If you're pursuing a business diploma (or considering it), you're probably thinking ahead to what type of business role you'll strive for after graduation.
Perhaps you dream of starting your own business, managing an office, or specializing in marketing. Or...perhaps you're considering the world of sales.
Sales tends to gets a bad rap. Too often, sales is associated with greed, dishonesty, and cutthroat competition.
But success in sales isn't really about any of these things. In fact, it can be a deeply rewarding, satisfying career path. That is, if you start out with the right "raw material."
How do you know if you're cut out for a sales career after business school? Take a look at these top five qualities of successful sales people, and see if they sound familiar...
1. You're a Driven Self-Starter
A career in sales takes energy. It takes enthusiasm, positivity, and drive. But crucially, effective sales people know how to distill and channel that drive into productivity and continuous self-improvement.
While some sales environments feature overbearing managers who direct their sales reps' every move, it's more likely that you'll structure your own day. You will need to determine how best to meet your sales goals, how hard to work, and where you could perform better.
Are you self-motivated and love to tackle a challenge? You've got one of the key characteristics of successful sales people.
2. You Can Handle Rejection (and don't give up easily!)
Let's say you're tasked with making 50 sales calls per day. You can expect to get rejected around 25 times before reaching anyone interested in the product or service you're selling. That's a considerable amount of push-back.
Success in sales means persisting despite rejection. Research compiled by sales and marketing guru, Hubspot, shows 44% of salespeople simply give up when a prospect says no. But that same research reveals that a whopping 80% of sales require five follow-ups to close the deal!
That's a lot of lost opportunities because the sales person couldn't handle rejection. Have a thick skin? Naturally persistent? You've got the right constitution to work in sales.
3. You're a Natural at Building Rapport with Strangers
Being sociable, meeting new people, and networking comes naturally to you. You genuinely enjoy learning about others, and know how to connect in a meaningful way. Building rapport takes exceptional communication skills; very careful listening, attention to detail, patience, warmth.
Your ability to establish rapport will directly impact your capacity to build trust with prospective clients. People buy from people they like and trust. Rapport is also key for getting to know your prospects—the wants, needs, and concerns that drive their decision-making.
At its core, sales is about relationship-building. Consulting Sales ranks failure to build relationships as the number one reason for failure in sales. If you're a genuine people-person, that's half the battle won.
4. You're Honest & Genuinely Enjoy Helping People
People often think of sales as primarily self-enriching. In other words, the main driving force for the salesperson is personal benefit. But for most successful sales people, the exact opposite is true.
Yes, they want and need to make a commission or salary—but something far more powerful motivates them to make each call and participate in each meeting. They are genuinely passionate about helping others, and believe their product or service meets an important need.
Successful sales people focus on discovering how they can make their prospects' lives better. Whether that's through a new pair of shoes, a new insurance policy, or a new house—the goal is the same; the level of passion is the same.
If you're looking for a career that centers on helping others, sales could be your unexpected perfect fit. The best sales people don't have to lie to get results. They believe in what they sell and are willing to go the extra mile to serve their clients. Ethics, honesty, and passion are almost always listed as must-have qualities for effective sales, and a happy sales career.
5. You're a Quick Thinker & Can Adapt Easily to New Situations
Sales people often work with a script, but that doesn't mean they can't improvise when needed. Successful sales people know how to adapt quickly when the mood or situation changes during a sales call.
Prospect isn't responding to a carefully planned pitch? A good salesperson goes off-script, and finds a new angle or approach—and swiftly, before she loses the prospect's attention.
Are you intuitive, and can sense when others are bored or uncomfortable? Are you good at switching gears to liven things up? People with this skill have the adaptability and creativity needed to keep a sales conversation moving in the right direction. Entrepreneur ranks this kind of "resourcefulness" as a key characteristic of successful sales people.
Consider Herzing College's Business Administration diploma program, delivered at several campuses, including Winnipeg. Training leads to entry level business positions in several disciplines, such as sales, and is available both on campus and online.
Visit the program page to see a complete list of business administration courses, potential career paths, admission information—or to chat live with a knowledgeable advisor. We're here to help!