Getting a job or even a job interview, especially in sales, can be a long and drawn-out process.
Whether you’re new to the sales sector or simply searching for professional growth, I’m sure you have questions about this topic.
This article will help you understand what counts as sales experience, how to improve sales skills, and also tips on how to land a sales position without any prior experience, so there’s something for everybody.
Let’s dive in!
What counts as sales experience?
Many activities fall into sales experience description, but they all have one thing in common: you’ve spent time interacting and talking with clients so as to persuade them to buy something by demonstrating how your product would improve their lives.
Consider this: if you ever run a lemonade stand as a youngster, you already have sales experience. You didn’t have a well-established business, but you persuaded your consumers to buy your lemonade by demonstrating how it would make them happier than they were before they purchased it.
While having a lemonade stand when you were five years old won’t help you land a job today, you could be familiar with certain classic sales experiences such as working as a cashier at a retail shop or a fast-food restaurant or being an account manager at a local firm.
Here are some sales experience examples you might be unaware of:
- Broker in real estate
- Demonstrator or advocate of a product
- Insurance agent
- Having a lemonade stand as a kid (really, really!)
- Persuading a buddy to join you on a vacation (basically an informal travel agent)
Simply put, if you’ve ever had to sell a product, an idea, or simply a recommendation, you’ve had sales experience!
Why sales experience is important
To improve your win rate, you’ll need sales experience. As you move more offers through your sales funnel, you’ll begin to develop a process that works for you. The more the number of experienced salespeople on a team, the higher the sales income.
Ask any experienced salesperson and they’ll tell you the same – communication, social, and time management skills acquired in a sales career are important in both personal and professional life in general.
How to get sales experience
Getting a sales-focused job is the easiest way to get sales experience (duh). However, this isn’t always the easiest option in today’s job market.
I’ll go through some other ways and some tips on how to gain sales experience and start honing your professional abilities in the sections below.
- Accept the fact that you’ll have to start over
Some people are born salespeople and entrepreneurs, so they have no trouble picking up the skills, charm, and communication qualities required to thrive at closing transactions. You could discover that you’re in the opposite situation and that developing the abilities you’ll need to succeed will take some time.
Given this, one of the most significant things to consider before entering the sales sector is whether or not you’re willing to start from scratch. Everyone, as the cliché goes, has to start somewhere.
- Check out sales books
Many seasoned sales professionals are eager to share their knowledge with the rest of the world. Some of them have authored books on sales that explain tactics and offer advice on how to become a good salesperson.
Take advantage of what sales pioneers want to teach you!
- Enroll in a sales training program or a sales course
Signing up for a sales course, webinar, or a training program if you have the financial means is a superb method to get sales experience before landing a sales position.
You’ll study the fundamentals of selling and participate in various activities, you’ll have more opportunities to make errors, learn from them, and develop practical skills that will prepare you for future one-on-one meetings with clients.
These possibilities will also allow you to form professional relationships, which can help you network and find jobs in the future.
- Get a job in sales
Well, this is the most obvious one.
It’s crucial to realize that you do NOT have to land a sales position with a huge firm right away.
Start small in a retail role to learn how to engage with consumers and become a better communicator, then work your way up to other positions as your experience and talents grow.
Sales experience skills
There are some abilities that every salesman should possess, regardless of their degree of expertise. Let’s have a look at them now.
- Active listening
Asking key questions and listening closely to your leads so you can understand their problems and difficulties on a deeper level, not just superficially is vital.
You must be an engaged listener who pays attention to what your prospects have to say, so they feel like you actually care about them and you’re not simply trying to sell your product.
As a salesperson, the ability to communicate effectively across numerous channels is the most important talent to possess.
You must explain why what you have to offer is the greatest option, properly answer queries, and simply conduct a discussion and be approachable to leads.
- Time management
Sales is a fast-paced career that demands you to multitask at all times.
It is vital to understand how to efficiently manage your time in order to finish your duties and achieve success.
This is especially vital when engaging with consumers, because it’s all too easy to miss a phone call, claim you’ll call back later, then entirely forget about it and lose a valued customer.
Also, rest assured your prospective clients won’t tolerate tardiness or disorganization. If they feel like you don’t respect their time, you can say goodbye to that sale.
Prospecting is a crucial skill since it allows you to fill your pipeline with qualified prospects who are interested in what you have to offer.
Knowing how to prospect guarantees that you aren’t wasting time chasing down the incorrect leads and letting qualifying chances slip through the cracks.
- Product knowledge
While your knowledge will be particular to what you sell, it is vital to have a thorough understanding of what you’re selling.
This makes it easier for you to respond to inquiries, create value propositions, and feel confident in yourself since you know what you’re talking about.
When you are confident in your product, it makes the prospect confident about your agreement too.
- Relationship management
Although it extends to customer service, relationship management is an important skill for salespeople if they want to retain customers.
From timely email responses to after-sales follow-up to ensure clients are delighted with their purchases, showing appreciation and nurturing connections is essential.
What if you have no sales experience?
Although it may appear to be a barrier, having no prior sales experience is not that big of a deal as it might look. As previously said, everyone must begin somewhere.
Always remember that even the most experienced salespeople had zero experience at some point.
If you have no experience, your main question might be – “How do you answer sales experience related questions in an interview?”
Let’s look at how you can approach your lack of experience in a sales interview to demonstrate your will to learn more.
- Show how your existing skills are transferable
This is a perfect example if you’re wondering “What should I write in sales experience section of my resume?”
Nobody has all of the qualifications and experience mentioned in a job description. As a result, while writing resumes, cover letters, and interviewing, make use of your present talents and demonstrate how they’re transferrable to the position you want.
If you’ve worked as a service representative, for example, you’ve had a lot of practice dealing with consumers and resolving their needs.
You’ll meet these consumers at various stages of their buyer’s journey in sales, but you already have the communication abilities to succeed in both roles. Include every single sales-related experience you can think of.
- Don’t forget to network
When it comes to establishing a sales career with little or no expertise, networking is crucial.
Make professional contacts with leaders and professors if you’ve taken or plan to take sales or business-related courses, since they might be aware of job possibilities and may want to give you a recommendation.
Make use of LinkedIn, go to industry-related events, and get your name out there.
- Be willing to start from square one
Being eager and receptive to starting from the beginning is crucial. This is something you’ll have to accept if you want to work in sales but have zero experience.
Be willing to learn everything from the ground up, or to start with a profession that isn’t your ultimate aim but will help you get there.
Sales experience covers a wide range of skills, talent, and experience – if you dig a little deeper, you may find that you probably have more experience than you first imagined.
Even if you have zero experience in sales, don’t fret. It simply means you will have to try a bit harder and pay your dues before you start making serious bucks in sales. If you’re willing to do so, you’re halfway there!
Overall, sales may be a rewarding job that provides opportunities for new experiences. Starting from scratch and succeeding is not impossible; you just have to be prepared to put in the effort.