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The Worst Background for a Sales Person

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 29 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Sales Background Sales Jobs Selling

Being a great sales person is more to do with having the right character, rather than the right background.

Recruitment consultants may disagree – after all, they will not make their commission on candidates that do not have any relevant experience – but if you ask the boss of a sales organisation whether they would prefer to recruit someone with three years experience or someone who is a natural born salesman, you can guess the answer.

Why do you think there has been a classic career path of ‘barrow boys’ from the markets of the East End of London going to work in the City? After all, if investment banking and financial trading is not selling, what is it?

Can You Prepare Better?

So, the question we are really asking is what types of jobs could you have done to prepare you for a role as a great sales person? Ultimately, if you are a natural sales person, you will already know, so what we are talking about it what you can do to promote yourself as a sales person if you are perhaps not.

The worst background for a sales person is someone who cannot bare to tell people what to do, hates to manipulate people in any way and would rather not having anything to do with targets. If you have only ever worked in jobs where you are able to plod along without really achieving any set targets, or if you are able to just hide in the background, then sales is unlikely to be the best career path for you.

You Could Be a Great Sales Person Without Knowing It!

Think about what you love to do – you may surprise yourself. If you love talking to and helping people, maybe sales is right for you if you find the right product or service to sell. Even if you hate target driven work, it may be that you don’t notice it because you are so great. Some people are good at selling even if they don’t know it – think of a really excellent travel agent that is so well travelled they advise customers on the back on their own knowledge. You can see that they could it their sales targets simply because they are informed and good at their job, rather than because they are determined to hit their targets.

What Do You Believe In?

Really what we are saying is that there is no bad background for working in sales – most people can sell what they really believe in – but what there is the wrong type of sales for you. Sales jobs vary greatly – some people could sell ice to Eskimos and they’re able to get excited by targets, others can only tell people what they truly think and end up making sales because their customers trust them.

You will be a very unhappy bunny if you chose the wrong sales path – it can be a very disheartening business that makes you question your skills and ability. What you need to do before you disregard sales as a career choice is think about whether there is a particularly product or service that you believe in.

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