When it comes to the sales industry there is no set college degree that is needed to get a good sales job. Personally, from my point of view and my own experience, the best way to get into the sales industry and progress with a career in sales is to gain first-hand experience with an entry level sales job.
How to get into sales – do I need a degree?
It can be tough to find your way into a position in the sales industry, but it is possible without any degree.
Common entry level sales jobs that I’d recommend applying for would be direct sales or door-to-door sales. These are both good options for giving you the experience you need and act as a good platform to develop your sales career.
For me, I grew up around the family business, my Dad owned a garage, so I was always involved in the business, whether it was answering phones, selling cars or dealing with customer queries. I was one of the main points of contact in the business and this allowed me to get a good understanding of business from a young age.
I spent as much time as possible around the business and this was where I developed my interest in sales as a career. Because of this, I had a pretty good understanding of sales and a lot of business experience for my age.
When it comes to sales careers and what degree to do, it can be tricky to decide on what 3rd level education to study. In my opinion, you often only realise you want to work in sales once you actually start working in sales.
Why skills matter more than education in sales
It’s very tough to make a decision before 3rd level and say “I want to work in sales”. For many people, it’s something that just happens. Sales isn’t about what education you have or your experience. Yes, experience is a big part of it as you progress through your career, but sales is mostly down to your innate sales skills, and the fact that you can either sell or not.
There are a number of key traits that sales people need to work well in a sales environment:
- Persuasive – sales people are always persuasive, they must be able to persuade the customer to buy or encourage them to buy what they are selling.
- Relentless – sales people must possess a never say no attitude, they must not be afraid of rejection and pursue a sale until it’s either won or lost for definite.
- Good Communicator – sales people must be effective communicators and be able to easily get their point across to customers when pitching. Sales people need to be able to demonstrate their product(s) so that the customer has the same understanding of the product as they do.
Most importantly you need to be able to recognise when there’s a sale to be got. You must be sharp and “always be closing.”
But if you do want to study…
If you’d like to study to enhance your sales career there are options which are widely accepted and sought after in the sales industry. My top recommendations would be:
- Bachelors of Finance
- Bachelors of Marketing
- Pharmaceutical degree (degree in biology, chemistry or general science).
If you’re already working in sales and want to enter a senior management position a Masters in Business Administration is also a great option. This masters, or similar courses, helps people understand how to run each part of a business and can often help lead to a senior management position.
There aren’t any set degrees that you need or that are required in the sales industry but if you have one of the above then it will give you a boost and will help you further on in your career as you progress.
My advice to anyone looking to get into sales is to have a look at the different industries that offer sales careers/positions and choose a degree or some level of education that will give you a better understanding of that area.
Sales people can sell, there is no degree that can help you sell better. Only experience can help us with our sales careers as we are constantly learning and overcoming different objections and situations day-by-day.
Choose an area that perhaps you’d like to have a sales career in and go for it. This will give you a better understanding of the industry and therefore, you will know your products and customers a lot better, helping you to succeed in a career in sales.