People go into sales for many different reasons. Some do it because it’s all they ever wanted to do — the promise of a high-income and fast-paced career appeal to them. Others wind up in the profession after trying different things and discovering that they have a knack for it. Still, others become sales reps because it’s the only thing they’re good at; whatever the reason, there are millions and millions of sales reps in the world, and just as many unique stories.
But, (unfortunately), not everybody who works in sales is cut out for it. This is partly why the profession has such high turnover — if you lack the characteristics of a successful sales rep, you’re likely to find the job miserable, despite the high-income potential. Conversely, those who were “meant” to work in sales will enjoy the challenges inherent to the profession, will be more willing to push through the things that drive everybody else crazy, and will be handsomely rewarded for it in the end.
So how can you tell whether you were meant to work in sales? Here are some sure signs that point to yes:
1. You like a challenge
If the idea of doing something that’s difficult and fairly daunting doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re likely to have a tough time in sales. There are months when your goal seems so far out of reach that it feels like it will take a miracle to achieve it.
Some people will view it as a challenge worth taking on and will rise to the occasion, while others will give up, deciding that the battle is already lost. If you’re the former, then you might be a great fit for sales. If you’re the latter, you’re not likely to get far.
2. You’re motivated by money
Not everybody who works in sales is motivated by money, and not everybody who works in sales is motivated only by money. But the truth is that an appreciation for money helps tremendously, as it’s one of the major ways salespeople are rewarded for the difficult and complicated task of closing deals. Whether you like the finer things in life, or are obsessed with building out a hefty portfolio, as long as the idea of money helps you put in the effort required to succeed, you’re likely to do well in sales.
3. You get energy from talking to people
You can be an introvert and still be successful in sales. But if you find that talking to people drains you of your energy, then it’s going to be a very difficult few decades for you in the profession. On the flip side, those who are energized by human interaction will find themselves a natural fit for the role. The more people you talk to, the more deals you’re likely to close.
So if you thrive on picking up the phone, joining a video call, or going to networking events, then you’ll already have a built-in competitive advantage if you decide to go into sales.
4. You’re competitive (even if it’s with yourself)
A competitive drive can make all the difference in sales. It might even be more important than people skills, natural sales ability, or even the quality of leads that you’re assigned. Having a competitive nature means that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and in sales, this mindset is probably more important than anything else you could bring to the table.
It’s a hard job, and it requires lots of prolonged, oftentimes unpleasant effort. This is exactly why competitive people do so well: their competitiveness gives them the motivation to keep going, despite all else.
5. You don’t let rejection stop you (or slow you down)
Rejection sucks, there are no two ways about it. But it’s what you do after you’ve been rejected that will determine how successful you are in sales.
Many people will hang their heads and sulk, or spend days or weeks complaining about that deal they lost after months of effort. Successful salespeople, however, will pick up the phone ten minutes after they get rejected and try to find another deal. It goes on and on, and it rarely gets easier. But if you understand that rejection is just part of the job and take it in stride, then there will be little to stop you from reaching your sales goals (and beyond).
6. You know how to motivate yourself
Self-motivation is the key to success, and not just in sales. Those who can do things they don’t want to do when they don’t want to do them are the ones who will make their dreams a reality while everybody else rests on their laurels and wonders why they never get anywhere. And in sales, this is doubly so, because nobody is coming to save you.
- You must pick up the phone, type up that email, and be proactive.
- You must look for opportunities, even when there’s nobody around to tell you how to do it.
Self-motivation is the potion that can give you those big commission checks. So if you don’t have any, make sure you make it a point to learn it.
Finally, a sales process that gives you the freedom to sell.
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