In my sales career, my title started out as sales associate. After years of hard work and success, I had worked my way up the vice president of sales for a computer peripheral and supplies company. All told, my sales experience adds up to approximately 20 total years.
As a sales professional, my job was to turn opportunities into revenue. My work consisted of networking with people who may need my products and finding a way to get in front of those people with a sales presentation. I was also responsible for talking to the existing customers of the company and selling products to clients that had made direct contact with the organization.
The one misconception about sales that people need to change is that sales people are pushy and will sell you products whether the customer needs them or not. A good sales professional identifies a need and then tries to fill that need. If the customer does not have a need, then there will be no sale.
Sales is a profession that I got a great deal of satisfaction from. If I had to rate my job satisfaction on a scale of one to 10, I would definitely give it a 10. A true sales professional always sees the potential in every situation. If you cannot unlock your own potential, then you are in the wrong profession.
Sales is my calling. I look at sales as my chance to help people. I never had the stomach to be a doctor and I don't have the patience to be a lawyer. So I use sales as my way of reaching out to people that need something, and I solve that need. When I am closing a sale, there is a professional satisfaction I get for several reasons. One reason is that I am helping another client solve a problem. The other reason is that it brings me and my company revenue so that the company can stay in business and I can continue to sell.
I have a photographic memory, so I am able to retain information that other people cannot. Does it help to have a photographic memory when working in sales? It can, because it allows you to remember product details and client needs much easier.
I worked my way up from an associate to a vice president of sales based solely on my enthusiasm and hard work. Sales is the one profession that truly does reward hard work. If you put yourself into what you do and you sell a lot of product, you will get rewarded.
My desire to sell started when I was very young. I would watch Sunday afternoon television and see the insurance sales commercials with the men in business suits solving people's problems and I knew that I wanted to sell. The only question I could not answer for the longest time was what kind of product I wanted to sell. I did try selling insurance for a little while, but computers and technology just drew me in after a while. The only thing I would have done differently is taken some computer science courses in college so that I could develop a more comprehensive understanding of the technology.
One of the things I learned very early about sales is that you cannot fool customers. Either you know what you are doing, or you do not. It was a very embarrassing event that led me to this realization, and it was an event that almost caused me to quit sales. I was giving one of my earliest sales presentations to a business owner that was looking to buy one of our computer networks. I did the bare minimum of work on my presentation because I felt that my product knowledge would carry me through. From the very beginning, the client could tell that the presentation was not well-prepared and that I did not know my product like I should have. He asked questions I could not answer and left the meeting after only a few minutes. I left the customer's office and took a long lunch. I decided that I was going to take my career seriously and start putting the necessary effort into my presentations. From there, I was able to forge a successful sales career, but I never had the chance to try and sell to that client every again as he would not take my calls after our first meeting.
When you work in sales, you learn quickly that experience is extremely important. You have to fail a few times before you can succeed. The experience you get in the sales field is unlike anything you learn in school.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me as a sales professional is when I showed up to a client's location and he told me that he was ready to buy without seeing a presentation. He said that he was familiar with our product, familiar with our company and had heard that I was a reputable sales professional. It was a strange feeling because I thought he was putting me on. But he was serious, and he remained a good customer for many years.
I get up and go to work each day to get that feeling I get when I close the sale. The work done leading up to the sale is exciting to me, and the sale itself is the ultimate pay-off. It all came together in my proudest moment when I was named vice president of sales. I had a significant feeling of accomplishment that day.
The only real challenges I face are clients that have incorrect information about our product and do not want to listen to the truth. It can make you crazy, but it is something you have to let go. Generally, I find sales to be more exciting than stressful. I love giving presentations and talking with customers. When you love your job, it is much easier to maintain a healthy balance between work and home.
In sales, you get paid what you earn. I have had years where I made between $80,000 and $100,000. Then I have also had years where I earned $30,000. It is the highest paying hard work you could ever get.
I always made it a point to take two weeks of vacation every year. That is enough to charge the batteries and make me want to get back out and sell.
Successful sales professionals usually have an MBA in business. Some have degrees in accounting or finance as well. It also helps to have a strong educational background in the product you are selling as well.
I have helped dozens of friends and family members find rewarding careers in sales. I would encourage anyone to investigate a career in sales if they want a job where they can help others and get paid pretty well doing it.
I reached what I would consider to be the pinnacle of my sales career. I wrote my own ticket and got to where I wanted to go.