A Sales Career Can Pay Big Money, No Matter What Your Major
A Sales Career Can Pay Big Money, No Matter What Your Major
BY Antonio Graceffo
If you get a degree in engineering, you graduate and work as an engineer. If you get a degree in accounting, you graduate and work as an accountant. The same for nursing majors, and a few other majors on campus. But if you graduate with a degree in English, do you work as an English? What do you actually do with a degree in history or political science?
The answer is, no matter what your background and no matter what your major, you can be successful in sales. And before we go any further let’s remember that sales is the single highest paying job in America. It is the only job without a salary cap and where all promotions and raises are dependent exclusively on your performance. In other words, the more you produce, the more you earn.
You can sell Amway. You can sell cars or homes. You can sell insurance. Or, you can sell corporate financing. At the end of the day, all sales jobs boil down to one concept, “how can I make money?”
The answer is, no matter what your background and no matter what your major, the best strategy for making money is going to be “Be yourself, and exploit those special skills which only you posses.”
My BA was in foreign language with a minor in English. It was hard getting into a financial planning training program because most required a degree in business. When I finally got my first job, they said, “Sit down and write a list of your 200 closest friends in New York, and this will be your sphere of influence, which all of your business will be based on.” I went to school in Europe. Apart from my family, I didn’t know a soul in New York.
The guy sitting next to me had a degree in criminal justice, not even remotely business related. But, he had gone to school in New York. He had been in a fraternity and several student clubs. He produced a list of hundreds of people who knew his name. He called these people, and built his business off of these relationships.
Another guy had a degree in Education. He taught for a year, decided he hated it, and wanted to make some real money. He was a member of the Masons, and the son of a Mason. The lodge members and contacts became the base for his business.
Another guy had tried to be a pro-baseball player. He didn’t even have a degree. And, he knew no one in New York, but he built his business calling on sporting goods stores, sports agents, pro athletes, and people associated with athletics.
With a degree in German and Spanish, I flipped open the yellow pages, this was in the days before internet, and looked for organizations where I might have an edge. I found pages and pages of potential contacts: foreign embassies, chambers of commerce, foreign language clubs, associations, universities, and more. Eventually I learned to read industry journals and see where a new executive was hired from one of the countries whose language I spoke, and I called him. Being Italian was a huge asset. I found pages and pages of Italian organizations to call. Eventually, I built a huge referral network.
Networking is the best way to meet people, make contacts and build a business. As a new salesperson money will probably be very tight for you. So, don’t ever pay to join an organization, and never, ever pay for advertising. You can get advertising and membership benefits for free by volunteering your time. Show an organization how you can help them, and they will be grateful.
If you have a degree in English, history, or any arts type major you are probably a good writer. You can use your writing skills to write letters and make contact with organizations. You can also donate your time and writing skills to organizations such as professional and trade associations, chambers of commerce, business organizations, networking groups, religious and charitable organizations, who might need help writing copy or sending out mail. All of these organizations have a monthly newsletter or a website which you could volunteer to help them with. This is an excellent way of meeting tons of people.
The same goes if you know how to do graphic arts or any kind of computer or website type work. Offer to help them in these areas. Associations always need art work done. They need, posters, website art…
In sales, as in life, it isn’t about what you know. It is about how you apply yourself. Use the skill set you already possess, work hard, be creative, and find your niche. Here are a few suggestions.
Here are few tips on how you can take your existing skill set and turn it into a profitable sales career.
People like to do business with people similar to themselves. So, decide who you are, and find people similar to you, and you can sell to them.
Sit down and write a “This is Me” brain storm. Write as many attributes as you can, telling you, just who you are. Here is an example of what I wrote in my “This is Me” brain storm.
After you have written at least twenty attributes, then do google searches on the internet to find organizations which are related your strengths. These are the organizations you will want to contact to build your network.
This is Me
Attribute Organizations to Network with
Italian and Catholic No matter what your ethnicity or religion there will be corresponding organizations to contact. Example, Italian Chamber of Commerce or Catholic Business Association
Speak Spanish and German There are countless organizations for Latinos in the USA, ranging from small business owners to churches. All of these organizations were very welcoming when I approached them
Martial Artist/fitness Running clubs, work out clubs, personal trainer organizations, gym owner associations, sports equipment manufacturers and retailers
Writer Writing clubs, reading clubs, book of the month clubs, book retailers, publishers, literary agents, other authors
I hate smoking Believe it or not there are lists and clubs for everything. There are organizations for “Women Against the Super Bowl.” And there are clubs for people who hate smoking, or hate reality TV or whatever it is you hate.
University graduate Alumni organization for your university
Veteran There are unlimited organizations and clubs for veterans and retired veterans and organizations which support the military such as contractors and even political organizations
Political organizations If you are democrat, republican, Libertarian, Green or other, you will find groups to network with
I am not a recovering alcoholic (is this denial) but support groups can be excellent places to network
I like to talk and tell jokes and stories Speakers clubs, comedy clubs, acting associations, story telling clubs
No matter who you are, what you know, or what you have done, you can find groups to network with. And building a network is the first step to being successful in sales. Sales is the great equalizer, SALES CAN MAKE YOU RICH, IF YOU ARE WILLING.