Thinking sales is not for you?
Throughout my sales career I’ve seen many people come and go. And for different reasons.
It’s a rollercoaster of a career! I don’t blame someone for ever thinking it’s not right for them.
The highs of closing deals and the financial gain that comes with that can be exhilarating. On the opposite end it can be a totalling over-burdening job.
I’ve been their before – and if you’re reading this post you are most likely experiencing the negative sides to a sales career.
Don’t stress though. Really consider your scenario from a critical perspective.
You need to distinguish if you’re current situation is a temporary slump in performance, or that you truly aren’t suited to a sales career.
Below I’ll give you 5 considerations before deciding sales is not for you.
Why Do People Leave Sales Jobs?
Yes, sales has an abnormally high turnover rate. A study from Compensation Resources actually showed that the voluntary turnover rate within sales sits around 15%. This is 5% higher than the United States average!
So why do sales people leave their jobs?
Salespeople leave their jobs from being unhappy, and this can be brought on by many factors. The inability to handle rejection in the role is a main reason, and second to that is not liking the management. Other common reasons include preferring a more reliable income, or needing more training to be effective within the role.
Perhaps some of these apply to your current situation?
You may even be burnt out…
Of course, its okay to decide that sales is not the career for you, but these reasons could be a mask for the true underlying issue.
That is to say you are feeling burnt out because you aren’t managing your stress levels correctly, which is easily rectifiable.
I’ve seen people make swift, in the moment decisions where if they had persevered for a little longer, the situation could end being more positive because they overcame their challenges.
On the other end, I’ve seen the mental health of team members be negatively impacted to the point where they need time off. In this case it seems more conclusive sales is not right for you.
To give some clarity in your own situation, let’s look at the 5 considerations.
Leadership Needs to Improve
Sales is a role where autonomy is a key focus. You need to be able to productive without guidance essentially straight away.
Because of this some managers or leadership can end of asking for too much, too soon. They don’t show support for those who are struggling and this can cause issues.
Perhaps on the opposite end you feel under appreciated and your efforts are not being valued by your manager. Don’t think you’re alone, this is really common.
In this scenario ask yourself, could you enjoy your role if you reported to a different manager? Or could you enjoy the role if your manager offered you more support?
Really think at what the key problem is because it will allow you to create a solution.
I’ve seen average sales people turn into top performers when a new manager comes in, or if they focus on developing their relationship with current management.
If you don’t have a major problem with your manager, but you need greater guidance perhaps consider a mentor outside of your organisation. They can be an objective viewpoint to give you the clarity you need.
Manage Stress Levels
It’s scientifically proven that stress influences the way you make decisions. Those who are stressed lean towards making rash, risk taking behaviour.
When thinking about a life changing decision like moving away from your career, clouded judgement is not recommended.
If you’re stressed their are two sides to alleviating it. Pushing yourself away from the causing factors, and safeguarding yourself by creating better coping mechanisms.
First, identify the causing factors and take yourself completely away. You might even consider a day or 2 out of the office to unwind.
On the other end give yourself the best chance to cope with your role. The reality is sales is always going to be more stressful than a typical career – even the best get stressed!
Are you sleeping okay? How about your diet? Getting enough exercise?
If no, then picture yourself 1 month from now. You’ve started an exercise regime, getting 8 hours of sleep and eating more healthy. Yes, salad might suck but it’s good for you man!
Even a 20 minute stroll has the impact of decreasing stress levels, and from this position you will be much better suited to make the right decision about your career.
Do you Have a Personality Suited to Sales?
A lot has been discussed about extraverts and introverts, and how each are suited to sales in different ways.
Personally, I am more introverted and there was once a time I didn’t think sales was suited to me because of this. The fact is, you just need to find your own way of selling.
Some of the best performing sales people are introverted because they are better at active listening, and showing they care about a customer’s needs.
Outside of this though, how do you manage rejection?
Managing rejection is a pillar of being great at sales because it will ALWAYS be there.
I don’t just mean on a cold call too. You need to be able to spend hours working with a client, tailor a solution to their business needs, having them say no and managing this like water off a duck’s back.
Getting the dreaded “We have decided not to go through with your services” email and not getting personally offended.
If the fear of rejection is too much for you, then perhaps your personality is not geared towards a a career in sales.
Company not a good cultural fit
A bad culture could be the biggest reasons salespeople quit.
It’s also something that can’t be easily fixed because values of a company are deeply rooted into the way each and every employee works.
Do you just find yourself struggling to fit in, even after a 6 month period? This could come down to the organisation not having the right cultural fit.
If you don’t feel valued or respected then it really can be difficult to see yourself being the best version of you.
If you think the culture fit is contributing to moving out of your sales role then perhaps consider a different company. You may find that you have the skills to make it in sales, and within a different environment you’d flourish.
Switch Into Another Role
Organisations really value the skills and mindset that comes with sales. Working in sales means you are great with people and motivated to achieve success.
Rather than completely switching into a new career, why not consider pivoting into a different sales related role?
Instead of working in new business, look to see if there are any account management or even sales operations business at your company.
In account management or customer success related roles the core sales skills of building rapport are 100% transferrable. However in these kinds of roles the pressure of constant performance, and fear of rejection can be drastically reduced.
When discussing this option think of some strengths you’d bring to a different role. Also highlight to your manager that they won’t need to train as much because you already know the product.
It’s known that the cost of high turnover can be up to double the amount of a typical salary in the position.
Understanding the benefits from the businesses perspective can help you make that career adjustment if necessary.
As a final thought
Consider all options before making the conclusive decision to exit sales.
As explained above there can be so many factors that contribute to not feeling like sales is the right career for you. Add to that the cyclical nature of the job, and it makes it confusing to know what’s right.
In the moment completely leaving your role might seem like the right thing to do but there’s always other options to consider.
Only you will truly know and hopefully when considering everything outline in this post it will give you clarity to make the right choice.