7 Things You Don’t Want To Hear About Sales
You should be in sales.
Unless you have a calling as a doctor, lawyer, pastor, astronaut, engineer, artist, or some other highly specialized profession…then go do that.
If that’s you, by the way, you’re amazing. Chase every professional dream, write books, perform on Broadway, discover cures, and don’t let anybody stand in your way. The world needs you.
For the rest of us that are not as crystal clear on why we’re on this earth – for those of us whose dreams revolve around things like three (and four and five) day weekends, spending time on the slopes or beach, flying to far away places on someone else’s dime, eating foods that we can’t pronounce in restaurants that look like the ones we see in movies, what do we do for a career?
By the way, I don’t mean some day. Stick with me till the end and I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to start developing these sales muscles now.
Are you the most, “I hate salespeople, would never WANT to sell stuff, and never COULD sell stuff,” type of person (like I was as a high school student)? Then my goal is to make you raise at least one eyebrow and reconsider.
Spoiler alert: I’m about to sell you on selling.
Here we go.
1. Contrary to what you’ve been told, sales IS NOT lying, high-pressure, bugging people, or constant bouts of awkwardness.
In fact, if that’s how you sell, you’re terrible at selling. It’s unfortunate that many people (like, um, your mom and dad) have a negative perception of the entire industry based on a single terrible experience they may have had in the past.
In my experience, an innocent “Mom, I’m going to try my hand at sales,” will often times be met with eye-rolls (at best) or, “You’ll never sell anything, get a real job,” (at worst). Keep in mind, however, that every product or service on this planet (one way or another) must be sold.
2. Because being great at sales simply means being a great communicator, and communication touches everything.
Do you want to:
- Tell better jokes in a crowd? Become a great communicator.
- Want to speak with more confidence to your crush? Become a great communicator.
- Be a better friend? Listen more (which is a secret hallmark of a great communicator)
- Want to be a more vocal team leader or more respected captain? Become a great communicator.
Want to get better grades, impress adults, interview better, and crush every presentation you’ll ever do for the rest of your life? Become a great communicator.
Unfortunately most students experience something called illusory superiority, where they think they’re much better at things than they are.
Hey, don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one to overestimates your abilities:
- 94% of college professors rated themselves as being superior to their peers. [Source]
- 93% of Americans put themselves in the top 50% of driving ability. [Source]
- And Kanye West thinks he’s “God’s vessel. My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.” [Sigh. Source]
While sales isn’t the only avenue available to become a great communicator, it’s certainly a fantastic place to learn. Nothing will validate your communication skills like making a sale to an appreciative customer.
3. Become a better shopper. Offline AND Online.
Sounds like a weird one, right? When somebody knows how to sell, they become acutely aware of when they’re being sold. (Most sales people won’t tell you they are selling to you.)
Knowing how to sell will change your life when you go to clothing stores. It will ensure that you tip properly when you go out to eat. Heck, it’ll even make you a smarter shopper when you’re on Amazon!
4. Sales is a springboard to ROCK your career path (even if you have no idea what that will turn out to be).
Sales is considered a wonderful proving ground for any profession. No matter what career path you follow, it’s helpful to know how to negotiate, communicate, manage your time, and a slew of other things you learn through selling.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and popular entrepreneur from Shark Tank:
- i sold magazines door to door when i was in high school. Everything I learned about selling, I learned going door to door.
- "you mean to tell me that when you tell your husband that you just spent $2 a week on the education and enjoyment of your family and children he wont be positively thrilled ?"..
- I learned to put myself in the shoes of the person im selling to and to think on my feet and quickly respond to objections. No different selling Scholastic Magazine or million dollar software or advertising deals
The above paragraph was typed by Mark (unedited) on Quora.
Notice that Mark capitalizes and punctuates however the heck Mark wants. When you’re THAT good, you can get away with it.
Until then, learn to sell. And spell, and punctuate.
#5. Earn a DUMP TRUCK full of Money
Don’t you hate doing group projects where the lazy and irresponsible profit from your extra-mile work?
If you’re somebody who (1) consistently outworks your peers, only to receive the same grade or (2) only tries their hardest when there’s reason to do so, then listen up.
In established sales companies, you get paid twice.
- A base-pay, which provides stability and keeps you from pressuring people.
- And an incentive (called commission) so you do your best work.
People believe that all sales are commission only, but that’s not true. Some are, but most provide both a floor to stand on and a high ceiling on potential income. High. I’m talking six-figures. (soure)
I should also mention that the average starting salary for all college grads (not just those in sales) is $48,707. (source)
If you want to be one of the people who drastically bring up the average when you graduate from college, then get a head-start by learning a lucratively paying skill now.
And on that note…
6. Experience quality of life.
Money doesn’t equal happiness. Quality of life equals happiness. Quality of life is the ability to do what you want, when you want.
It’s flexibility. It’s having the time to pursue the half-dozen other interests you have as a young, healthy, well-paid adult. Weekend trip to New Orleans, just because? Golf, tennis, jet-skiing, rock-climbing or whatever in the middle of a weekday?
THAT is quality of life. And no, it’s not possible with every job out there.
Ultimately, sales is a profession where you get to architect your own life any way that you want. And the better you get, the better it gets.
Check out this young man’s story…
#7. And the BEST reason? ANYBODY can do it.
People think that sales is a position reserved for the extremely outgoing.
“Ok, I don’t have to lie to be successful. But I’m fairly introverted and wouldn’t be able to talk all day, non-stop.”
A recent study from UPenn’s Wharton school has now proven that the two personality extremes (shy and outgoing) can sell equally well. Translation: anybody can do it.
However, it has also proven that there’s a new personality ideal that none of us in the industry ever realized before: NOT the extrovert, NOT the introvert, but the ambivert (the what??). That is, the personality that has a little bit of each. This is personality that can talk AND listen. The personality that isn’t extreme in either direction. It’s the personality that is most common in the general population.
So if you’re somebody who’d rather have a two-way conversation than merely listen to yourself talk (ugh, does ANYBODY like that person?) then congratulations.
You have what it takes to be wildly successful in sales.
PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT. LEARN BY DOING.
It’s worth doing, anybody can do it, and everybody SHOULD do it. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that sales, communication, and other such skills can only be learned through the repetition of doing it.
It’s like swimming (or any other sport, really). You can read about it all day, watch YouTube videos of the perfect stroke, but at the end-of-the-day, the only way to get good is time in the water.
So what are some options to set yourself apart from your peers in this all-important arena?
- Join DECA. And take it seriously. There aren’t too many things you can do in high school that could change the trajectory of your life forever. But competing with DECA is one of them.
- Get part time work in sales. Your number one criteria for this should be the amount of training, coaching, and mentorship you will receive on the position. There aren’t too many part time positions you can have as a student that could change the trajectory of your life forever. But selling CUTCO knives is one of them.
- Learn as much as possible. Learning won’t change the trajectory of your life (as it’s not really “doing,” which I just said is the only way to get good). But if you’re not ready to jump-in quite yet, don’t have the time in your schedule at this moment, or just want to learn more about this all-important world of sales? Then visit BrokeStudentMyth.com and sign-up for our free email list to hear LOTS MORE on this topic.
You will be surrounded by sales people your whole life. And you’ll be selling your whole life: your candidacy to future bosses, your ideas to your colleagues, and yourself to your future spouse. You’re still young. And you still have the ability to affect your future in massively exciting ways.
And so I leave you with this question…
What are you doing with your life today that is going to give you every advantage for your future?
Follow Vector on Twitter @VectorMarketing.