I remember when I started in sales at the young age of 18.
It seemed like the natural path for me to take since all of my family was heavily involved in sales. I didn’t really think about it much. And, frankly, I was pretty good at it.
Everyone who chooses a career in sales gets into it for different reasons.
Some people choose sales because it fits their personality, others because they didn’t learn any other specific trade.
And yet others are motivated by the possibility of unlimited earning potential.
Is sales a good career?
The answer to that depends entirely on each individual. Sales can be the perfect career for you if you are driven by money, are competitive and like people. However, if you get sick to your stomach thinking about talking to a stranger, a typical career in sales might not be for you.
But let’s take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of a sales career:
- Unlimited earning potential
- Personally rewarding
- More job freedom
- No secure salary
- High pressure environment
- Limited accountability
It’s safe to say that sales can be an excellent career for some people but an awful career of choice for others.
Now you’re probably wondering in which of those two groups you belong.
To give you a better idea if a career in sales is good for you, I want to point out some of the most important characteristics of individuals that excel in a sales career.
Is Sales For You?
If you’ve considered a career in sales before, you’ve probably wondered if this is something for you, or not.
The highest performers in sales all have certain characteristics in common. However, it’s important to note that you don’t need to have these traits to get a career in sales. There are certain traits that can be learned. Others, not so much. But if you have a great desire to learn, you can do it.
Below are is a list of 10 different questions to ask yourself to see if sales is a good career for you, or not.
1. Sales is a good career if you enjoy high levels of competition.
Good Salespeople thrive in a competitive environment.
They particularly like to win and are extremely motivated by the game.
In fact, the more competitive the environment, the better. I think that you either love competition or you move away from it.
If you like it, a sales career could be great for you. On the other hand, if competition doesn’t excite you and you resist it, you might not do so well with selling.
Are you somebody who likes competition or does it paralyze you?
Do you walk towards it or away from it?
2. Sales is a good career if you are money motivated
To a certain extent, you’ve got to love money in order to thrive in a sales environment.
Well, if you don’t really care about money enough to stay persistent in a sales encounter and you could take it or leave it, you might not be motivated enough to truly do well in a sales career.
Having an income goal each month and then doing whatever it takes (ethically, of course) to achieve that goal, makes for a great salesperson.
Can you be good at sales without loving money? Yes. But it might be harder to stay motivated.
How do you feel about money? Does it motivate you or not so much?
3. Sales is a good career if you are self-motivated
In many cases, sales jobs require you to be very self-motivated.
Your efficiency and effectiveness is measured by results.
Outside sales jobs involved a lot of freedom because in many cases you travel from town to town, or city to city.
Inside sales jobs are more monitored. However, you still need a good deal of motivation to follow through your quotas each week.
It’s also important that you cheer yourself on. When you hear “no” after “no”, you are going to have to motivate yourself and keep a good attitdue.
Are you intrinsiscally motivated? (Meaning you don’t need anyone else to motivate you) Or are you extrinsically motivated? (This is when you need some form of external motivation to help you get going).
To some degree we all are a mix of both but you will probably recognize one or the other being more prevalent for you.
4. Sales is a good career if you are after the chase
We all know those people that get extremely motivated and inspired by a “no”.
Hearing a “no” puts them in a challenge.
They enjoy the chase.
When you’re prospecting in sales, you often must persist in order to get in front of the decision maker.
The people that succeed in doing this are the ones that keep going because they love the chase.
They don’t take “no” for answers. And they sure as heck don’t want to lose.
Do you give in easily?
Are you easily discouraged when you get a “no”?
Does constant following up seem extremely tasking to you?
If you answered yes to any of these, a career in sales might not be a good fit for you.
5. Sales is a good career if you have thick skin
This one goes along with the previous point of enjoying the chase.
Sales is a numbers game.
More people are going to tell you no than yes. And this can’t be something that bothers you a lot. Even though some peopel are born with more resilience, most of us can grow thicker skin with practice.
So even if you are afraid of being rejected now, you can learn to overcome that fear and realize that it’s not against you as a person.
Are you afraid of rejection?
6. Sales is a good career if you like people
I think it’s a no-brainer that you’ve got to enjoy people to be good at sales.
You don’t necessarily need to be an extrovert to be good at sales, as introverts are often better salespeople than their peers.
However, you do need to like people.
How do you feel about being around people?
Would you rather be alone or do you enjoy interacting with other people on a daily basis?
7. Sales is a good career if you have positive energy
One of the greatest indicators of success in a sales career is having a positive attitude.
A positive attitude will take you much farther than any aptitude that you have.
As Zig Ziglar liked to say, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”
There probably is no other career where having a positive mindset is as important as in sales.
Negativity truly makes or breaks the success of a person.
Are you a positive person? Or do you tend towards being a negative Nelson, or a negative Nelly?
8. Sales is a good career if you are goal oriented
This one is pretty obvious.
If you are driven to achieve a goal, you’ll have a good chance to make it in a sales career.
Do you set goals for yourself on a regular basis? more importantly, do you achieve those goals?
9. Sales is a good career if you are persistent and don't give up easy
If you give up easily, you’ll have a tough time in sales.
Because much of your success in this career is determined by your ability to push through no’s in order to get to a yes.
If you are somebody that keeps trucking away even after you’ve been rejected or told no many times, I promise you, you’ll do very well in a sales career.
Do you consider yourself to be a persistent person?
10. Sales is a good career if you are a hard worker
If you’re somebody that finds fulfillment in doing a little more than necessary, or putting in an extra hour here or there, you’ve got a good chance at making it in a sales career.
Being a hard worker is a key to success in anything but can truly make a difference in a sales career.
Where do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in your desire to work hard?
Remember, above all other characteristics lies the determination to succeed.
Going down this list of traits that the majority of successful salespeople have, will help you identify if sales could be a career for you or not.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a great candidate for sales right now, commitment to doing whatever it takes, can get you there.
1. Is A Sales Job Stressful?
If you’re considering getting a job in sales you probably want to know what to expect.
A question that many people ask is if sales is stressful.
Well, a sales job can be stressful if you consider a performance-based job to be stressful to you.
A salesperson is always trying to reach a sales quota.
There is also a considerable amount of pressure in a sales environment which is either something that makes you better or wears you down.
If you like competition and thrive in a competitive environment, you’ll do well under pressure.
However, you must know yourself.
Some people just don’t produce well under stress while others do quite well.
The best way to figure out what works for you is to look back to times when you were dealing with stressful situations at work or in school.
Did you remain calm? Or did you develop stress and anxiety?
Again, everyone is different. There is no one size fits all. If you think you’d like a sales career, why not give it a try. The worst that can happen is that you come away with some new skills.