Starting out in sales is hard, but everyone should do it. Selling is uncomfortable at first, even for extroverted people who love talking. Once you get over the first hurdles you can learn a lot. The difficulty deters people from pursuing sales as their career, and they miss out on some important life lessons as a result.
Here are the 5 most important life lessons you'll learn from a career in sales.
Getting over the fear of talking to new people
The first major lesson you learn is how to talk to people. Meeting new people becomes easier the more you do it, and in sales you do it a lot. Becoming comfortable with conversation will open doors for you. A sales job forces you to step outside of your comfort zone and speak to new people.
Interacting with people daily makes you realize how valuable relationships are. The larger your network is, the easier it will be for you to make new connections. You'll have the skills to develop a professional and personal network that pays dividends. CBS news agrees, your network is the most valuable asset for a successful career. Being comfortable around new people is an invaluable skill, developing it early helps you get ahead in every area of life.
Dealing with rejection
Whether you're in sales or not, you'll face a lot of rejection in life. Losing an opportunity never feels good, but sales makes you better at it. You'll primarily talk to people who tell you no, so you learn not to take it personally. The thing to realize is that when someone tells you no, they aren't saying no to you, they're saying no to the idea. Letting things go and learning how to handle rejection will give you the mentality to persevere in any situation.
Having a thick skin and dealing with rejection in a healthy way is a life skill. Everyone you'll meet will have a bad day now and then. Shrugging off a rude response helps you stay focused on your overall goals.
Sales is a numbers game. You have to put yourself out there again and again. The best way to improve is to fail. You'll learn from your mistakes and become better. In sales, becoming better means closing more deals. All it takes it consistency. The best salespeople have been rejected countless times, but they never gave up.
How to persuade without being annoying or pushy
Learning how to ethically persuade people is an investment in every area of your life. There is a fine line between being pushy and persuading. People’s lives are usually fine without your product. Every product exists because it is supposed to help make someone’s life easier or better. The sales process is different for every industry, but learning how to inform people and allow them to be the decision maker helps them feel more comfortable when buying. Finding that balance between persuading and helping is key.
Persuasion is an art. There is an entire genre of self-help books on how to be more persuasive. A job in sales will teach you that knowing what your client needs is the first step to persuading them. When speaking to them, make sure to be confident, knowledgeable, and polite. When persuading someone, use logic, positive language and confidence. They will not want to purchase your product unless they are sure that what you have to offer will fulfill the need they have. Forbes offers a great article on the 21 principles of persuasion.
Listen more than you talk
Another lesson you learn in sales is to get your customer to talk more than you. When talking with people you should try to hear their problem and have a solution for them, even if it means directing them away from your company if you can’t solve their issue. They will appreciate the help and understand that you’re really there to help them. By listening more than you talk, you learn how to ask the right questions at the right time. People often do not want to talk to people they do not trust. A job in sales teaches you how to ask the right questions to get your prospect talking. By listening to them to speak, you allow them to become comfortable doing business you. People love talking about themselves and their issues. Just listening and responding with care builds trust. Trust grows very slowly and it can all be lost in a moment.
You also learn how to find out what someone wants without them explicitly telling you. People often say one things while meaning another. They may not realize what they are really communicating, but by listening and learning to understand their real need will make you a better salesperson and friend. Listening is a skill that many people do not make steps toward improving. It is one of the best ways to build trust between people.
Prioritization and self-discipline
Prioritizing your time is difficult. Staying on top of everything can be challenging enough. It is hard to decide what to do to maximize your efficiency on the job. Every decision you make has an opportunity cost to it. Getting the most from your time at work makes you happier, which makes your coworkers and clients happier. Taking one hour out of your day to organize and prioritize your work can help boost your efficiency for your whole week. More important than prioritizing and organizing is having good work ethic. Being self-disciplined and following through with your schedule is an important lesson to learn.
It is impossible to speak with everyone. Prioritizing your time and selling to the people that need your product is how great salespeople find success. There are only 24 hours in a day. You must choose what to do during those hours to find success. By having a schedule and staying disciplined with it, your job and success on the job will come easier. The harder you work in sales, the better your results will become and the more money you will make. The more you make, the more vacations you can take!
Overall, you can learn a lot from a job in sales. You develop skills that otherwise do not get much attention. The five major lessons that you will learn in sales is being comfortable speaking with new people, dealing with rejection, persuading, listening more than talking, prioritizing, and self-disciplining. These skills take time to improve. Sales prepares you for the challenges you'll face in life. All of the lessons you learn are applicable life skills. It is a great way to start your career. It forces you to improve difficult-to-learn skills, and it forces you to step outside of your comfort zone.