Last Updated May 25, 2011 8:55 AM EDT
- Pick an industry that you truly love. You'll be far more effective selling if what you're selling resonates in your heart and mind. Into football? Think about equipment sales. Into ballet? Think about fund-raising. Into cool cars? Think about selling rental contracts for them. Into architecture and design? Think about selling design services.
- Pick a segment where the deals are big. Every industry has small potatoes and big potatoes. For instance, if you're a football nut, don't work at Sports Authority! Look for the companies that sell equipment to entire school districts or sell training packages to professional teams. You'll find it much more fun to sell if you're making big bucks.
- Pick a firm that doesn't hard-sell. Very few people are comfortable or happy trying to convince people to buy stuff they don't want or need. You're more likely to be happy if you find a job where you can listen to customers and help them. Over the long term, you'll find that the real reason that you're in sales is because you're making friends.
- Pick a boss who knows how to coach. Before accepting any sales job, ask around to discover whether the sales manager thinks his job is to order people about, or help them be successful. If the former, run for the exit and don't look back! If the latter, you may have found the perfect place to work... and where your ability to sell will increase with time.