I want you to consider the image that comes to mind when you think about salespeople. It’s a picture mostly created by Hollywood – where there is a love affair with painting the worst possible representation of the salesperson.
In the movies the salesperson is usually a cheesy, pushy, guy in a brown polyester suit talking a million miles a minute, glad handing a client, with his foot stuck in the door. Usually, at some point, down on his luck.
For the vast majority of people the word “sales” sends chills up their spine and makes the hair stand up on the back of their neck. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, “I don’t know how you do it, I could never be in sales”, well let’s just say that Bill Gates and I would be good friends.
Just look around you. See if you can find anything that has never been sold? Every product and service and every component to every product and service has at some point is its lifecycle been sold – some times over and over again.
Now think about boardrooms, business meetings, politics, and even your own family. Everywhere around the world every day we are selling others on our ideas so that we can get what we want. And those ideas, when bought by others, help shape our lives and our businesses.
If you lead a company, manage a business, work in business, or are part of a start-up, your actions and knowledge of sales have a direct and important impact on the growth and profitability of your organization.
The good news is sales, as a profession, has reached a new era.
Academia, for decades, has looked down its nose at selling. But now business schools are is embracing the sales profession as never before. In the United States more than 50 Universities and Colleges offer sales degree programs and more are adding sales programs each year. Major employers, are stepping up to sponsor college sales programs and flock to the National Collegiate Sales Competition each spring in search of the best sales talent.
There are three key reasons for this change in attitude:
- Studies indicate that around 70% of college graduates will engage in a selling role at least once in their career.
- Business schools have become aware that alumni working in the sales profession are out earning engineers, MBAs, accountants, and marketers. They are also advancing further and faster in their careers than other graduates.
- Despite the nearly constant reports that the death of sales is near, the most recent workforce trends indicate that worldwide, sales is the most in-demand career category. Over at Sales Gravy there are more than 50,000 sales jobs posted and our clients have an insatiable need for more heads.
This is why top students in business schools across the country are choosing sales as a profession. While their peers are living at home while slinging coffee at their local coffee shop, these newly minted sales pros are bringing home huge starting salaries and enviable commissions and bonuses.
The fact is, there are only two kinds of people in business: Those who sell and those who support people who sell. Either way if you want to get ahead in business you must embrace sales to succeed.
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