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Skills important for a career in sales


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Sales positions are everywhere - in the IT industry, business, pharmaceutical, entertainment - you name it. It's a diverse field that gives people the ability to work in any industry that interests them, whether it is fashion or finance. Starting a career in sales can be very rewarding and very challenging. Because of the high turnover rate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states the job prospects are high in the sales field.

Jobs in sales totaled more than 4.5 million in 2008, according to the BLS and the number is growing steadily. While the type of sales job can vary, the skills needed for a successful career are similar across the board, regardless of the industry.

Communication Skills

Trying to sell a product takes more than just simply displaying an item for customers. A good sales person must be a good listener and communicator.  You must be able to understand and sometimes uncover a customer's needs, as well as be able to sell the benefits of your product or service.  Barking a rehearsed sales pitch will only take people so far. Recognizing what a person may need from the product or service could be the difference between a successful sale and those who say they "will get back to you."

Business Savvy

Inc. Online Magazine says that being able to quantify the value in how a product will benefit a customer or solve a particular need will help you seal the sale. According to the magazine, helping the customer understand the cost of the problem they are having will allow them to have a tangible idea about the monetary savings or value associated with the product, and may possibly inspire them to purchase.

The most successful sales people are highly self-motivated.  They have the drive and determination to set their own goals and take the steps necessary to achieve them.  Being self-motivated means that you don't have to rely on a boss to tell you what to do every step of the way. As a sales person, you may be given a quota or particular sales target in terms of dollars or volume sold.  The self-motivated person will do whatever it takes to meet their goals. That may mean increasing the number of cold calls, working extra hours, seeking out new clients, polishing sales techniques and having the stamina to accept rejection and keep on selling. In commission-based sales positions and jobs involving extensive cold-calling, self-motivation is vital to success.

Last Updated: 11/08/2010 - 9:41 AM

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