• 10 reasons why college grads should consider entry-level sales jobs

    April 25, 2017 by

     

    Entry-level sales jobs present a great opportunity for recent college grads to learn professional skills that last a lifetime. And below, a variety of entry-level sales professionals, as well as business owners and sales executives with experience at companies like Google, IBM, AOL, and Dell Computers, talk about the unique and life-long skills developed through an entry-level sales job. Here is what every recent college grad needs to know to succeed in a career in sales:

    1. Sales jobs are not restricted based on one’s degree

    Recent college grads and entry-level sales professionals who are able to participate in a company-sponsored sales training program will learn skills that last a lifetime, says Maddy Osman, an SEO content strategist and digital marketing professional. Before she started her own business, Osman worked as an account representative for Groupon, where she went through over two months of cold-calling sales training, graduating among the top 5 of 25 trainees in her class. Osman says she still refers to the sales materials she learned in that training and applies it to her digital marketing role.

    “Even if you never work in sales again, you’ll learn about psychology, and negotiation, which will help you when getting a new position, negotiating for a higher salary, or creating strategic partnerships,” said Osman.

    In her role at Groupon, Osman worked alongside employees who majored in liberal arts, theater, marketing, and history, to name a few. The common denominator among those who were successful was that they were outgoing, and/or held student leadership roles at their college or University.

    “There wasn’t one area of study more represented than another,” said Osman. “So it’s not necessarily about the degree – as long as you have one.”

    That being said, one doesn’t have to go through a dedicated sales training program to succeed in entry-level sales jobs. Learn why below.

    2. Everyone can succeed in sales – even those who don’t think they can sell

    Mac Anderson graduated from Miami of Oho in 2015 with a degree in marketing. Anderson achieved a lot while in college, working a part-time job at a bar/restaurant, volunteering for two non-profits, and maintaining a full course load and active social life.

    “I learned a lot about myself by trying new things and making a leap of faith,” said Anderson.

    Anderson had a wide variety of other experiences too. He coached a traveling youth baseball team, and was a laborer on a construction crew. He also worked in sales, marketing, and logistics for a non-profit called Top Box Foods.

    But it’s his current entry-level sales job at ParqEx that has Anderson buzzing about where his career is going. ParqEx is a marketplace (mobile app + website) that allows owners of underutilized parking spaces to rent out their parking, by the hour, day, week or month, to a driver in need of convenient, affordable parking. ParqEx specializes in hard-to-park neighborhood and has partnered with many local neighborhood organizations and chambers of commerce to solve the parking nightmare.

    “I honestly never thought of myself as a salesman because I did not think I had the right characteristics,” said Anderson. Soon after Anderson started in his current role, he was presenting to a group of over 100 builders (and potential clients) – an experience that has played a key role in him developing a positive, can-do attitude, and desire to succeed in sales.

    “I have learned that I can do literally anything I set my mind to,” said Anderson.

    But many recent college grads are afraid to do what makes them uncomfortable, or not familiar to them in their job or career. Especially early in their career, and especially if it’s a 100 percent commission-based sales job. That’s why many recent college grads shy away from sales careers. But it’s been the exact opposite affect for Anderson, and has helped him thrive as a professional

    “Getting out of your comfort zone is essential for personal and professional growth,” says Anderson.

    Every sales person has a different style, says Anderson. That’s why he feels there’s no one-size-fits-all template to sales success. “Just try new tactics, do what feels right for you personally, and always be positive and confident,” says Anderson. “You will get comfortable and find your style.”

    Kevin Cote, Director of Sales at Namely, a leading HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform for mid-sized companies, agrees.

    “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” says Cote. “The only way to grow in sales and win business is to be confident in asking difficult questions, navigating awkward or tricky objections, and mastering the science of being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”

    3. Sales is perfect training for future CEO or business owner Continue Reading

  • Spotlight on success: How to succeed in a commission-based sales role

    April 06, 2017 by

     

    Name: Eric Leger
    City/state: Austin, Texas
    Current profession: Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac
    Years with current company: 15
    College/University attended: Lubbock Christian University

    Recent college grads seeking opportunities to set their own schedule, earn unlimited income, and develop professional skills that last a lifetime, can do so by pursuing commission-based sales jobs.

    But it’s not easy for recent college grads to see the potential of a commission-based sales opportunity, especially when there are bills to pay, they have limited sales experience, and are afraid to take risks. Because in effect, a commission-based sales career is a risk. However, it’s a risk that comes with rewards that are not potentially offered through a traditional salaried, full-time job.

    “Commission-based sales opportunities are attractive for outgoing, motivated, competitive people who want a high degree of autonomy,” said Steven Rothberg, Founder of College Recruiter. “With risk comes greater reward, so if you perform well then you should make more money than a salaried employee doing similar work.”

    That’s what Eric Leger of Austin, Texas learned. Leger, like many new to sales, was once apprehensive about giving up the security of a bi-weekly paycheck provided through his career as a teacher and a coach. But he was also frustrated by the limited ability to earn more money to help support a family of five, as well as a lack of work-life balance, and reward for success.

    But that was 15 years ago, and now, Leger knows that his decision to switch to a commission-based sales opportunity was the best career move he ever made. Leger, who started out in field sales, moved up the company ladder and is now the Vice President of National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover.

    “First of all, I quickly learned that working in sales is an honorable profession,” said Leger. “I admit, going to work in a 100 percent commission role was a little bit intimidating, and as someone who was the breadwinner for a family of five, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into.”

    But Leger, like all Aflac field sales reps do when they start out, went through a dedicated 13-week training session, and through support and mentorship from local and regional sales directors, continuing education and training, found success as an independent contractor working in a 100-percent commission-based sales position.

    “For the first time in my life, I truly felt I was getting paid what I was worth,” said Leger. “I also enjoyed the opportunity to get out in the field, meet other business owners, and present our product to them, because I truly believed it added value to the businesses and clients we serve.”

    Finding the right product can make or break a commission-based sales career.

    “If you’re good at sales and selling a product that is desired by the marketplace, you can make really good money,” said Rothberg.

    Leger agrees, noting that he was motivated by Aflac’s strong reputation, and for the opportunity to work with business owners to sell a product that provided security to the many diverse business owners and clients.

    “Recent college graduates need to know choosing what product or service one sells plays a major role in job satisfaction and success,” he says. “The bottom line is, you have to be passionate about the product, and aligned with the right brand, and a brand that is in-demand,” says Leger.

    Recent college grads don’t need a previous sales background to succeed in commission sales jobs. So that means someone with a liberal arts degree, communications degree, business degree, marketing degree, or even a degree in education like Leger, can succeed with the right training and soft skills.

    These are the key soft skills sales professionals need to have or develop for success, says Leger:

    • Grit and resiliency
    • Goal-oriented
    • Strong work ethic
    • Persistence
    • Entrepreneurial spirit
    • Drive to work for themselves

    A typical day in a commission-based sales job involves prospecting, presenting and following up with clients through email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Depending on the company or role, there could be face-to-face team or individual sales meetings, or weekly sales conference calls. A good commission-based sales opportunity will provide support, coaching, ongoing training, and teach the art of selling. And handling rejection.

    “You have to realize that rejection or saying no is not personal, it’s just part of business,” says Leger.

    Many entry-level sales jobs require employees to work on-site. Other commission-based sales job, like Aflac, hire independent contractors who can work from wherever they want, including their own home, or through a local or regional office if it fits. The flexibility, upward mobility, income potential, and ability to operate like a small business owner through a career in sales can be an attractive career opportunity for the right person.

    “A career in sales is extremely exciting,” says Leger. “It’s one of the only true opportunities to truly earn what one is worth, and many recent college grads are attracted to the opportunities because of the mobility and flexibility. Learning the art of selling teaches skills that transfer to any industry, so it’s a great way to launch a career.”

    Want more information on how to succeed in a career in sales? Stay connected to College Recruiter for more advice and tips like this. Start by registering with College Recruiter to have job alerts emailed to you. Then visit our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

     

    Eric Leger, Vice President - National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    Eric Leger, Vice President – National Sales Training and Recruiting, Aflac

    Eric Leger is Vice President, National Sales Training and Recruiting for Aflac, an insurance company that provides supplemental insurance for individuals and groups to help pay benefits that major medical insurance doesn’t cover. Leger was a former teacher and coach who, 15 years ago, switched careers and started in a commission-based field sales rep role for Aflac. Leger is currently responsible for recruiting, training and leadership development of Aflac’s U.S. sales force.

  • Traveling Sales: A Lucrative Opportunity

    July 13, 2010 by

    A good salesperson that loves to travel will find that traveling sales positions are one of the most profitable sales jobs available. Companies are anxious to find strong salespeople that are willing to travel and will often compensate these employees very well. This wonderful career opportunity may be an ideal career for a talented and experienced salesperson that is looking for an exciting lifestyle.
    While traveling sales can be a terrific career choice, it is not for everyone. If you are considering venturing into this dynamic field, take a few minutes to consider some important factors. This will help you to determine if this job is really the right career for you.
    Can you adapt quickly to new situations?
    Traveling salespeople are always on the road. This means that they must be able to move around constantly without developing strong attachment to people, places, or things. Consider for a moment your situation. Do have a spouse or children who need you to be near by? Do have a pet that you can’t bear to part with? Think about your situation and then honestly assess if you would be able to leave your life behind for the majority of the month every month. You will not be happy or effective in your job if you constantly feel that you are abandoning your family or your life.
    Can you effectively handle stress and pressure?
    Traveling sales requires excellent time management skills. You must be able to quickly establish relationships and close sales. Often you will travel from sales visit to sales visit making time management critical. Additionally, you will encounter many new people and situations each day. You must be able to effectively handle change and pressure.
    Can you enjoy long periods away from home?
    Traveling salespeople generally live out of a hotel room. This means that you will spend months away from your personal possessions. You must enjoy living away from home and moving frequently. While this is hard for many people, others enjoy the opportunity to see and experience many different and unique areas of the country or world.
    These few questions will help you assess if traveling sales is the right lifestyle for you. If you decide to pursue this career path, you will discover many unique and wonderful benefits to this position. You will be paid well. You will see the country and sometimes the world. Some sales positions include a company car. All positions will cover the cost of your travel including: airfare, hotel, rental cars, gasoline and food.
    Traveling sales is the perfect position for a single person that is looking to experience new things while earning a substantial amount of money. Before accepting a traveling sales job make sure that you are ready to handle the challenges and face new situations. Also be sure that you will not be hurting important family relationships. This job is not an ideal position for someone with a spouse or children.
    If you are ready to take the plunge into this exciting and lucrative field, you will find that there are many exciting positions available for experienced sales people.