• July 23, 2020

The 5 Worst Reasons to Go Into Sales

The 5 Worst Reasons to Go Into Sales

If you were to interview a swath of salespeople across industries and ask how they ended up in the profession, you’d likely get answers that are quite varied. The path to sales can be a winding one, and people who never envisioned a career as a salesperson oftentimes end up having long and successful stints as salespeople, albeit initially reluctant ones.

While there are some great reasons to go into sales, there are also some really bad ones too. Far too many people attempt sales for these “wrong” reasons, leading to disappointment, burnout, and high turnover. So if you’re considering a sales job for any of the following reasons, you might want to think twice.

1. You want some freedom 

Yes, there are sales jobs that give people freedom, but there’s a catch… actually, there are two. One: the jobs that are likely to give you total freedom will be commission-only, which means that you’ll only get paid if you put in the effort. So if “freedom” means you spend your day at the beach, you won’t get a paycheck. And two: while there are sales jobs where recurring revenue will allow you to sit back and occasionally answer calls while collecting a great income, it takes years of hard work to build up the customer base required to get there. In sales, as in life, there aren’t any shortcuts.

2. Just for the money

For those who want to make money, going into sales is a logical choice. The desire for money on its own, however, usually isn’t enough. To be sure, there are people who are so money-hungry that they can turn themselves into machines who only need a big commission or bonus check to keep going. But the majority of humans want to be fulfilled in other ways, and need to derive some other purpose or satisfaction from their sales job aside from that monthly direct deposit. If you, like most people, are the latter, then simply wanting to make money won’t be enough to compel you to stay in sales, especially when the going gets tough.

3. Because you’re “outgoing” 

There’s a bloody ocean filled with outgoing and charismatic people who thought they’d make incredible salespeople only to find themselves chewed up and spit out by a profession where it takes more than personality to succeed. Sales is hard work, and it takes consistent effort, stress management, creativity, and thick skin to survive. Before assuming that it’s a natural fit, charismatic people should talk to somebody in sales about what the day to day looks like, then humble themselves before making a go at it.

4. Income stability 

While it’s certainly true that a competent salesperson should be able to earn an above average income over the course of a year, those who are seeking consistent income stability will be frustrated with the ups and downs that come with working on a quota. Of course, there is a middle ground, and lots of sales jobs offer a base salary or a draw to give their employees some consistency. But generally speaking, salespeople should be comfortable with variation and uncertainty in their paychecks.

5. Because you think it’s easy

Any salesperson who hears someone say that what they do is easy will usually smile, laugh, or get upset. Sales may seem simple, but it’s definitely not easy. If it was, then salespeople wouldn’t be as well compensated as they are. The amount of sustained effort it takes to be successful drives lots of people out of the business, leaving only those with grit and a tolerance for stress behind to grind it out. So if you’re thinking about getting a sales job because you think it’s going to be an easy way to make a lot of money, think twice, or, better yet, give it a shot and find out for yourself.