Why do the wrong people sometimes get into sales? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Jane Chin (陳盈錦), Worked in Pharma Sales, on Quora:

Some people are "misguided" into sales

  • They are enamored by the prospect of making a lot of money depending on what kind of sales
  • They know that sales is a great way to gain the business experience needed to climb up the ladder (you hear about CEOs of big companies starting out in the trenches as a sales rep, etc.)
  • They are enticed by additional rewards, both tangible/financial and intangible: the flexibility of being field based in some cases, ability to set own hours/appointments, perks and award trips for top performers

Some people are untrained for the profession

  • Many companies still assume that sales is more of an innate skill much as interpersonal skills are: "some people are born great salesman"
  • Some companies do not have the resources for training or a trainer for that matter
  • Many companies train their sales people to be more of a transactional interaction, failing to realize that today you can't treat customers like a person in a check-out line and that relationships are huge in customer acquisition and retention
  • Most companies don't keep up the training, again, thinking that you go for a one time training and somehow you magically retain everything you learned and also know how to apply it in real life

Some people are "unfit" for the profession

  • Sales requires a disciplined approach with laser sharp focus on objectives while an emotional intelligence suited to accept that people don't always react as we'd planned and customers don't buy for the reasons market researchers predict. Not many people can embody all these traits in one, eye-pleasing body. (You don't have to be a model but being good looking seems to help in client-facing jobs like sales, regardless of how politically incorrect and unenlightened this may appear. There may be simple emotional reasons for this to be the case.)
  • Sales requires balls of steel and a level of mental toughness that not many people are born with, and even less have the tools to develop this level of toughness. You don't always get treated with respect and you fight stereotypes everyday about being a sales person.
  • Sales require a certain mentality to win and sustain competitiveness. Effective sales people have created some type of mental framework and approach to keep themselves motivated in face of setbacks, some make it like a game ("go for the No", "failing forward") to get through the toughest times and still stay focused on the task at hand.

These are why the wrong people get into sales.

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