For some people, there’s nothing more exciting than closing that deal. But it’s not just about the thrill, it’s about the survival of a business as well.
Sure, the creative industry allows you to flex artistic muscles, and the tech industry offers a glimpse into a brave new future, but without the skills to back it up with the right marketing and the ‘gift of the gab’, your talents will be wasted. You won’t be able to sell your services, and your product will grow stale on the (online) shelves.
Experience in the sales world will help you gain vital business skills and perspective to convince those around you to invest in your company, or help push your business forward (no matter the industry). Whichever your reasons for getting into sales, it will help you with anything you do after.
Becoming a salesperson doesn’t mean that you will have to live like an intern and have an intern’s salary. Some of the best jobs available today are in sales. If you have an interest in this field, check out these top-paying sales-related jobs below. And when you’ve landed on one, make sure to prepare yourself well so you ace that sales job interview.
1) Real Estate Agent
To legally practice real estate, you would need to get licensed. Since licenses are state-specific, you need to get one for the state you live in or wherever you plan to do your business. To be a licensed agent, you will need to pass both your state and national exams.
The best thing about trying to get into real estate is that you can usually complete your training in a matter of weeks. On average, you can earn around $45,000 a year, but your income will vary with your area of expertise, the commissions you garner, the locations you work in, and other factors. Top-selling real estate agents find an income of over $110K a year!
How do you go from a junior sales agent to pulling down those impressive six figures? As any salesperson knows, a personable nature is essential to a successful career in real estate. Hosting open houses will give you a chance to meet people in your area face to face. Other great ways to connect might involve connecting with your local press through Help A Reporter Out mailing lists, or making headway through social media advertising. Networking is key in any sales industry, and having the inside track with banks, builders, and interior designers will set you apart from the pack.
2) Advertising Agent
The job of an advertising sales agent requires only a bachelor’s degree for entry-level jobs. With the expansion into online advertising campaigns, the demand for online advertising managers has exploded in recent years. This type of sales and marketing isn’t exactly old-school Don Draper style, as there are a lot of other new elements involved.
The average salary for marketing, advertising and PR is expected to jump well past $100K in 2020. As more and more businesses focus on eCommerce, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with native marketing plans and social media. This growing industry has plenty to offer to a dedicated salesperson like yourself.
The best part is, regardless of how the ad industry is portrayed, this is a job about doggedness and determination, more than talent and charm. Creativity is important in so far is it gives you an edge on the competition. But it’s even more vital when you need to think about practical problem-solving solutions or consider budget constraints in your projects.
Sales jobs are often pitched as ideal for hyper-competitive, extroverted people, but ad agencies are environments where communication and a good team are both essential to your success, so if you’re not the lone wolf type, this might be just the job for you.
3) Manufacturers’ Representative
Automation in factories and warehouses is inevitable, but there are jobs in manufacturing that even the robots of today, can’t take over. One of these jobs would be that of a manufacturer’s representative. As a representative, it’s your job to represent your company, and ensure you know the ins and outs of your products.
In many cases, the manufacturer’s sales representatives work as independents. Attention to detail and the ability to self-motivate are critical skills in this job environment. You will receive extensive training from the company on the products themselves, but you are acting, essentially as an outsourced worker or freelancer. The ability to set your own hours makes this ideal for anyone interested in sales, who also values autonomy.
The great thing about working as a manufacturer’s representative is flexibility. Whatever your field is, you can probably pick up an entry-level job as a rep. For example, if you have a degree in IT but want a career in sales, you could work as a manufacturer’s representative for an IT firm to help you fully transition to the sales industry. You will likely go through extensive on-the-job training programs for weeks or sometimes for months. If you’re good at your job, you can make an average of $80,000 a year!
4) Software Sales Representative
If you’re a digital native, your bachelor’s degree in communications or computer science doesn’t have to mean toiling away in the IT department. As more and more companies continue to shift to digital services and eCommerce, there is huge pressure for software companies to constantly create updates, as well as fight to meet digital demands.
With an increase in digital traffic, there’s an increase in software to meet the demand. That means everything from cloud software for a secured, off-site network, to financial tools that process payment both locally and worldwide, software to handle encrypted data, sensitive data, and boardroom communications around the world. As the world moves faster, software companies rush to keep up, and there is no shortage of sales representatives needed to extoll the virtues of their virtual wares.
As a software sales representative, you’ll be trained in the ins and outs of CRM software, cloud management, and other business essentials for the world of 21st-century business. If you’re up-to-date on the jargon, and you have the gift of persuasion, you can build an impressive Rolodex quickly, and raise your average salary from the low end of $84,000 to over $100,000!
5) Health Care and Pharmaceutical Sales
As the boomer generation continues to age, the need for health care and health insurance continue to rise. From a sales perspective, this means that there’s plenty of lucrative opportunity in medical fields. Estimates point to the aging population to explain a rise in medical aid devices, health insurance packages, and pharmaceuticals. As these trends continue, it marks a good time to get into the world of health sales representatives.
Your sales salary in this field depends on whether you’re aiming for medical devices and treatment, or health insurance. Sales opportunities in this industry are seeing growth in all sectors. Six-figure commissions and included perks like options for your 401K are considered the norm at every aspect of the healthcare sales industry.
As with most industries, you should be aware that technology has changed the requirements for many sales jobs. Sales in the medical field aren’t exempt from these changes. As with any sales position, visibility and a recognizable name and face are essential. You will find it useful to add some social media (LinkedIn!) and marketing skills to your resume, even as you target the older generation.
6) Mobile/Digital Payment Solutions
We’ve discussed the growth of eCommerce and software solutions when it comes to new business. But it’s impossible to talk about the digital business world without discussing finance. Financial tech or FinTech is a constantly growing industry in this world of eCommerce and digital service. One of the fastest-growing subsets of this is a wide world of Mobile and Digital payment solutions.
Brick and mortar businesses can be slow to pick up new technologies. Recessions, market crashes, and data corruption can sometimes impact a business’ willingness to enter into the 21st-century world of eCommerce. But with the prospective forecast for eCommerce looking at a potential growth of 16% worldwide, digital payment solutions are a safe bet as a career choice, with a yearly salary of an average of $65K a year.
A background in IT and cybersecurity can help put reluctant adopters at ease, and improve your pitch, and your chances of a positive response!
7) Big Data/BI Sales Representative
Speaking of security concerns. Machine learning is growing in 2020. With increasing concerns around privacy and cybersecurity amid both businesses and the average consumer, anyone staying ahead of the game when it comes to handling and processing big data and automated systems is an asset.
Though you pay for an entry-level position as a big data representative is on the low side, getting to know, understanding the software, and providing the security that most businesses are looking for, can turn this into a lucrative business.
8) Major Gifts Officer
It may not feel like a sales job, but it uses the same skills of persuasion, practical problem solving and the ability to put your passion behind your project. In the non-profit sector, a major gift is an area where it’s possible to make up to $90,000 a year, with a bachelor’s degree, and the right experience. As a major gifts officer, it’s your job to sell the non-profit, its mandates and it’s capabilities, to big-ticket donors and important supporters.
The ability to show all the passion and dedication of an organization is key to generating the support, endorsements, and donations that many large non-profits need to keep running. If you’re someone passionate about the nonprofit sector, working as a major gifts officer can earn a respectable living, while allowing you the opportunity to work with an organization that speaks to you, that you can genuinely trust and advocate for.
Like all sales jobs, you’ll learn to use your existing connections to build your reputation. Though your connections will play an important role in your success, you’ll be expected to work as a team. Whether or not you stay in the non-profit sector, you’ll learn great problem-solving skills, and how to deal with practical constraints of money, scheduling, and other available resources. And all while making a good living, too!
Which Type of Sales? Flexibility and Independence
Overall, sales trends are skewing toward eCommerce and the digital world. Along with the jobs mentioned here, telecommunications services, outsourcing equipment, and digital media distribution tools are fast-growing industries that show no sign of slowing in the coming years. But if you’re still a fan of a face-to-face connection and handshake, there are avenues to explore, such as medical devices, or real estate.
If you are of a more independent and entrepreneurial mindset, you might choose to become a consultant, by developing relationships with various companies, and working on a freelance basis. This carries more risks, but, depending on your experience, can actually net you a higher profit. If you have familiarity with highly specialized fields, either tech or medical, you will find you can more quickly gain a reputation.
Do You Have What it to Succeed in Sales?
To help you decide whether or not sales is the right direction for you to take, below is a quick checklist of skills and traits. You can go over it yourself, or ask someone close to you to do this for you.
So if you want to become a selling machine, you:
- Enjoy interacting with people and are a great listener
- Have a keen sense of people’s emotions, wants and fears
- Are competitive and ambitious
- Are tenacious and bold when it comes to reaching goals
- Can handle rejection and failure, and don’t take anything personally
- Have a knack for storytelling
- Are optimistic about your sales results
If you’re a natural-born sales talent, or you’re interested in marketing and sales, it can sometimes feel like you’re doomed to a life in the boardroom. But new sales positions are all about being dynamic and flexible. If you have the talent, and the patience to keep expanding your skill set, there are plenty of great, high-paying sales jobs with easily-transferable skills just waiting to help you boost your career or your business.
If you’re looking for the next big move in your career, these tips should help you get started for a successful career in sales.