August 22, 2011

Sales Careers

When I was in high school, I worked for a local bakery.  As part of my job, I took our bread to a flea market and sold it to people.  I would stand there with samples of bread on the table ready to be sliced and yell out, "Free bread samples!  Come and get 'em!"  Now, this wasn't some marketing genius that I came up with.  I was just doing what my boss told me.  On my second day at the flea market, the woman in the booth next to me said, "I've been here for 30 years, and I've never seen anyone sell like you.  How long you been doing this?"  I answered, "I just started yesterday!"  Well, I've had a few other "sales" experiences since then, and I have seemed to have an ability to sell.  Now, I'm not saying I'm the best sales person around, but I figured this might be a good place to look after the wonderful world of finance.

Insurance Sales Agent
  • Help people select policies for life, health, and property
Skill Set:
  • Outgoing and confident
  • Good communication of technical information
  • Flexible
  • Interested in continued education
Other Information:
  • Online companies have slightly reduced the need for agents
  • Beginners can have trouble getting enough clients to earn a living
  • Pay may be on commission alone or a combination of commission and base salary
  • Average salary: $61,330

I haven't always thought of insurance as an exciting place to make a career.  I can't come up with a reason why I shouldn't consider this career, but there doesn't seem to be much about the career that gets me really excited.  I will definitely keep it in mind, but I'm betting there is something out there that I will feel more passionate about!

Real Estate Broker and Sales Agent
  • Sell people's properties
  • Help buyers to find the right property for them
Skill Set:
  • Aggressive personality
  • Strong math skill
  • Interest in the economy
Other Information:
  • Brokers and agents typically work evenings and weekends
  • Need a license to work in the field
  • Typically easy to start, but can be hard to earn a living with a poor economy
  • Average salary:
    • Broker - $78,360
    • Agent - $53,100

I've always thought that being a real estate agent would be exciting - taking people around to houses; showing all the great things that properties have to offer; working with people to try to help them find their "dream home".  That seems great!  I'm worried about the skill set of this field, though.  I wouldn't necessarily call myself an aggressive personality.  Also, I like to stay informed of what is going on in the economy, but I don't particularly have a high interest in it.  For these reasons, I'm not sure real estate agent is the career for me.

Sales Engineer
  • Sell complex products and services
  • Help clients choose, customize, and troubleshoot products
Skill Set:
  • Being a math fan that likes to persuade people
  • Likes knowing how things work
  • Likes to travel and talk with people
Other Information:
  • Many sales engineers start as engineers
  • Hours are usually set by each person
  • Average salary: $90,540
    • Incentives are often given for good performance

I come from an engineering background.  As I mentioned, I seem to have an ability to sell.  So far so good.  I like the idea of traveling to meet with people and help them find which products or services will fit their business the best.  I definitely like understanding how things work.  I think I've found a definite career possibility.  Stick around to see!

Well, there you have it.  Selling insurance, real estate, and complex engineering products.  I think I like what I've seen so far, so tune in next time as I look at other careers in the sales world.  See you then!

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