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Step 1: Understand the Sales Universe

Step 1: Understand the Sales Universe

Understand the Sales Universe & Peter Vogt

More Than Widgets

Media, pharmaceuticals, financial services, medical supplies, plastics, software … everything with a buyer has a seller.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the only things being sold in the marketplace are products, and useless ones at that. As one job seeker said, “I won’t do sales. I don’t want to go around talking to people and trying to sell them stuff they don’t want.”

This statement is misguided on several levels, but two stand out:

• Who’s to say the job seeker would have to sell stuff – i.e., products?

• Why wouldn’t this job seeker’s prospective customers want what’s being sold?

Too often, college students and recent grads rule out sales positions based on little or no real thought or investigation. They hear the word <a href=“” and they immediately say to themselves, “No way!” Case closed.

Professional Sales: A Land of Opportunity

If you’ve never pictured yourself – or even casually considered – making your way in sales, you may be making a mistake. Instead, think about how working in sales might benefit you and how it might be different from what you think you know about sales.

You may sell a product if you go into sales, but you might also sell a service or even a cause of some sort. If you find a product, service or cause you believe in and then take it to people who might also believe in it, you could find yourself in a gratifying career.

Sales Experience Is Applicable Everywhere

Business leaders, many of whom started out in sales, believe that if you can succeed in sales, you can succeed almost anywhere. Sales is often viewed as the training ground for the business standouts of tomorrow. Why?

Sales is all about understanding a product (or service or cause) in depth, teaching other people about it (using your written and verbal communication skills) and showing those people how they would benefit. No matter where your career may go in five, 10 or 30 years, the communication and persuasion skills developed in sales will be crucial to your success.

Evergreen Opportunities – Even in a Slump

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No job is truly recession-proof, but sales careers come close. Why? Because when organizations are struggling, they typically need to increase revenues, decrease expenses or do both to survive and, eventually, thrive again.

Sales professionals should increase an organization’s revenues, so they’re less likely to be laid off in times of struggle. They’re more likely to get hired during the tough times, too.

Sales Can Be Lucrative

While it may not happen immediately, if you become skilled at selling, you can easily earn more than $100,000 a year. The secret may be a sales job that offers not only a salary, but also a commission on the sales you make.

Don’t dismiss a sales career out of hand, without at least exploring the possibilities in some depth. If you do, you may well be selling yourself – and a potentially rewarding profession – short.

Next: Step 2: Find Your Niche in Sales