When I tell people I work in higher education, people often have follow-up questions: Do I teach? What department I am in? What do I do? The same goes for when people meet my husband; he is a farmer and there are always questions about his crop and discussions about the weather. Sometimes my parents’ occupations come up in conversation too, and when I state they were in sales, the opposite occurs. There is no follow-up whatsoever. It’s as if there is a taboo around the industry, or that I’ve said an inappropriate four-letter word. And this mindset is so off base, it is disheartening.
Sales jobs are multifaceted and in numerous industries. They offer one of the best levels of training, for a multitude of jobs and careers. One could even say that I incorporate sales techniques and skills when interacting with departments on campus asking them to refer students to the career center, promoting events, or sharing an accomplishment. My first job as a professional was as a hall director because I wanted a job that was more generalist in nature; in the four years I held the role, I worked on tasks and projects related to public speaking, leadership, supervision, project management, conduct, law, maintenance, counseling, and presenting. This wide array of opportunities set me up for success as I took the breadth of knowledge I gained and narrowed it down to focus on depth within the career services realm. The same type of thinking can be applied to sales positions, regardless of the industry or product being sold.
I recall talking to an employer from an insurance company, who indicated that their entry-level sales roles set employees up for success in just about any job in any field, as they taught and reinforced skills that were applicable to multiple industries. Communication is always a top attribute sought by employers and working in sales provides ample opportunity to speak, listen, write, persuade, and instruct, as well as provides insight into reading body language and developing or enhancing interpersonal skills. Some of the best salespeople I know are not the ones who push their product by touting all of the features; rather, they listen to what the client needs and then tailor their approach, so it is more of a conversation.
To read more about sales jobs and learn the lingo, check out these sites. Sales allow you to work with new people, existing clients, businesses, and individuals. It is not all cold calling or persuading someone to buy an item they really don’t need. It is a way to challenge yourself and grow as a person, setting you up for success, often financially. There is truly a world of opportunity awaiting you.
Common Sales Terms – Learn Hub
All the Different Types of Sales Jobs – Indeed.com
10 Sales Pitch Examples – Hubspot
Sales Professional Organizations and Associations – jobstars