Eight days. According to a report from Harvard Business School, that’s the difference in time it takes to fill a sales position versus the average for all jobs.
That might not sound like a lot, but when it comes to hiring, a little more than a week is a huge amount of time.
So why aren’t people rushing into sales jobs? There are a lot of myths floating around about the career and, unfortunately, these myths are negatively affecting what job seekers think.
If people knew the reality of sales, there might still be an eight-day difference—but these positions would be filling eight days faster.
Read on to get the truth about a career in sales.
You Don’t Need to Be Extroverted
When you picture a salesperson, you probably picture someone who’s confident, outgoing, and talkative (maybe even fast-talking.) And if you don’t fit this popular image, it’s easy to assume that you won’t make a good rep.
But you don’t need to be an extrovert to succeed in sales. Every personality type offers its own strengths and weaknesses—meaning that virtually anyone who’s dedicated will do well.
Introverts, for instance, are typically great listeners. This quality is crucial when it comes to sales, as it helps reps pay attention to what their prospects are saying—and what they’re not—and identify the best strategy.
Meanwhile, people who fall in the middle of the introversion and extroversion spectrum (a.k.a. an ambivert) are strong salespeople as well. Since they can adapt to the situation, it’s relatively easy for an ambivert to exude energy when they’re, say, giving a product demo, and then dial it back when they’re hearing a potential customer list her concerns.
Extroverted professionals have their own unique advantages, which you’re probably most familiar with. They’re skilled networkers, meaning they can walk into a room and make four or five connections with no trouble. The ability to meet new contacts is, unsurprisingly, invaluable in a sales career.
You Only Sell to the Right Customers
You can be honest: do you assume reps spend all their time banging on doors, trying to push their product on innocent consumers? When you don’t have any experience in sales, falling prey to this stereotype is pretty common.
However, it’s pretty darn far from the truth. Modern salespeople take full advantage of the Internet—in just a couple of minutes, they can discover if a person or company is an ideal fit for their product, what type of budget that buyer has, the timeline they’re on, and more. Consequently, they don’t reach out to anyone who doesn’t seem like they’d want the product. Not only would that be a poor use of time for everyone involved, but selling to the wrong person leads to dissatisfied customers.
The role of the salesperson has shifted. She’s now a consultant, rather than a merchant.