Debunk Your Bias: Sales Jobs
This is part one in a series to explore opportunities in Sales and provide insight from experienced sales professionals on different ways to turn sales into a career.
I want to begin with a scenario. Let’s say a friend reaches out to you about needing help in buying a new car. Your friend trusts you, and you recently bought a car so the experience is still fresh and relevant. You gather information to assess what they’re looking for and then share your insight. When you provide advice, you’ll probably share the reasons behind your recent purchase, along with other options you considered or passed on. Your friend is so grateful for the information, and you help narrow down their choices to two cars. In this very common scenario, when you provide advice – as a good friend would – you’re actually selling your friend on a car.
You might think that’s not true because you’re just trying to help, but this is actually the essence of selling. Sales professionals want to help customers evaluate solutions for a problem until the customer can make a happy decision. The scenario I described above is a common situation, but this is how sales work in many different industries.
Have you heard of Sales Engineers? Sales Engineers have extensive knowledge of the mechanics around cutting edge technology, services, and products; they can also explain options and provide recommendations on solutions for various companies. Most Sales Engineers have engineering degrees but actually have a higher earning potential than other types of engineers. Their median salary is over $100,000 based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (April, 2019). Sales professionals are important for a growing business and are quite prevalent in our economy; there are about fourteen million Americans in sales and related occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018). The sales world is expansive and essential to a growing market for tangible and intangible products and services.
In this blog series, we want to debunk your biases on sales jobs and highlight opportunities that you may be missing out on. We have several employment partners who want to hire veterans and military spouses in sales roles, but it’s a challenge.
Why is it a challenge? Think about the military community. There is a set of industries that seem like a natural fit for veterans leaving the military, like defense contractors and government agencies. It’s evident in our 2017 Hire Heroes Report, which analyzes and summarizes trends with our clients, that the top three industries and job functions for hired clients are as follows:
- Government and Public Administration
- Defense Contracting
- Information Technology
- Safety / Security / Law Enforcement
- Administration / Clerical
- Installation / Maintenance / Repair.
These trends make sense since these are common careers in the military. After leaving the service, a new chapter can either be terrifying or the most rewarding step. It is important to face the risks and learn about opportunities outside of your comfort zone.
To help you make the best decision about your career path, we’ll be interviewing professionals in the field and representatives from companies with excellent cultures. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Hoag, VP of Medical Sales at CNF Medical and Dan Riley, Retired/Custom Design Project Manager at Achieve Global and Hire Heroes USA volunteer. Click the links below to get their full interviews:
- Mark Hoag, VP of Medical Sales, CNF
- Dan Riley, Retired/Custom Design Project Manager, Achieve Global
In the next Debunk Your Bias: Sales Jobs blog post, we’ll speak with veteran sales consultants at CaliBamboo and Grainger.
For more information on working in Sales, check out these recommendations:
- Salesforce: “Day in the Life of a Sales Person”
- Forbes: “Why Sales Is The Hardest Easy Job In The World”
- Forbes: “Ten Unmistakable Signs You Should Be In Sales”
- LinkedIn: “5 Sales Experts Explain Why They Love Selling”
- The Muse: “How Commission Works, Plus Everything Else You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Working in Sales”