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Step 3: Research Your Industry

Step 3: Research Your Industry

Research Your Industry & John Rossheim

Once you have identified an industry that calls to you, you need to learn all you can about the industry, the position, and the economic forecast for sales.

Sales Opportunities – Cyclical and Otherwise

In some industries more than others, sales opportunities mirror the economic cycle. “Employment for transactional sales professionals — like those in mortgages — tends to be more volatile,” says David Hoffmeister, director of DePaul University’s sales leadership program.

Conversely, financial sectors like banking and insurance offer steadier demand for salespeople, “and with the aging population, that demand will just continue to rise.”

In real estate, the mortgage meltdown of 2007 is undoubtedly bad news for many brokers, but there may be a silver lining. “If a mortgage company has a high percentage of nonperforming loans, they might be cutting back on sales,” says Hoffmeister. “But their rivals might be taking advantage and hiring.”

Hot Niches in Sales for 2008 – 2009

Salespeople in hot information technology sectors can remain optimistic, despite the slow economy. “Even if there’s a sales downturn in IT, companies can look at it as an opportunity to bring in new talent,” says James McCoy, senior vice president of consulting services at staffing firm Veritude.

And there are a number of niches where demand for sales experts far outweighs supply. Gutman, whose firm specializes in placing marketing communications professionals, can attest to this. “In online advertising sales, there are more positions open than bodies to fill them,” he says. “Even when our clients aren’t being as picky as they want to be, they have a hard time finding people.”

Money Matters

Work always comes down to dollars. Use SalesHQ’s Salary and Compensation Guide to discover the salaries and commissions that are typical for sales professionals in different industries during their first few years.

Next: Step 4: Learn to Talk the Talk