We need to talk about sales.
As a recruitment agency, Inspiring Interns has plenty of brilliant graduates walk through its doors every day, but many of them caveat every conversation with ‘so long as it’s not sales…’.
For many graduates, sales is seen as a last resort – something you fall into because you’ve run out of options, telling your friends that it’s just short-term, or making up a strange job title to make it sound like you’re doing something else.
Why? What are the myths of sales, and what’s it really like?
Truth: Sales is a career with longevity
With the increasing fear of automation, many young people are concerned about getting into a career that could become obsolete. But we’ll always need humans to sell because innovation results in new products and services. The World Economic Forum of business leaders identified sales and data analysts as the two roles that will be needed across all sectors and fields by 2020.
The charisma and relationship building skills necessary to be successful in sales can’t be replicated by a robot. There will always be plenty of opportunities if you fall in love with sales.
Persistence, persuasion and resilience are all a huge part of succeeding. They’re skills that you can carry across to almost anything, whether you want to start you own business, move up the career ladder or switch industry altogether. You’ll certainly know how to sell yourself to a potential employer.
Myth: It’s all just cold calling
Once upon a time a lot of sales jobs were about sitting with a directory and ringing everyone from Adam Anderson to Zachariah Zaal. The internet has changed a lot of things, and now all sales teams are able to be highly targeted. You could also be dealing with warm leads and returning customers.
There’s such a huge array of different roles and different ways of working that any job will be a variety of calling, emailing and social selling. As a result, product knowledge and building relationships with people has become much more important. These are skills sought after by employers in almost any organisation.
Truth: You’ll build resilience
Resilience is one of the most important things you’ll learn as a salesperson. No matter how good your product is, you will be rejected from time to time and sales will fall through at the last minute.
However, so long as you see this as an opportunity to learn and not allow it to get to you, you’ll build up resilience that will benefit your career. Resilient people tend to be more ambitious, positive and unafraid of trying.
Myth: You end up peddling rubbish
People don’t like to be sold to. Graduates’ experience may well be people selling them PPI claims, bad mobile phone contracts and injury lawyers.
However, the chances are that you’ll be selling a great product to people who will actually want it due to the targeted nature of search. This is good for your success rate and will help you with rejection.
Truth: You can work in a field that interests you
One of the best things about sales is that almost every single industry requires sales people and so you get to work in an area that you’re passionate about. Getting to sell a product or service in an area you love makes the job much more pleasant and you get to learn and talk about your passion every day.
You can also choose to use the skills and experience you learnt in your degree to work in a relevant field, finding out more about the industry and potentially putting yourself in a position to transfer across into a different area. That’s more than 58.8% of graduates can say!
Thanks for this post to Matt Arnerich of Inspiring Interns – the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency finding graduate jobs in London and graduate jobs in Manchester. For more graduate careers advice, or if you’re looking for an internship, take a look!