Baristas, servers, retail associates, et al: If you’re slogging away in a job that just isn’t doing it for you, Sonya Meloff wants you to consider sales. Sales? Maybe you think you’re not cut out for it – but consider this: compensation is based on performance, not gender; great jobs are available right now; you can work in virtually any industry that excites you AND the money you can earn is limitless!

So where do you sign up? We asked Sonya what to keep in mind before jumping in.

SDTC: What should we do to prepare for a career in sales?

SM: The great thing about sales is that any background can lend well to sales and a specific education is not necessary to enter into or excel at sales; however, one of the key ingredients to being successful in sales is to have high acumen and general business knowledge. Take advantage of reading business and news blogs and stay current with what is happening in the world. For those that do want to get a step ahead, there are great sales courses now being developed and offered through various colleges across Canada where you can learn foundational skills that will be necessary to learn and develop in sales (e.g., pipeline management, lead generation).

What personality traits should a person have to thrive in sales? Extroversion? 

It is actually a myth that extroverts are the only ones that can excel at sales. The critical personality traits that make for a successful sales person include being curious, wanting to always learn more, the ability to ask good questions, to have empathy and being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand their objectives, and being able to help solve problems. At its core, sales is about providing solutions, so being a good problem solver and a likeable person will get you pretty far!

What are your top three tips to get started?

  1. Don’t be afraid! Just try it. There are so many great jobs for sales people being advertised, and in so many fascinating industries. Initiatives such as The Great Canadian Sales Competition, are a no-risk opportunity to experience what working in sales is like, and start practicing.
  2. Look for job where you make commissions (student jobs often offer great commissions). You’ll start to get a sense of how good work pays good, and great work pays great.
  3. Understand that no matter what job you have, everything comes down to sales and sales solves everything!