Sales has been a way of life for me since I was a boy. I was raised in a small family business and thanks to both of my later parents I was exposed to the world of sales. You may say I was raised to be in sales and for that I am really grateful.
For everyone needs sales to survive. Without sales, there are no transactions, without transactions there is no revenue, without revenue organizations would not exist, and no one would have a job. So the world revolves around sales.
But the strengths and strategies gained by working in sales are also valuable grounding “as fundamental to any role as putting air in tires,” as a commenter in Why Sales is the Best First Job put it. The article, written by Entrepreneur of the Year Winner Somen Mondal and recently published on LinkedIn, drew close to 8,000 likes and more than 500 favourable comments.
The author’s supporting reasons were:
- Sales is everywhere. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, there’s always some aspect of selling involved
- Speaking ability. There is no other profession that allows you to continually practice and get better at speaking and connecting to people.
- Confidence. Gaining experience in sales— talking to perfect strangers and turning them into your customers and even friends— definitely increased my confidence.
I agree with all of the above. Don’t you?
We all have the need and challenge to sell something to someone, whether it is a product (to potential buyers), a plan or direction (to shareholders), or yourself and your ideas (as a job candidate).
People “buy” people first, particularly people they trust and like. Sales today is about relationships, relationships you build with clear communications, engaging buyers into conversation to build rapport or trust and then qualify them and prescribe solutions. These competencies—especially effective listening, clear communicating and problem solving—are valuable across all aspects of life.
Sales also builds confidence and resilience against rejection, an element in all human interaction. In sales, as in life, you have to fail to succeed. If you don’t try, you’ll neither fail nor succeed. The fear I had of public speaking in my early 20s could have set me back forever. But with coaching, I developed enough self-confidence to finally give it a try. And the audience applauded. I got on stage again the next day and spoke in front of another group of people. I got my first standing ovation. That was enough to give me the confidence to keep going and to accomplish my dream of becoming a professional speaker and a mass-volume salesperson.
As a certified sales professional, I am proud of my profession and believe, like the author of the LinkedIn article, that the strengths and strategies gained by working in sales are valuable grounding for any job.