Job Title: Professional Salesperson
Type of Company: My company manufactures and sells acoustical ceiling products: anything from ceiling grids to high-end metal ceilings.
Education: BA, Business Management, Plymouth State University (Plymouth, MA)
Previous Experience: I managed a five-person sales force for a building products manufacturer.
Job Tasks: There is no such thing as a typical day in a field sales position and that is what makes the job interesting and certainly never boring. One of my key responsibilities is the marketing and promotion of my products to the various "influencers" and users. Influencers are people who recommend our products. They include architects, building code compliance officials and testers. The users of our products include acoustical ceiling contractors, distributors and home or business owners. I make presentations to these groups informing them of the benefits of using our products in an effort to create demand for the products. I spend time researching new commercial building opportunities to see if my products will fit into the design they have in mind.
In addition to promoting our products, I must also set up a distribution network made up of distributors and contractors to get them out to consumers. I maintain relationships with this network of contractors and distributors to make sure they are satisfied with our products and that they deliver and use them effectively.
Ultimately, in a sales job, you are in charge of setting up your own business unit and you have to deal with the everyday issues that affect business owners. It is that excitement that makes the professional sales position a rewarding one.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are the potential for very high income and the flexibility of the work. Most professional sales jobs offer lucrative compensation packages based on your sales performance, which means the more you sell the more money you can make. If you manage your time effectively you can be flexible with your work schedule.
The worst parts of the job include dealing with problems that take time away from your revenue producing activities. Those include product defects and transportation problems that keep you from spending time in the field selling. However, the worst parts of the job offer you an opportunity to fix these problems and show your ability to handle crisis situations.
1. You must be resilient and thick-skinned. More often than not, you will get "No" as an answer and many nos can be discouraging. You must be confident and be able to move on to be successful.
2. Pay attention to how people try to sell things to you: commercials, telemarketing, billboards, direct mail, seminars, vendors etc. Someone is constantly trying to sell you something, so pay attention to how they do it and what makes it successful or a failure.
3. Attend a school with a reputable business program with teachers who have several years of business experience.
4. Invite people to critique your sales presentations. Their input may help you improve it.
Additional Thoughts: In a professional sales position that includes either a salary plus commission or straight commission, you are being paid to be successful. If you are not successful, you don't get paid. This job is a high risk, high reward position. That means you must be motivated to succeed.
Qualities that will serve you well are the ability to speak and communicate well in front of people, have no fear of failure and determination to be the best at what you do.
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