Jeb Blount tells you what you need to know before you start looking for a better sales job.
We received this question from a retail sales pro named Dan. He writes:
A little more than a year ago, I took a job as an inside salesperson for a big-box retailer. What started out as just a job that was available during a down economy quickly became one of my favorite work experiences, and I'm realizing that I really love sales. I'm considering the possibility of moving on to a more professional sales job. But I'm a little concerned about leaving behind the safety and security of my nice, reliable paycheck. The transition would be made easier if I could tell the difference between a good sales job, and a bad one. So, my question is, as a person looking for a first time outside sales position, what do I look for to find a good, rewarding, profitable place to work.
Dan, I'm thrilled to hear that you have found a love for sales. I also believe that you are wise to look before you leap. It is easy to make a mistake and end up with the wrong company, manager, or industry. Getting a better sales job is something that millions of salespeople struggle with each year – no matter how much experience they have.
So here are some tips for finding a better sales job:
Discover Where You Fit. Start off by reading the book Discover Your Sales Strengths. This book will help you determine "fit". Fit is important because to be successful you need to find an industry, product, service, and management team that fits your particular talent and skill set. Working at a sales job that doesn't fit you is miserable (I've been there and done that!)
This introspection will also help you determine the type of sales role that is right for you.