Communication Studies is such an amazing major because there are so many paths for possible careers upon graduation. If you are majoring in Communication Studies, I will automatically assume you are outgoing, up to date and interested in new media, and have excellent aural and writing skills. Sound like you? Then you may want to consider a career in sales.
Am I right for a career in sales?
It may be better to ask “Am I right for sales?” rather than “Is a career in sales right for me?” There are multiple personality traits (three of which you already obtain as a Communication Studies major) that will separate those who succeed in the sales industry from those who cannot handle the competition and hard work ethic. So here I ask, “Are you right for a career in sales?”
A common belief is that Sales Representatives spend more time on the golf course, or at fancy lunches with clients, and while the entertaining of clients may be some of the perks of the job, these are earned perks. The sales industry is demanding in the sense that your boss, (as well as your clients!) will expect hard work, motivation and long hours. You not only have to perform well for your boss, but for your clients as well. The typical duties include contacting and meeting with clients, keeping up with your quota, prospecting (which means lots of time on the phone), and keeping a daily calendar. The work environment is quite fast, and very competitive, as everyone is attempting to meet the same quota with only a certain amount of available prospects.
Sales is not an easy job, however if you have the right skills and personality traits, it can be extremely rewarding. As a sales representative, you get to build relationships with clients, and you are in charge of your own salary; what more could an outgoing, motivated person want? I am here to get into the nitty gritty and ask you three major questions that will help you device if a career in sales is right for you.
Are you motivated?
I recently had the opportunity of interviewing for a position as a Sales Representative, and one of the questions asked during the interview was, “What motivates you?”
I will give you a hint; the answer that they are looking for is money and internal drive. To have a successful career in sales, you must be motivated. Not just internally, but think big- think money! As a Sales Representative you must be a money motivated person because most of your pay is based on compensation. Most Sales Representatives will have a base salary, but the best sales reps will rely on the additional compensation that comes from making sales. If you can hear yourself saying, “I want more, I can do better!” then you seem like the motivated person who has great potential as a successful Sales Representative. So I ask you again, “Is a career in sales right for you? Are you money motivated?”
Are you resilient?
The second question asked on my recent Sales Representative interview surprised me; they asked “How do you handle rejection?”
Oh jeez, are they about to tell me the interview is over; I am not the candidate they are looking for?
Nope! They ask this question because rejection will come in this industry, and it may come often. Not everyone will want what you are selling, but if you are the type of individual who considers themselves resilient, then hey, maybe a career in sales is right for you! There will come times when you have worked weeks contacting and pursuing a lead that you think you have in the bag, only to find out they went with the other guy down the street. As a Sales Representative, you must slap on that smile, gather your perseverance, pull up your boot straps and continue on to the next prospect; (all the while motivated by money!)
Are you outgoing?
As all interviews usually do, the time came in mine in which the interviewer asked if I had any questions for them. (Tip: make sure you always have at least three questions prepared, no matter what position or company you are interviewing for.)
I responded with my go to question, “What are the qualities of successful Sales Representatives?”
Their response was, “Someone who is money motivated, resilient, and has strong interpersonal skills to build rapport with clients. It is all about creating and maintaining connections to expand your client list.”
As a Sales Representative, one of your responsibilities is to build and develop client relations to ultimately sell your product. You must be outgoing, personable, persuasive and confident. While cold-calling is not as common nowadays, it is still prevalent in many companies. Being comfortable striking conversation with strangers is an important skill if you are seeking a career in sales.
So I will pose the question one last time, “Is a career in sales right for you? Are you outgoing, personable and enjoy interaction with people? Do you have resilience? Are you hungry for money and being in charge of your own success? If you answered yes to these three questions, then I think a company looking to fill a position of a Sales Representative would be lucky to have you.
For more personality traits and skill that correlate with success in sales, check out: Forbes: Is A Commission-Based Sales Job Right For You?
Franek, R. 3 Skills All Communication Majors Must Have. The Princeton Review. https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/communications-majors-career-skills
Smith, J. (2013). Is A Commission-Based Sales Job Right For You? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/19/is-a-commission-based-sales-job-right-for-you/#7e646d0b180c
Stewart, R. How To Decide If A Sales Career is a Fit For You. SalesHQ. http://saleshq.monster.com/careers/articles/990-how-to-decide-if-a-sales-career-is-a-fit-for-you