Where Are the Great Sales Jobs?
A great things about being an entrepreneur is that you quickly learn how to sell your ideas and products to investors, customers and employees. That's a valuable skill set. Really valuable, in fact.
If you're wondering what your skills are worth if you decide to take your selling skills elsewhere, here are the best (or at least the highest paid) sales jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Financial services. Salespeople in this industry earn average yearly compensation of around $100,000. However, that average is a bit skewed because the very top salespeople earn many millions of dollars. The job consists primarily of selling investments to individuals and institutions, by explaining the costs, benefits and risks of making those investments.
- Engineering. Salespeople for engineering firms earn a yearly average of around $97,000, with much less variation between the top and bottom of the field. They sell complex technological offerings to businesses, using their extensive knowledge of the products and the scientific processes behind them. Many of these "sales engineers" have an engineering degree.
- Real Estate. Both real estate brokers and agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. However, there's a huge difference in compensation between brokers, who are licensed to own a brokerage, and agents, who must work with a broker. Brokers command an average compensation of around $84,000 a year, while agents earn only $51,ooo.
- Manufacturing. These classic B2B sales reps sell goods and services to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations by contacting customers, explaining product features, answering questions, and negotiating prices. Such jobs command an average yearly compensation of $86,000 for technical industries and $64,000 for "non-technical" industries.
- Insurance. Sales professionals in this field earn an average of $62,000 a year. Making money in this business largely depends upon your ability to generate new business by contacting potential customers, explaining various insurance policies, and helping clients choose plans that suit them.
- Advertising. Selling advertising services (print, broadcast, and Web) earns an average of $55,000 a year. These jobs don't require Mad Men-style glad-handing any more. Instead they're heavy on knowledge about how companies can coordinate complex campaigns through multiple channels.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.