can quite possibly be the most rewarding thing in your life. It’s one filled with challenges, an albeit stressful but fulfilling work environment, and can usually lead to financial freedom. That said, securing that sales job didn’t difficult if you just stick to the sales process. In fact, it’s more about knowing how the industry works and how to show your understanding of the common practices to the hiring manager, as this is generally what they’re separating the wheat from the chaff.

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Erik Larson

Erik Larson

Erik is a master’s level career counselor with a specialization in sales and marketing. He is internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International and have been recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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