Career in Sales

The Only Guide You’ll Need to Get Started With a Fantastic Sales Career

So, you want to do sales, don’t you? Perhaps you’re drawn to the field by its endless potential for growth, the sheer variety it offers you, or the excellent compensation it offers top performers. 

But, no matter the reason, you probably don’t know too much about this fascinating field since it’s discussed far less in schools, colleges and homes than, say, engineering or medicine! 

So, here’s a comprehensive guide to getting started as a sales professional with absolutely no prior experience.

How to Get Started with Sales? 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting with sales and gradually moulding yourself into an excellent salesperson.

1. Learn the basics

Learn the Basics

Most people think that in sales, you learn everything on the job. While it’s certainly true that you’ll be picking up crucial skills and information at work, it’s never a good idea to go in with no prior knowledge at all. 

Interviewers for sales jobs will also look for someone who’s not just charming and personable but also has a genuine interest in and understanding of the world of sales. So, you must have a preliminary, if not basic, understanding of sales. 

2. Find your niche

Every industry and company requires sales professionals, but your experience depends largely on where you choose to work. So, shortlist a few industries or companies that you feel passionate about. 

These industries could include everything from FMCG companies to tech to NGOs. Once you’ve made your choice, it’s time to research the company or industry in-depth to understand precisely what you’re working with.

3. Figure out what role would be the best fit

There are as many types of sales jobs as products and services globally. So before you start applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to narrow your search down to a few sales verticals that fit your personality and existing skillset the best. 

Some roles are also exclusive to specific industries, so it’s essential to get the previous step out of the way before you begin researching roles.

A great starting point for an individual who doesn’t have much of a background in sales is that of a sales development representative (SDR)

SDR’s role involves identifying and getting in touch with potential leads before passing them on to another employee generally— this role does not require much experience and has grown by multiples in the last several years. 

On the other hand, an account manager has a very different job. Rather than starting or closing the initial deal, they maintain and improve existing customer relationships. 

As an account manager, you will essentially be a liaison between the client and your company in this role. 

4. Get your transferable skills up to scratch

Moving into sales from another industry or directly from education can be a challenge, but making the best of the skills you’ve probably already developed is one way to make the transition smoother. Some of these skills are:

  • Communication: In sales, how you say something is often just as important as what you say. To become an excellent communicator, you need to master the arts of both verbal and non-verbal communication—the latter is just as or even more important than the former. But another oft-neglected facet of being a great communicator is being an attentive listener.

  • Negotiation: Few of us enjoy discussing money, but it is essential to being a good salesperson. Every sales professional has a different negotiating style, but the goal is always to close the deal and make you and your firm a profit. Therefore, your negotiation style should be tailored to your unique circumstances. When formulating it, consider who you’ll be negotiating with (a layperson or a seasoned businessperson?), the medium through which you’ll be doing so (in person, on the phone or a video call?) etc.

  • Spontaneity and problem-solving: As a sales professional, no matter where you are in the hierarchy, you will need to make crucial decisions very quickly and often with little information available to you. You will also face the most unexpected problems at inconvenient times, but you will also accept these problems as a necessary part of your life.

5. Start job-hunting and connecting with people in the business

Start job hunting and connecting with people in the business

You’ve educated yourself, chosen industry and a role, and honed the most critical skills for the job. All that’s left to do now is to get your very first sales job. 

You can and should apply through the usual pathways like job search websites, of course, but these may not get you the results you want if you don’t have any previous sales experience. 

After all, you’ll be competing with hundreds if not thousands of other people who are, at least on paper, much more qualified for a role than you are.

Instead, try connecting personally with established sales professionals. You can choose to do this through LinkedIn, business conferences or just school and college alumni networks. This way, you can make your first impression with the interpersonal skills you’ll be using on the job, not your CV.

And remember, no job is too small to be a great starting point. You will probably be asked to work with a company’s less expensive products or be assigned lower quality leads at first. But, as unglamorous as it sounds, the only path to success in sales is through your results.

6. Keep upskilling yourself

Now that you’ve got your first job, you need to chart out the path for advancement in your career. In addition to working hard and smart at it, you must also keep up with new trends in the rapidly changing industry or risk being left behind. 

Remote-selling, for instance, is becoming more and more the norm every day. With the COVID-19 pandemic, even significant deals that would otherwise have been made face-to-face are taking place over the internet.

This may seem like a long and arduous process. You may not even know where to get started. Books? Online blogs and forums? How do you determine if these sources are reliable, up-to-date and curated by successful sales professionals? 

Juno School of Business takes all the guesswork out for you. At Juno School, our interactive online course will teach you everything you need to know about sales in eight weeks—and give you a head start with finding a great job too.

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