If you ask most people about "Sales" they will readily admit that they "...could never be in sales" ... and there are good reasons (and bad) why people feel that way. No question ... Sales is Tough (but so are many other jobs)!
You are always measured on your latest success.
There is often no time to actually celebrate a sales success, because by the time all the negotiations and contract work is done the actual win was months ago!
You have to deal with all kinds of people ... some you like and some that you don't.
You have to call and ask for business.
Your results are VERY measurable.
Very often your income is totally dependant upon your success.
You success may be very dependant upon other's ability to deliver the product or service that you sell.
People often say no ... and rejection is tough.
There are plenty of rewards to a Sales career also:
You can earn good money.
You are always at the "sharp end" of what your company does.
You can have a very real effect on your company's success.
You can use a sales career to vault into the executive suite.
You can have flexibility in your schedule to some degree ... if you are successful.
You can get to meet and build relationships with lots of interesting people.
Your skills are transferable.
Your role brings you into direct contact with key company decision makers.
You may get to have an expense account of some type (can also be tough on the health and exercise program).
The reality is that there is no cookie cutter when it comes to sales. I wrote a blog entry some time ago called Sales Success - a Secret Formula which really explained that there is NO secret to success in sales. If you commit to learning the role and working hard then you can be successful. If you are considering a career in sales then here are some things to consider:
Are you willing to learn ... and I mean continuously learn! Our world changes every day and a salesperson needs to be "relevant", and that takes an investment in yourself.
Are you willing to work hard? If you want to go home at 5pm every day, start at 8:30am and have an hour for lunch then you limit yourself immediately. You need to think like a business owner and do what it takes to win the business ... even it means long hours!
Do you like people? This makes it much easier! If you really avoid dealing with people then don't even bother ... if you are open to liking people then it can work. People want to buy from people that they enjoy working with ... and if they like you it helps. If you don't like them it is likely they won't like you!
Are you willing to be persistent, to overcome hurdles and keep going? To not give up at the first sign of resistance?
I chose a career in selling because I thought it was a better route to "the top" than my technical job (computer programmer) ... and I was right. I was told by many people that I would make a lousy sales person and I think that was mainly because they had a stereotype image of what a salesperson should be. It has been, and continues to be a hugely rewarding career and one of the best decisions I ever made. I can not however say that it has ever been easy!
So if you are considering a career in sales, only you can decide if you are ready for that kind of commitment ... then you have to "sell" somebody on taking a chance on you!
Good luck and good selling!