7 Tips to Beginning a Career in Sales

How to write a sales job description

There are 22 million sales professionals working in the U.S. alone. That’s a lot of competition for someone just starting out. If you’re trying to launch a career in sales, here are seven tips to help you get started:

  1. Close the sale

    Look at your cover letter and interview as your first big sale. Hiring managers are going to look for candidates who know how to close a sale. Even if you are just starting a career in sales and have no experience, proving you can close a deal better than the next guy will be the difference between an offer and no call back. In fact, experience often isn’t what hiring managers look for first.
  2. Focus on what matters

    Instead of dwelling on a lack of experience, focus on showing you have what it takes to be an outstanding sales rep. Sales is a social business at heart. Superb communication is essential to being a successful salesperson. What better place to show off your verbal and written communication skills than in a stunning cover letter and interview?

    Another important skill for sales people many new to a career in sales aren’t aware of is research. Sales professionals need to have exceptional research skills to help them learn about their prospects and understand how the product or service they’re selling will fulfill their prospects’ needs.
  3. Broaden your approach

    If you truly feel a lack of experience has kept you from landing sales jobs in the past, it could be that you’re looking at the wrong types of sales jobs. Try focusing on ones at larger companies where you’ll be working alongside a team of experienced professionals who can provide on-the-job training and mentoring. Hiring managers are more likely to be lax on experience when seeking to fill such positions.
  4. Leverage your expertise

    You may not have experience selling a product or service, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have applicable experience that could help you sell it in the future. If you’ve worked with in another aspect of an industry already, consider looking there first to start a career in sales. Similarly, if you have a driving passion for a certain product, look for sales jobs that will put you behind it as a salesperson. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will come across in your interview and cover letter and help you be a better sales person.
  5. Don’t give up

    We’ll say it again: don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up. Persistence is one of the most important characteristics in a salesperson. Shockingly, 44% of salespeople drop a lead after receiving the first no. Don’t be like them. Rejection is part of the business; you have to be able to take it well and keep rolling but you don’t have to take it lying down. If you find a job you simply must have, go after it with everything you’ve got. Even if you don’t land it, at least you’ll know you did everything you could.
  6. Ask for help

    Remember what we said about sales being a social business? That goes for both before and after you start a career in sales. When it comes to job hunting, embrace the art of networking. Sales recruitment agencies are a great place to look for help landing a job as a sales professional. Sales recruiters help match applicants with companies and will be there for you from beginning to end. Some even offer continuing support through management and training services.
  7. Choose wisely

    Before you accept any job offers, make sure you give careful consideration to what this job will mean to your career. Especially if you’re just starting a career in sales, it can be vital to your future success that you get a first job at a firm that’s willing to invest in giving you the training you deserve. Look for an employer who can support you from the outset and will continue to support you as you advance in your career.

If you’re considering a career in sales, you’re already on the right track to a lucrative and satisfying career. There is almost nowhere you can’t go with a career in sales. The trick is landing that first job. But with these seven tips, you’ll be on your way up the ladder in no time.

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Sarah Todd

Sarah Todd

Sarah Todd, an investment banker, is a reporter and researcher for one of London’s leading media outlets. Formerly a trader and market maker at FTSE, she turned to media during the global recession. This website features some of her best and favourite articles, from all parts of the business world. Please let her guide you and your enterprise along the path to prosperity.