What’s it really like... working in sales?

What’s it really like... working in sales?

Love talking to people? Could you wow them with a new product or service that will make their life better? plotr discovers the truth about careers in sales


Love talking to new people? Are you a good listener? Could you wow someone with a brilliant new product or service you know will make their life better? Do you enjoy haggling and negotiating for the best price you can get? Jobs in sales use all these talents – as well as teaching you key business skills that any future employer will love. So, if you’re a good ‘people person’ this could be a great career to consider. But people can be funny about ‘sales’, thinking it’s all about cold-calling randoms to flog them double glazing (it isn’t!). Here, plotr busts the four biggest myths about working in sales…

MYTH 1: You have to be loud to be a good salesperson

True, sales jobs involve a lot of interacting with people you don’t know. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a loudmouth to be successful. In fact, experts now say that it’s not ‘extraverts’ (loud people) or ‘introverts’ (shy people) who do well in sales roles, but instead ‘ambiverts’ (everyone in the middle). Neither shy nor gregarious, ambiverts have the perfect balance of being happy speaking to people, whilst also being great listeners who stay tuned into their audience. As you need to understand your customer before you can sell them something, listening is a key sales skill. And modern selling isn’t about giving people a hard sell – nobody likes to be ‘sold to’ in an aggressive way.

MYTH 2: Sales means nine-to-five cold-calling

In sales circles, cold calling (ringing random people out of the blue) is considered pretty old school. Thanks to the internet, sales teams can now use much more sophisticated techniques, which actually increase their chances of ‘making a sale’ (persuading someone to buy their product or service). Their colleagues in the marketing department use clever web-based tools to give salespeople access to lists of target companies that are most likely to be interested in what they’re selling. Also, it’s worth remembering that as your career in sales progresses, you’ll find yourself doing less and less phone work. It’s likely you’ll be put in charge of handling fewer – but bigger – accounts with major customers who already buy a lot of products and services from your company, as opposed to making individual sales with new, smaller clients.

MYTH 3: Sales jobs are ‘dead end’ jobs

If you’ve just finished school, college or university, you might be considering taking a sales job while you work out what you want to do next. But sales roles can be so much more than that – and your ‘fill-in’ job might just be the start of a long-term career in sales! As you’ll discover when you start, the job is really varied – and can be brilliant fun. You’ll learn how to find and schmooze new customers, negotiate prices, overcome problems or objections and close deals. And, if you decide sales isn’t for you long-term, you’ll find that many of the skills that you’ve picked up are directly applicable in a broad range of jobs in other industries.

MYTH 4: Sales is all done from India now

You may have heard about companies ‘out-sourcing’ some of their call centre work to far-away countries like India, to keep their costs low. But there are still plenty of phone-based sales and customer service jobs available in the UK. Direct Line Group – the insurance firm that owns the Direct Line, Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege – is currently recruiting young sales and customer services staff to join their teams in Manchester, Doncaster, Leeds, Pudsey (near Leeds), Ipswich, Bristol and Glasgow!

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