There are few, if any, careers that are as versatile, portable and dynamic as sales. I use the word career intentionally because, despite the overwhelming numbers of people who end up in sales, too few of them see it initially as a career option. Most simply default into it and thereafter kind of settle for it. The reasons for this are many but foremost among them is that sales has not been given the respect it deserves and indeed has occupied a space in popular culture somewhere between vampires and bank robbers. It is small wonder that when young people are looking at career options, sales is rarely in the mix and even if it was most parents would likely quash that idea quickly. On the flip side, we see careers like marketing celebrated, perhaps even elevated (intellectually and status-wise) as a profession. All the while sales is still largely caricatured as the slimy used-car salesperson or the desperate door-to-door footsoldier (and really when is the last time a door-to-door salesperson called, you are more likely to see a Big Foot these days).
But here is a funny thing. The first job the majority of marketing graduates secure is in…wait for it…yes sales! In fact, you will find that outside of the law, medicine, and degrees like them, a lot of people end up in sales despite studying something else. All of this begs the question; why not actually study for a career you are quite likely to end up in anyway? This is why I am delighted to see that more and more colleges are offering undergraduate sales courses that teach the skills needed to become a successful salesperson both now and in the future. We are highlighting some of these in our University Sales Hub and hopefully doing our small part to encourage students to look more closely at this career choice or at the very least look at it as a career choice and not a consolation prize when it turns out that their liberal arts degree doesn’t look like it is going to pay the rent any time soon.
So I would encourage students and indeed parents to look at sales as an option and keep in mind that sales has some great advantages such as the ones I listed at the start of this post. Not to mention this is one profession where earning are merit-based and the potential to out-earn many others is a reality.
I would love to hear from current sales students and graduates of sales programs about their experiences and what they would say to others thinking about sales as…yes, a Career!