TULSA, Okla., February 4, 2015 — According to The Wall Street Journal, millennials are reluctant to take sales jobs immediately after college graduation. Rarely today do newly-minted graduates and job seekers aspire to sales careers, since most people, at least in their demographic, associate sales jobs with telemarketers calling at dinner time or with sales clerks nipping at their heels at the mall.
What college students do not realize is that sales jobs can help build valuable skills that come in handy when considering a start-up business. People come up with ideas all the time for start-ups — everything from software firms to food trucks. But it’s knowing how to sell the product or service that largely determines the success of the start-up, along with crisp execution and, perhaps, a little bit of luck.
The U.S. is a land built on sales. Corporate America is always trying to sell you something, whether through advertising or direct pitches, all developed by serious marketeers. For the most part companies are very good at convincing people to buy what they are selling, creating in turn, huge opportunities for those looking to get into sales.
After all, a marketing plan is one thing. But having boots on the ground is often the way you close the deal, particularly in industrial sales where commissions can be astronomical for those willing to put in the time. Yet parents don’t want their children to be salespeople. They would rather see them off to law school or medical school. Arguably, both professions are on a slow, downhill slope when it comes to compensation.
The fact remains that skills developed in marketing and sales can be easily redeployed for a start-up with running a campaign in promoting a product/service through social media, word of mouth, or advertisement.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, was a sales person for Xerox and he learned valuable lessons from his sales job that eventually helped with the success of Starbucks. A sales job teaches a person the key values of perseverance, goal setting, along with the competitive drive needed to meet your goals.
A student can read all the books in the world about sales or entrepreneurship. But it takes that first sale−or even hearing “no” countless number of times−that can push an energetic person to his limits. This is precisely the kind of skill set that’s needed by any entrepreneur when launching a start-up business.
And that’s why looking down at getting some sales experience is a great idea rather than a losing proposition.