No matter the industry, the role or position, or the products and services with which a professional works, every profession is in sales.
Many job seekers are in a position where no matter how many resumes they send out the call back for an interview remains a rarity. Many other professionals who are employed are in a cycle of job changes, where no position seems to bring the hoped for success. Both of these situations might be attributed to one misunderstanding: Every profession is in sales. Beginning with cover letters, resumes, and interviews and continuing through entry to executive level careers, every professional works in sales in one form or another.
Perhaps the best advice for job seekers can be encapsulated in just two words, “Sell yourself.” Whether looking for a new career while between positions or looking to change positions from a current employer, every job seeker needs to be able to sell his or her qualifications, personality, and dedication to prospective employers to convince that employer that he or she is right for the job. There is no point of view where this is not a selling prospect! The process successful job seekers follow is the same process that successful sales leaders follow day in and day out:
Customer service and the customer experience is a sales driven process, even when no direct selling is involved. This is because any professional in a customer facing role is representing his or her company, and must perform like a sales person in order to satisfy the customer. The customer driven approach is a core competency in sales, and organizations that are successful ensure that professionals at all levels, from the reception area to the customer service desk to the C-suite, understand that each positive customer interaction is a further invitation to do business with their company. Consider:
All professionals must master the art of negotiation, which is a sales skill because negotiation in itself is a sales pitch, even if the exchange is not for money. To start with, all professionals, in or out of sales, negotiate salary and benefits with their employers. All professionals negotiate internally with peers, reporting employees, and superiors on deliverables within their spheres of responsibility. And all professionals negotiate for internal buy-in on their ideas for new processes, services, and even products, even if they will not be selling these ideas directly to customers themselves.
In this context, negotiating price and delivery with customers is the only type of negotiation that sales people might be doing differently than all other professionals – and even that cannot be taken as a given.
No matter the industry in which a professional works, the role which a professional fills, or the products and services with which a professional works, every profession is in sales. Whether it is landing an employment offer, accomplishing career goals, or moving ahead to positions of further responsibility, all professionals must use key sales strategies to succeed – even if they do not perceive themselves as working ‘in sales’. Understanding that sales is something all professionals must do can be the deciding factor in career success.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.