Why did you get into sales?



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Why Sales?

Great topic Laws...

Why did I get into sales..? By accident really, I graduated with a business degree and spent 12 months selling beer...err, actually running a bar for Bass but it was where I found that I could convince punters to try the new poisons we were offering...it was sales of a fashion.

I always had in the back of my mind I wanted to work in London and the only jobs ads for business graduates in London in the late nineties that didn't require experience were for Media Sales. I had no real idea what that was, two group interviews later, one at the recruitment consultant and one at Miller Freeman and I was a rookie Ad Sales rep in a tower block in Woolwich.....not the London I anticipated.

Since then I've sold ads, information, exhibition booths, sponsorship packages, businesses, subscriptions..all sorts, I even sell mental ideas to my mates when they aren't keen on them, and sometimes crazy DIY projects to my wife. I've been to places I never expected I'd see, know certain airports in foreign countries like the back of my hand and have a unhealthy obsession with air miles and loyalty points. I've met some great friends and also some equally bizarre people. Sales infiltrates your life, and the experiences you get, whether on a classified sales floor or at a meeting in a foreign land open up doors and connections that in my opinion no other career can do.

I do less front line sales these days, but I still celebrated the last deal I secured. They all count and they all give you that high and thats the reason why I still love sales now. It's funny, I once said unequivocally that I didn't want to be a salesman. My impression of the profession, yes note I said profession, before I got into it was pretty poor. These days my role is varied and wide but when someone asks me what I do, I usually say "I'm in Sales"....I'm now quite proud of being the thing I didn't want to be!

Duncan Wood more than 5 years ago

why did you get into sales

Personally Chris I wanted to be the new Jacques Cousteau!

Like many people I went into sales by accident and never really knew it or perhaps I did but the promise of being taught how to dive did it for me. Sales after all was for everyone else and was never an career option , or so I thought. I even remember swearing to University lecturers and classmates that I would never end up in sales when I graduated but with a work placement complete followed with a conditional offer of a job( 2:1 or no job sonny! ) and free scuba diver training I was now in.

Before I knew it I was running a technical diving certification body, (a bit daunting for a recent graduate even if that graduate was ahem..slightly older than your average one!) setting up and running our trade stands plus selling pipeline inspection cameras, ROV(Remotely Operated Vehicles) hire and all sorts of bits and pieces for the oil & gas sector. After a year or so with that under my belt the bright lights of London beckoned.

There came the same shock, like you I was too old to start again and based on the salary enjoyed in Aberdeen I couldn’t have possibly done what my c.v. claimed so it was start at the bottom and off we go again. My first job in London came too after an assessment centre and I remember having to describe why I would sell one particular photo over another, I knew nothing about photography and had to think quick so I decided to say why I wouldn’t sell them and after a process of elimination I ended up with my choices, a bit long winded and the other candidates thought I was barking but I think it showed I could think on my feet and that I believe is key to great sales work. (OK, OK, I did phone them every day for a fortnight or so afterwards and virtually demanded the job but that’s another story…)

Anyway here I am now in Media( a completely different world) and I remember the same pressure you describe for call numbers, digital displays, call waiting stats and all sorts of ways the sales floor could physically display to all and sundry how inept you were and thinking wtf is this? The psychology of this seemed to be all the wrong to me but unlike some as you say who call the fax number or my personal favourite the speaking clock and get found out I towed the line and cracked on. I still think in some cases it’s unnecessary and it’s just lazy/bad management as your sales figures will tell all in the end but it did teach me to always ask another question and that all calls are useful provided you gain some information from them, but mainly that quality is just as important as quantity and an essential part of the mix - get that balance right and you cannot lose!

Anyway looking back I suppose the only reason I got into sales is that I wanted to piss about in a dive boat and look, I ended up land locked in the centre of London - who knew :-)

Gordon Craig more than 5 years ago

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