Career in Sales

Long-Term Growth in Sales? Possible. Here's Why & How

Ringing the random calling bell (or phone number) and pestering people to buy things they don’t need often dominates the popular conception of sales. But is that so? Necessarily not. 

Good products don't sell themselves. For instance, if it was not for Steve Jobs’ superior persuasion skills, Apple Inc., may not be where they are today! You can find hundreds of similar examples where someones’ salespersonship wrote the future of a product/service. 

So sales, when done right, unfolds a world of professional opportunities that include personal growth. If you are creative, knowledgeable, strategic, autonomous, confident, and motivated, then you have the potential to earn a lot of money as salespeople. 

Even entry-level jobs offer lots of room for advancement and competitive starting salaries, and anyone willing to put in the effort may become an exceptional salesperson.

We’re here to prove to you that sales are not just a viable option for the long-term but one of the best you could choose.

The Truth About Sales: Bursting Myths

the truth about sales

First, let’s bust a few myths about career growth in sales:

Myth #1: Sales is one of the most unstable careers

If there’s one thing the last few tumultuous years have taught us, it’s that no profession is immune to instability and lay-offs—except maybe medical careers; but that’s a whole new can of worms.

Certain sectors may expand or contract due to recessions, technological advances, and more. Still, companies will always have products and need people to sell them, especially when clients are more reluctant to part with their cash.

Myth #2: Sales has no room for growth

Many people still believe that sales are all about cutting lots of quick deals to meet targets, collecting a fat paycheck, and getting out once you’re done with that. 

Of course, building customer relationships and retaining them over the long term is more important than immediate gains. But more importantly, sticking to a career path in sales can take you up a company’s ladder to the C-Suite. 

According to an Entrepreneur survey, about 85% of America’s company leaders began their careers as salespeople. While the numbers are slightly different in India, and this percentage has dropped since the last decade (see: the rise of tech entrepreneurs with STEM backgrounds), sales remains one of the five most common starting jobs for Fortune 500 CEOs.

Myth #3: Sales will lose jobs to automation

In sales, as in most other fields, the fear that “AI will take away all our jobs” is valid but is hugely exaggerated. While more and more businesses are increasingly automating their sales process, several parts still absolutely require a human touch. 

Industry veterans have noted that automating the entire process often leads to a drop in conversion rates. And, of course, in large deals or ones with old clients, the trust and confidence that only an experienced professional can bring are still irreplaceable with even the most intelligent AIs out there.

Of course, one popular notion that isn’t a myth is that sales are fast-paced, intense, and ridiculously competitive. If you want to thrive and grow rather than just survive in this industry, you’ll need to do a lot more than just the bare minimum. This brings us to–

Tips for Long-Term Success in Sales

Here’s how you can set yourself up for long-term success in your sales career:

wok work work

1. Work, work, work

As the public becomes aware of the great potential in sales, more and more talented -challenge-hungry young people are entering the field. 

So, sales is now an industry where you cannot afford to take it easy. Be the first person in your office and the last to leave and if your targets seem impossible—don’t just meet targets, exceed them. 

Quoting an affirmation from perhaps one of the most outstanding books about sales ever written, The Greatest Salesman of the World by Og Mandino: 

“I determine to render more and better service each day than I am being paid to render. Those that reach the top are the ones who are not content with doing only what is required of them.”

2. Think long-term

If you want long-term career growth, you can’t afford to make decisions that will yield rewards in the short term but come back to bite you later on. 

Forcing your clients into deals by cajoling them or misrepresenting facts may help you make your numbers, but you can never overcome the lack of trust this will sow.

Trust, then, is the secret to lasting success in the field. And as we mentioned, you can’t gain trust just by becoming a smooth-talker or wearing a sharp suit. 

As a salesperson, the interests and needs of your client should be paramount, and you should do everything you can to meet them.

3. Become a subject matter expert 

As an experienced sales professional, the most significant advantage you have over young, eager-to-prove-themselves new hires is the sheer depth of knowledge in your sphere of work. 

Some of this will come from your years in the field, but it’s essential to boost this knowledge by studying these subjects carefully.

This will allow you to position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert (SME)--- a unique role for both your employer and client. Of course, being able to answer every niche question new client flings at you is a great bonus, but the real value you get out of this is strengthening the bonds of trust between you and your clients. 

Even if a potential buyer does not immediately strike a deal, this trust will ensure they will reach out to you soon enough or even refer other potential clients to you.

4. Keep yourself up-to-date

Remember those young, hungry new hires we talked about? In addition to their passion and talent, they’re also going to be on top of their game regarding new technologies and how to implement them to boost sales and customer retention.

There's no faster road to redundancy in a career as fast-moving and dynamic as sales than failing to keep up with the times. So, whether you’re 25 or 50, you’ll want to make sure to attend conferences, read books and take courses that will teach you everything about the latest and greatest innovations in the field.

All of this may seem very far away now as you are on the cusp of stepping out into the professional world, but as they say, a good beginning is half the battle won. 

Juno School of Business will help you enter the field of sales with confidence and skill by teaching you everything you need to know to get started—and how to put this knowledge to good use on the job. Then, kickstart your sales career and get the opportunity to get hired.

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