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I still remember my first job in commission based sales. I was selling pillows and e-cigarettes at wildly marked up prices to innocent passersby at the mall. Yes, I was the real-life equivalent to an internet pop-up ad. "Hey sir, isn't this the best pillow you've ever felt?!!"
And I hated it. And I wasn't good at it because I hated it. I didn't believe in the business model as I felt I was ripping people off and not really selling e-cigs or a pillow but selling the idea of being a young 20-something-year-old girl to clueless perverted old men.
The next sales job sort of fell into my lap. One of my pillow kiosk customers just happened to work in bedding sales in a more professional environment than a mall kiosk and let me use him as a reference to bring me on board.
I thought I would hate that job just as much and suck at it, too, but was willing to take anything to support me through school and get me out of the mall kiosk at the time. Much to my surprise, I ended up loving this sales job and doing so well at it that it led me to drop out of school and pursue a career in sales.
I think I got a little bit too confident, because in the following sales role of selling homes for an investor I was in for a not-so-pleasant surprise. I started off strong but I burned out so quickly that I went from 2nd best to the lowest in the ranks in a span of a few months.
By my seventh month selling homes, I was itching to get out as I felt like I was working twice as hard to make the same amount of money. It was then I realized the job itself wasn't a good fit for me.
For one, I wasn't completely sold on the product as the prices and interest rates were exorbitantly high. Also, I wasn't accustomed to dealing with a high-volume of lower-class clientele.
However, the main issue was that I was having trouble managing my time spent showing homes versus staying on the phones and no matter how much I tried to be quicker showing the homes I would always get stuck in traffic or miss an exit providing an endless stream of stress. Yes — all sales jobs are somewhat stressful but this was beyond the stress I could manage for what I was putting in my pocket.
In my most current and most recent sales venture, I have fallen into recruitment which is basically sales. It is both business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales, as I am selling jobs to candidates and selling our candidates and services to employers.
Though there are long hours and it can be stressful — I have weekends off and I stay mostly in the office with the exception of monthly client visits. I enjoy speaking to our candidates and clients and truly believe in the service we have to offer and feel I've found a home. There is also in-house training and not a "sink or swim" sales environment.
When asking yourself if the problem is you or the job itself ask yourself these questions:
- Do you believe the product and business model is fair?
- In general, (there's always exceptions) do you enjoy the clients you work for and the people you work with?
- In general, is the stress "good stress" (the kind that motivates you to get things done) or "bad stress" (the kind that makes you feel like trying your best still isn't good enough?)
Before you throw in the towel and say you suck at sales, the most important question to ask yourself is: Does this job simply suck the life out of me?