Having the opportunity to speak to many individuals, I have come to realize that most them think about of demanding revenue targets, nonstop calls, long working hours and facing rejections when they hear about sales.
While I do agree that some sales roles can be challenging, this one-sided perception takes away from the fact that the field of sales is often one of the most rewarding career choice. Depending on your choice of work, sales role will likely afford you flexible work schedule, a chance to diversify your skills and high compensation potential.
Being an entrepreneur in the Financial Services Industry myself, here are some misconceptions that were shared by fellow practitioners and entrepreneurs that they don't want potential candidates and industry newcomers to believe. Here's why these leaders say sales is a great field to get into, especially when you are looking to rise above mediocrity.
1. Sales Is An Unstable Career Path
Sales careers especially in the Financial Services are often associated with long hours and fluctuating incomes, but that’s not really the case today. With proper training, mentoring and the right agency culture, sales professionals can work fairly regular schedules and earn consistent incomes. In a post-Covid-19 world, many of the things we used to travel to do in person can now be done online. Sales is a more stable career than new individuals might think, and it offers a great business foundation that they can take with them if they decide to embark on other roles in the future.
2. Sales is not just a job but a Mindset
A common misconception about sales is that it's “just a job.” Of course, it is a job, but more importantly, sales is also a mindset, a way of thinking about and doing things.
It's important to understand the fundamental importance of sales skills, the power of influence, how habits impact our behaviors, and what it takes to create a strong rapport with the people we work with. By knowing and pulling these levers, sales professionals can really open doors and create a strong impact. It’s a life skill that is important for one to make the most out of life for both personal and professional growth.
3. Selling Is Negative
Many people perceive sales as a negative, but when you actually work to identify a need that the potential buyer has, I believe that it's our duty to tell the person about your solution. Selling something is not a bad thing. What’s important is to sell something the right way which allows us to be "of service" to the potential buyer.
In this way, we can be "of service" by helping the person solve a problem. If they don't have a problem or a need for what we are selling, then move on. Sales is a great field and a great experience when we find a product or solution that truly meets a market need. Otherwise, the salesperson is trying to swim upstream in a very frustrating and unfulfilling way and probably inadvertently causing a lot of the negative perceptions attached to selling.
4. Sales is Sleazy
Many individuals view sales as a variation of the used car salesman or an Insurance agent trying to push sell a product for their personal benefit. The truth is, sales is simply the medium with which our modern civilization was built, and those who are able to master the art do well in almost any industry.
Sales transcend any specific niche or market, and when you are a master of the craft, you can begin to pick and choose where and for whom you work. Very few skill sets give you that level of freedom of choice. There is a reason the best salespeople work off commission rather than salary as that’s the main reason why there is a potential for high income.
5. Sales Makes People Uncomfortable
Those looking into options for their future careers may think sales is bad. They have a misconception that it’s so bad that they believe that those in sales are not being respected because they are seen to be too pushy. The thought of having to sell to their family and friends can feel strange and uncomfortable.
As someone who came from a military and engineering background and got into sales, I will tell you that you are wrong. We are selling and being sold to every single day, several times a day. Think about it, what are we trying to achieve during a job interview? The fact is we try to sell the idea that we are the best candidate for the available job. Sales is never an “uncomfortable” career path if we are aligned with the product and/or service that we are providing.
6. Salespeople Aren't Interested In Helping Others
The truth is we are no longer in the '90s when intrusive telemarketing gave this field a bad reputation. Modern sales is about helping customers find solutions to their problems. It's not about tricking anyone into buying something they don't need. And sales don’t even have to be outbound, as today's customers prefer to be looking for help on their own.
Here's a similar example shared earlier to help you change your perspective on this. When we go to a job interview, what we are doing is trying to sell our skills to the employer who is looking for them. Both of us need it so essentially, it's about demonstrating value and achieving a Win-Win result.
Fundamentally, sales is about investing time in understanding our prospects’ pain points in order to demonstrate value and help them solve a problem. The role of the salesperson has adapted as our customers continue to adapt, and now more than ever. we’re on the other end providing customers with advice, guidance, and resources about the product to help a business run as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Sales training and experience in problem-solving for customers provide a solid foundation for professional growth and success. In fact, 85% of company leaders and entrepreneurs started out in sales and once they understood selling and the sales process, there is nowhere to go but up.
So, if you’ve fallen prey to any of these myths about working in sales, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Sales is a lucrative and rewarding career and should be accessible to anyone in today’s modern business culture.
If you’re thinking about a career in sales, especially in Financial Services, but don’t know where to start, then it’s time we have a chat.
Sakthivel Thevar is an award-winning leader in Financial Services and a highly sought-after international speaker and Maximum Performance coach within the business and corporate circle starting his career in the most challenging way possible, as a military officer and Airborne Ranger in the Singapore Armed Forces.
I would love to share more about my career in the financial planning industry with as many individuals out there so let’s chat if I can add value to you by clicking on the link below: