Do You Hate Sales or Just Your Current Sales Job?
In an ideal world, you work a job that you enjoy, that pays you well, and your coworkers are your friends. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.
In today’s job market, it can sometimes take months to find the right position. And many sales professionals have horror stories about being treated poorly by their employers.
Many people end up in sales not because it is their career of choice but because they need an income and a job in sales just happens to offer one. And the harder you stay in the job the harder it is to get out because that’s all you know.
If you’re unhappy in your sales job, it might be tempting to quit. Before you do, you need to be sure it is the sales job that you hate, not something about it. It could be the company, your boss, or your responsibilities that have changed since you started your sales job.
How to Find Out if Your Job is the Real Problem
It’s important to understand what is making you feel unhappy with your current sales job. Don’t immediately blame it, as there might be other factors at play.
When deciding whether or not to quit your sales job, it’s essential to consider all contributing factors. Your job may be one of many things causing your discontent, and quitting may not solve your problems.
If the reason you don’t want to work in sales anymore is that you are struggling to meet your quota, you may have to look at your sales team as a whole. Are other sales reps missing quota as well?
If the whole team is missing their targets, there may be other factors at play, like poor quota planning leading to unrealistic quota assignments, lack of support, or a micro-managing boss that does not give you any autonomy in your job.
If you can identify these things as the reason you have lost your love for sales, a change of company and not a transition from sales may be the right decision to make.
However, if you are struggling because your selling skills are inadequate, you may have a different decision to make. In fact, you have two choices – an outright career change to something you are more suited to or to get some sales training and work on your selling skills so you can get better at your sales job.
Your sales job makes you unhappy
You are not the first person to feel like your sales job is sucking your soul. In fact, it’s OK that you should feel that way. What’s important before you quit your job is to think about what it is about the sales position that you hate.
Is it your supervisor? Is it your coworkers? Is it the daily tasks? Is it the company culture or the soulless products you are forced to sell that have made you so unsuccessful?
In order to fix your problem, you need to first analyze your current situation. Once you figure out what’s wrong, you can brainstorm ways to solve it. If you don’t figure out the root of the problem, you may end up in the exact same situation at your next company.
A lot of times the reason salespeople leave sales is because they are struggling to cope with the demands of the job. In which case you may grow to like your job if you get better at it and are able to meet your targets.
Option 1 – Stay in Your Current Sales Job and Work on Your Selling Skills
If you are not hitting your targets, you should want to know if that is not the reason you don’t want to work in sales anymore.
Everyone wants to work in a job they actually excel, not one where they will be labeled as underperformers. So consider what you could do to improve in your job. Do you honestly believe you have been fully applying yourself?
If your chances of staying in your job will improve with better on-the-job performance, you owe it to yourself to give it a harder stab before quitting sales altogether. Even the most difficult of situations can be made more enjoyable if you apply yourself.
Start working harder than everyone else and sees if you don’t improve. Even if you don’t immediately start making more money or closing more sales, you’ll be treated more kindly by your employer. Not just that, your bosses will be more encouraged to help you in your efforts to improve.
How to improve and succeed in your sales job
The ability to listen well is critical in sales. You need to be able to understand your customer’s needs and pain points in order to sell them the right solution.
Selling also requires high emotional intelligence. This means being able to read people’s reactions and understanding where they’re coming from.
Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person – is also key in sales. It allows you to build trust with potential customers. Intuition – the ability to understand by instinct, not by conscious reasoning – is another important skill for salespeople.
You need to be able to sense when someone is interested in what you’re selling, or when they’re trying to brush you off. Being afraid of tough conversations will only hold you back in sales. If you’re not willing to address tough issues as they come up, you’ll never close a deal.
And finally, you need to be tough-minded and resilient. Sales can be a grind, and there will be days when you get rejected more times than you can count.
But if you have a thick skin and can keep going even on the toughest days, you’ll be successful in sales.
Top salespeople don’t “cold” call prospects. They “warm” call those who have either seen or interacted with their marketing material, such as email newsletters or interactive brochures. These have the highest probability of converting into paying customers.
Don’t just focus on closing the deal. Instead, work on building a relationship and earning trust.
And, contrary to the common reason people give for not wanting to work in sales anymore, you don’t have to be an extroverted, talkative person. Introverts can also do well in sales if they have basic communication skills.
A change of attitude may also help
Changing your mindset might be difficult once it is set, but it is possible. Our brains are hardwired to fall into a negative cycle, where one bad thing causes us to think negatively about something else.
It can be difficult to get out of a rut, but top performers and leaders know that focusing on what’s important and not getting distracted by things that don’t help them reach their goals is key to success.
Before you quit your sales job, consider if there are specific things about it that you don’t like. Are these things you can change? If it’s a bad boss, a change of company may change your negative attitude towards sales.
There may also be aspects of your job that you generally don’t like, like cold calling. Would you change your attitude towards cold calling if you got better at it? Could more support and training soften your attitude?
If so, talk to your manager about it. Be open and honest. The best managers want to deploy their staff where they have the best chances of succeeding. Your manager may decide to give you different responsibilities to cold calling that you may actually enjoy and excel at.
At the same time, you may also have to admit that every job has its less-than-glamorous aspects – tasks that you don’t look forward to but which must still be done.
Accept that even if you moved from sales, you may still run into aspects of that new job that you don’t particularly enjoy. If you leave accounting to go into entrepreneurship, you will still have to do the bookkeeping yourself until you can afford to hire accounting help.
In that current sales job, there are aspects of it that will change even if you don’t quit, like the people you work with and your clients. Perhaps you need to stick it out a while longer and see if these issues won’t sort themselves out.
Discuss your situation with your supervisor
Do you have issues with your boss’s management style or the strategy they are pursuing? If so, it is best to address them directly with your manager.
A good leader will be empathetic and try to work through the issue with you. But how they respond depends on how you frame your argument. Be respectful and show you are only suggesting this for the good of the company and the sales team in particular.
While being a top salesperson doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy at your job, it’s more likely that you’ll leave if you’re not being treated right.
Even if your manager is the issue, bringing it up directly with them is the respectful and professional way to go. Hopefully, the situation improves, but if not, you still have other options.
Before you quit, take some time to reflect
For many recent college graduates, sales is the career they dread the most. A look at the posts on the college-students-only forum on Job-Hunt.org shows that sales is often seen as the career path of last resort for recent college grads.
A quick look at posts on message boards for college students shows that many students are not interested in pursuing a career in sales.
However, sales is not a bad career choice for everyone. In fact, many people find sales to be a challenging and rewarding field.
It’s perfectly fine to decide not to work in sales. But far too often, young people write off a career in sales as something that they would never do. They hear “Sales” and instantly think, “No Way!”
Instead of thinking about salespeople as pushy purveyors of goods noone needs, consider how a sales career can benefit you and how it can be different.
It’s also easy to believe that all products are the same and that they’re all just commodities. But these are just generalizations mostly made by people who have not even worked in sales and about salespeople who were simply poor at their jobs.
One job candidate I spoke with said, “I won’t do sales. I don’t like going around and talking to random people and trying to convince them to buy things they don’t need.”
This sentence is misleading, but there are two specific points that stick out:
A job that involves selling stuff is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite rewarding! The key is to find a product or service that you believe in and that you think your prospective customers would want.
And if you have to talk to random people and try to convince them to buy things they don’t need, you are doing it wrong. No wonder you find it unfulfilling and want to quit.
If you have the passion and the drive and take the time to learn, then a career in sales could be perfect for you! Selling products, services, or causes are all examples of selling, so you are not limited to just ‘commodities’.
If you’re passionate about a cause, product, or service and can convince others to believe in it too, you could have a very gratifying career.
Selling is all about being an expert on a product or service, communicating that expertise to others, and showing them how that product or service would benefit them.
No matter what career you choose, communication and persuasive people skills are invaluable. In sales, those skills are even more invaluable and in great demand.
Sales professionals play an important role in any organization as they help to increase revenues. In times of economic struggle, sales professionals are less likely to be laid off as they are seen as key to helping the organization recover.
Sales professionals are also more likely to be hired during tough times as organizations look to them to help boost revenue.
Sales can be a great way to earn a lot of money too. If you become skilled at selling, you can easily make more than $100,000 a year. The secret may be finding a sales job that offers not only a salary but great prospects for growth and development.
Don’t write off a sales career without taking the time to explore what it has to offer. You could be missing out on a great opportunity if you do.
Option 2 – Transition From Sales to Something You Actually Enjoy
After a while in sales, you may feel burned out and completely unmotivated. You may also have been in sales just for the good base salary and never really liked working in sales.
You may also not find sales intellectually stimulating and it seems the longer you have stayed in it the more you have hated the job. In that case, a career change from sales may be best for you.
Before you quit your sales job, take a moment to think about the positive aspects of the role. There’s always something nice about a job. Is there something about your sales job that you will miss?
Are you getting paid enough, but feeling undervalued? Or are you being compensated fairly, but feeling like you’re not being appreciated? All that can give you pointers on what to do next.
Many people stay stuck in jobs that they hate because they feel they need the money. Don’t be that person. If you can’t find a way to enjoy your sales job, there are always options:
What’s the best career transition from sales?
If things aren’t working out, and it’s clear that nothing will change, then it may be time to move on to another job. Do it in a professional manner, even if the job situation is becoming increasingly stressful.
The first thing to do is to decide what you want to do besides your current sales job. You shouldn’t quit your sales job before you do this. This is why noting the reasons for quitting your sales job becomes important.
If you aren’t clear about why you are quitting, you could end up in a job with exactly the same issues as the one you are quitting. Common reasons people quit their jobs are because they are underpaid, undervalued, and they don’t see opportunities for growth.
Will these issues improve in the new role you envision for yourself? If so, how will they improve? Are your skills and interests better suited to that job than this current sales job?
After you have answered those questions, you should have what looks like a transition plan. That plan should detail your next job, industry, and possible next employer.
Speaking of your possible next employer, you may not have to leave your current company. If you can identify your dream job in your current company, check if you cannot get a lateral move. Talk to your boss and HR about your decision to transition from sales.
You never know, there could be open roles that align with your skills and sales experience in your current company. You won’t know unless you check.
You have a far better chance of getting your preferred job in your current company than you have to interview at a new company. In fact, compared to your other options, this is probably the best career transition from sales.
If there are no open positions at your current company, then you have no option but to look elsewhere.
Give your employer your two weeks’ written notice. Don’t trash-talk them or do things you will regret later. Your old bosses and colleagues are all valuable contacts with whom you must maintain your good name. And try to have a new job already secured before you leave.
Your Career After Sales – Best Non-Sales Jobs for Salespeople
‘I don’t want to work in sales anymore’ is a pretty emphatic statement to make. There is no reason to stick it out if you feel this way.
You have more than a few options if you want to get out of sales completely. You can look for another job that is not in sales, or – as we have said – you can try to find a different position within the company you are currently working for.
If neither of those options is possible or desirable, you could start your own business. This option would give you the most control over your work life, but it would also be the riskiest.
The good news is, because of their well-trained soft skills – salespeople can leap into other careers. The skills you rely on for selling are transferable to many careers.
But what are these alternative careers where are not ‘under constant pressure to meet sales targets and have to make calls the whole day’? Here are some jobs that could align with your skills:
- Account executive,
- Customer support rep,
- Account manager,
- Customer marketing specialist,
- Product marketing manager,
- Business development manager,
- Project manager,
- Sales consultant,
- Customer success manager.
Don’t just look to transition into a new career because it looks glamorous or has great pay. Do a proper, honest skills audit and be sure you have what it takes to succeed in that job. If you don’t do that, you will soon be transitioning into yet another job.
Is Sales a Bad Career
Sales jobs are not dead ends. It is not the worst possible career as many have concluded. The many instances where people label salespeople as these shady characters that trick people into buying things they don’t need refer to people who encountered bad salespeople.
Unless you don’t intend to apply yourself and truly learn to be a good, effective salesperson, you have no reason to conclude that sales is a bad career. In fact, sales can be quite rewarding and provide a good career path and great income for those who are willing to work hard and learn the ropes.
However, it is important to remember that sales is a competitive field, so it is important to be prepared for the challenges that come with it.
Transitioning Out of Sales Takes an Honest, Careful Process
If you are burned out, have lost all motivation, don’t see prospects for growth, and really don’t want to work in sales anymore, you have options. You can transition into a career path you would be happier in. There are other options out there for you.
But be careful. You need to be sure you are leaving sales for the right reasons. If you were an underperformer in that sales job, you will still be in any other job if you don’t change certain things about yourself. Are you even a fit for that career you want to change to?
While there are many options for people moving out of sales, they will not fit every former salesperson. Do a proper skills assessment before settling for a specific new career.
After that, draw a transition plan with the steps you will take before you quit. Don’t just quit abruptly. Give proper notice so that you leave on good terms. If possible, get a job offer before you hand in your notice of resignation.
It’s crucial that you have a plan for how you are going to survive. It’s easy to tell yourself you will figure things out as you go, but without a regular paycheck life can get tough, very fast.
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