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Sales Strategy
Oct 14, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Are you a great communicator? A hard worker who’s driven to succeed? Ambitious and want to feel passionate about your job? Then a career in sales could be a perfect fit for you.

Breaking into sales might seem daunting when you don’t have experience. The key thing to remember is that prospective employers will look at the way you sell yourself and consider it an audition for how you would sell their product. You need to tackle the job hunt in the same way you’ll later tackle the sales field. Here our tips on how to get your first job in sales.

Start By Researching Sales in General

If you’re completely new to sales, you’ll need to start researching the sales profession as a first step. Read as much as you can - there’s great resources on the CPSA Learning Hub, as well as podcasts with industry experts and in-depth webinars. Also, make use of your library to seek out industry bibles from respected authors - it’s great to be able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding on topics like the psychology of selling or effective sales strategies in an interview. Name dropping trusted authors and their work is a great way to demonstrate you’ve done your research. Some starting points are How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy to name but a few.

If you’re a student attending any college or university in Canada you’ll soon be able to register for the CPSA student program which will give you access to our learning hub and exclusive resources.

Narrow Your Focus and Get Prospecting

Take your time to think carefully about the industry in which you want to build a career. Bear in mind that some industries require specialist training and experience. Focus on what interests you and where you have prior product knowledge. For example, if you’ve always had a passion for cars, then the automobile industry would be a good fit. If you love make up, then the beauty industry could be for you. Selling something you are passionate about is more likely to result in success. Once you’ve narrowed down the field you’d like to work in, do your research on that market. Subscribe to industry blogs, mailing lists and magazines. Learn what the trends are in the market and find out as much as you can about potential employers and see who’s hiring.

Build Your Resume and Your Network

Take a look at the type of qualifications and experience that recruiters and employers are looking for new sales employees. Also look at the “who we are” section on your prospective employer’s website to learn about the type of person they hire and what their career journey has looked like. Build your resume. Gather the skills and experience you can; or look for companies that seem open to hiring entry level pros with minimal experience.

When it comes to actually crafting your resume, you might be surprised at the amount of “sales” experience you already have. You’ll have actually honed many sales skills in school - make sure you highlight any related experience and skills on your resume and cover letter and ALWAYS tailor your resume to the specific company and role for which you are applying.

Networking is key when trying to break into any field. If you know anyone who works in sales, invite them out to coffee to pick their brains and get their insights. If you secure a meeting, make sure you come prepared and don’t waste their time. Have a list of questions in mind (more than things you could find out in a quick google search) and show them that you have an understanding of the field. Perhaps you could ask them about their path to success or what they consider to be the biggest challenges in X industry right now. If you impress them, they might be able to recommend you for a sales role down the line or connect you to a hiring manager.

Once you secure an interview, check out our tips on nailing that sales interview in this article on how to win the perfect sales job.

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