5 Steps Toward Choosing Professional Sales

Nancy Anderson
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Recent articles say that most Americans switch careers at least three times throughout their lives. I have a few years on most of you out there, and I started working in sales when I was 12. Combine both of those extremes and the number of “switches” for me is 22. Gone are the days when people retired from the company where they first worked.

Enter what Daniel Pink calls the “Free Agent Nation.” What my contemporaries used to call “job hopping” is now expected as a career plan. The progressive mentality regarding business and technology often ensures that people move from company to company as they try to find the right career for them.

College graduates ask “what kind of sales career is right for me?” in the months before and after graduation. Now more than ever, people are still asking that question well into their thirties, forties, and fifties, and even as they retire and reenter the sales force in their sixties and seventies. It seems that every employee in America is wondering which career path fits him or her best, because “the company” does not plan that for you anymore. When you find yourself asking this, try some of these tips to get yourself on the best path to professional sales for you.

  • Take a Career Assessment Test: Taking a career assessment test with an agency can be expensive or inaccurate, but a good quality one can really provide some direction. There are many helpful and free alternatives on the internet. The tests will ask about your personality and what you like to do, in order to narrow down your ideal sales career.

  • Evaluate Your Current Job - Sometimes people THINK they want to switch careers, but they just hate their current situation. You may be terrific in sales but hate your job. Doing the same work from home or with coworkers you respect could be the perfect fit for you. A sales pro working for a large firm may be much happier with a smaller, local company.

  • Write Down Your Skills - Starting a brand new facet of sales will be much easier if you build on the skills you have already developed. For example, if you have sales experience but want to change careers, look at going into marketing. Your excellent communication skills will be a huge asset in your new career, and you can emphasize this to potential employers.

  • Do Your Research - Learn about which skills or education you will need to switch to your preferred position. Make sure that you know what requirements you will need before switching jobs and decide ahead of time whether how you are willing to fulfill them.

  • Network - The best way to make the transition into a new assignment is to know someone in that specific position who can guide you through your change. Consult friends, colleagues, contacts from your work and education backgrounds, who might know about your desired career. Get names and ask for introductions from them to expand your network and find your perfect job.

If this sounds like a homework assignment, then GOOD! You are getting the point. The homework is required for success, and the main topic is you! How important and close to home does that sound? I’m tempted to say “Look before you leap”, but I’ll restrain myself.

You can do this!

By K.B. Elliott
K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for Salesheads.com. Working both sides of sales desks in the Detroit area for over 30 years provides a unique perspective on the process. To read more of his blogs, go to Salesheadsblog.com, and be sure to check out postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt
Ready for that next Professional Sales job? Find your niche position at http://www.salesheads.com/


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