Should You Consider a Career in Sales?

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Should you consider a career in sales? To answer that question, let me ask you a few more.

Should You Consider a Career in Sales - Job Search Tips From B2B Sales Connections

Are you concerned about the outlook for your job? Are your career prospects over the next 6 to 12 months looking bright, or are you concerned you could be unemployed on a moment's notice if the economy takes a downturn?

Do you want to earn more money but that just isn't possible in your current job? Are you a recent graduate and not sure where you should start your job search?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then yes, you should consider a career in sales!

Many salespeople never planned to pursue a career in sales. They usually just ended up there due to some twist of fate. Once they become a successful salesperson however, few would ever consider doing anything else.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Sales

Personal satisfaction, growth, freedom from the office, unlimited income potential, financial stability and the ability to be an entrepreneur without the usual financial risks associated with self employment.

Clearly there are compelling reasons why now is the right time to seriously look at sales as your new career path.

Sales – A Career That is Always in Demand

When choosing or making a career change, you first want to make sure that it will be in demand, both now and in the future. So, is sales that career?  Absolutely!

The products sold may change as technology continues to improve our lives, but the need to have someone sell them won't. Let's look at some facts:

Sales Career Facts

  • Profit Magazine reported 'Finding the right sales talent was one of the biggest concerns facing sales organizations today.'
  • The Manpower Inc. Annual Talent Shortage Survey reported 'hiring sales professionals as a top priority for the past 3 years.'
  • Jobfox identified 'Sales Representative/Business Development as the most recession proof career.'
  • Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) stated, 'Even with Canada & the US in a recession, sales positions will continue to weather the effects better than most other careers. Sales and marketing workers tend not to lose or leave these jobs.'

As my mentor, John Noble always said, 'If you are good in sales, you are never unemployed.'

Job Search Tracking Worksheet

    Sales Professionals Earn Above Average Income

    Have you ever dreamed of earning a six-figure income? You are not alone.  Then consider this. Not only are qualified sales people always in demand in the marketplace, regardless of economic conditions, but they earn an above average income as well.

    If you look at the average incomes, you will find that sales people consistently earn well above the average for their age group and education level.  In fact, according to HRDC, 'Business service professionals, including those in marketing, earned well above average for Canadians. Sales, marketing and advertising manager earnings were among the highest for occupations in sales and service.'

    Salespeople Are More Upwardly Mobile

    Taking this a step further, research shows that sales professions are also more upwardly mobile, with 85% of today's CEO's, Presidents and senior executives coming from a background in sales.

    The main reason is that people who earn their living in sales are truly compensated on their performance.  They earn above average incomes because they are in charge of their own destinies. When everyone else is locked in to a 1% or 2% cost of living wage increase, sales people can go out and write their own paycheques! 

    Think about it. If you want to make a million dollars, what's going to get you faster; a $35,000 a year, salary only position, or a performance-based career where you have the opportunity to earn $100,000 plus per year?

    Annual Income Number of Years to Make $1,00,000
    $25,000 40 years
    $35,000 28.5 years
    $45,000 22.2 years
    $50,000 20 years
    $65,000 15.4 years
    $75,000 13.3 years
    $100,000 10 years

    Simply put, in sales, you have the power to make it happen.

    B2B vs B2C Sales – What type of sales is better?

    It's important to note, not all sales people earn an above average income and not all sales people have a corner office. Why? Sometimes it's because they are just not in the right sales job.

    It's not enough to just be in sales, you have to be in a sales job that is right for you!

    When you start to investigate sales careers, you will often hear the terms B2B and B2C sales.

    What is B2B?

    Business to business or B2B sales is simply defined as the process where one company exchanges a product or service with another company with the use of its sales representatives.  Common examples include business equipment, accounting services, office supplies, and technology.

    What is B2C?

    The alternative is B2C sales where a company deals directly with the consumers through its sales representatives.  Some examples are insurance and financial services, real estate, retail, and home improvement products and services.

    Products Can Be Both

    Often, the goods being exchanged can be considered both B2B and B2C.  For example, companies and consumers both purchase office supplies such as pens, pencils and computers, however, a consumer normally buys the products online or by visiting a retail outlet, whereas a B2B sale tends to be made with the assistance of a sales representative at the customer's place of business.

    The Career Differences between B2B and B2C?

    When looking at different sales career opportunities, it is important to remember that B2B sales are different from B2C sales in the following ways:

    • B2B buyers are buying for their company, not their households, and therefore use different buying criteria for the same products.
    • B2B buyers are spending the company's money, not their own.
    • More people are involved in a B2B buying decision than a B2C buying decision.
    • The sales processes are different.
    • There are more B2C prospects than there are business prospects just because there are more direct consumers out their than there are businesses.
    • B2B sales reps tend to work during normal business hours where B2C reps can often work during the evenings or weekends visiting people in their homes.

    If you take a moment to search for sales jobs online, you will see there are numerous opportunities in both B2B and B2C sales.  One is not better than the other. You just need to know what works best for you.

    Can You Be a Successful Salesperson?

    According to the research in the book 'How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer – The Five Qualities That Make Sales People Great' by Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney,  1 in 4 people have an aptitude for sales. You might be that one!

    Do you Have What It Takes?

    Would you like to be your own boss? Do you want to take control of your life? Does the idea of financial freedom excite you? Do you have the self discipline to work on your own to achieve your goals? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you probably have the right mindset for sales, and you might be that one.

    Are you a coach, or have you planned meetings or events? Do you train people on the products or services you currently use?  Have you or do you play competitive sports, dance, or a musical instrument? Do you volunteer or fundraise for your favourite charity?  Then you have already demonstrated the work ethic required to be successful in sales, and you might be that one.

    Are you creative, honest, passionate, enthusiastic, confident, persistent and hard working?   Do you have good communication and listening skills? Have you worked in retail? Then you already have many of the necessary skills to be a sales professional, and you might be that one. 

    Sales is Not For Everyone

    Having said that, sales is not for everyone. Again, according to the studies in 'How to Hire & Develop Your Next Top Performer', everyone can't sell, and some should even give up trying!

    According to that research:

    • 55% of people earning a living in sales should be doing something else
    • 20 – 25% have what it takes, but should be selling something else
    • 20% have what it takes AND are selling products best suited to their personality

    So how do you know if you are the one?

    How To Start A Career In Sales

    It's not difficult to find out if a sales career might be right for you. Even if you are new to the workforce, you can follow proven strategies for recent college graduates to start your sales career.

    A sales aptitude survey will also tell you if you have the right personality and skills to be successful. Some can even suggest what type of selling would suit you best.

    Just Google 'free sales aptitude test' and you will see many choices to get you started.

    Once you discover that you have the aptitude, then it's just a matter of the right sales training and the right sales position and you're on your way.

    How to Write an Effective B2B Sales Resume (With Template and Example)

      Debunking the Myths About Salespeople

      Should you consider a career in sales? Many quickly answer no to that questions and dismiss a sales career because of some common myths about salespeople. I am sure you have heard them, but you need to understand that they are not the truth in most cases.

      • Salespeople have to be able to talk a lot. Top sales people in their fields are not talkers, they are listeners. They listen to your needs, your goals, and your problems.
      • Salespeople are aggressive. Aggression would turn off most buyers. It is more important to be sincere, helpful, empathic, passionate and knowledgeable.
      • Salespeople lack ethics. Any professional should always put their client's best interest ahead of their own. Trust is essential to building a successful career it's never worth compromising your integrity.

      Doesn't a Good Product Sell Itself?

      You may be asking, with online shopping and all the information available to buyers using a simple internet search, are sales people really still needed these days?  Hasn't the internet made sales people obsolete? Won't a good product sell itself after buyers find it themselves on Google?

      What is a “Good” Product?

      To answer these questions, you first need to define what you consider a 'good product'.  According to a survey performed by InvnTree Intellectual Property Services, consumers perceive patented products as unique and superior in the marketplace. In other words, patented products are generally accepted as 'good products'.

      The question then becomes, do patented products sell themselves? Not even close! According to, 97 percent of all patents never make any money. In fact, according to a CEO of a Canadian innovations company, only 2 to 3 percent of approved patents are successful at generating any revenue.

      So, will a good product sell itself?  If you build a better mousetrap, will the world really beat a path to your door? Only if the world knows it exists and only if someone knows how to sell it.

      Sales Skills are Learned, Not Inherited

      Perhaps the biggest question you have when deciding if you should consider a career in sales is if you have the “right stuff”.

      Successful sales people are not born with the skills they need to succeed. Successful sales people are trained for their trade just like every other profession.

      You can take the initiative and take some online sales training to get you started.  Or you could look for companies that hire 'rookies' and with the intent of training of their new reps to sell.  In fact, one associate of mine just started her first sales job at one of those companies after I suggested she look at a career in sales when she set a new record for 50/50 ticket sales for a charity draw.

      The key to remember is that even if you don't have any sales experience, you can still have a very rewarding career in sales. 

      The bottom line?

      We all sell.  Whether you are a recent graduate selling your skills on your resume, or a volunteer trying to raise funds for your favourite charity, or a parent tying to sell tonight's dinner choice to your toddler, we all sell. 

      The real questions then become should you consider a career in sales and can you make a living at it? Is sales a good career for you? Now that you know all the facts, I think it is certainly worth investigating.  Mind you, after 30 plus years in sales, some might say I am biased!

      Aim Higher!

      Susan A. Enns and Robert J Weese
      Managing Partners and B2B Sales Experts
      Schedule a free sales coaching strategy session with Susan or Robert here

      Are you looking to make a career change? For detailed instructions, step by step, on how to find your perfect sales job, (and by perfect, we mean perfect for YOU), check out our eBook, How to Find Your Dream Sales Job – The future is yours to create! How to write a resume to grab the attention of sales recruiters, a gender neutral cover letter template, what you need to include in your LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for a sales interview, what to wear, how to access the hidden job market, how to evaluate a job offer, how to resign from your current job …. IT'S ALL IN THIS BOOK!

      A version of this article was also published as “4 Compelling Reasons to Consider a Career in Sales (& Know If You'd Be Good at It)” with permission on the mailshake blog.

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