Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why You Should Consider a Career in Sales

A career in sales can be a challenging but very rewarding field for former military leaders. Like many veterans, a successful salesperson should be driven, able to work autonomously, an achiever, and somebody with outstanding communication and presentation skills. Companies often look to former service members to fill their sales roles, because they want driven individuals to be the “face” of their organization.

A career in sales should be attractive to many transitioning veterans, because, not only is it financially rewarding, it is a very autonomous field. Research, cold calls, scheduling, presentations, follow-up, and closing a deal are ultimately driven by you alone. Military leaders  tend to gravitate naturally towards operations, management, and project management, but they should know that compensation in sales can top that these fields.

Sales is also a proven path to leadership. 85% of chief executives and senior managers either started their career, or at least have spent some time in their career in sales and felt that their roles in sales were critical to their professional development and career progression. As a veteran, you are inherently a good leader. And when you couple sales experience with leadership skills, veterans are routinely selected for promotion into leadership positions faster than their peers.
All this said, however, veterans should consider the unique challenges that come with a sales career. Sales requires extremely hard work, even in the face of rejection. And that hard work has to lead to results, as that is the main area by which your performance will be measured. And, finally, landing the sale often requires an on-call mentality where you’re available when your customer is.

While the skills translation may not be as straightforward as that of a Navy Nuke to a civilian Power Plant Operator, veterans like Teresa McTavish have found that their military background prepared them well for their new career. “I am a Sales Representative for Harsco Minerals. Having previously been in the Signal Corps, I see many similarities between my duties there and in my career,” explains McTavish, “My military experience provided me with leadership skills, confidence in presentation/organization/networking, resourcing skills, goal attainment skills, project management & team leadership/mentoring skills, all of which contribute to the sales industry.”

Okay, so you’ve weighed your options and have decided to pursue a career in sales. How do you translate your military responsibilities into a sales profile? Here are some tips:
  • Convince the interviewer that you have a record of performance and success, are competitive, possess outstanding drive and motivation, and the ability to work autonomously.
  • Convince the interviewer that you are a goal focused problem solver, with the ability to think on your feet.
  • Show that you possess strong presentation skills.
  • Be able to answer why you are interested in sales.
  • Let them know you are focused on sales.
  • Put together a brag book. Learn more about creating a brag book.
  • Review our prep module for sales interviews and practice sample questions.

To read more about a career in sales, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting and ingenuous post. Hope to see more sales information here. I am really impressed with your essay writing skills.