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Why Former College Athletes Make Great Sales Pros

December 21st, 2017
by Kevin Harris

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

  – Walt Disney, world-famous American businessman, animator, voice actor and film producer

This quote, from one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in history, strikes a chord deep within the soul of every great sales professional. At the heart of the quote is the idea that competition brings out the best in many people. The drive to win, the resolve to give every ounce of effort and the determination to never give up are all core elements found in the DNA of top professional sellers.

Lead Pic PoolThese are personality traits that existed in individuals long before they entered the professional sales industry, though. And as it turns out, they are traits shared with a very notable group of people working towards degrees at the collegiate level: student-athletes.

Student-athletes are a collection of some of the most committed, driven, hard-working people you’ll ever meet. It’s not just that they’ve spent the better part of their first few decades of life eating, sleeping and breathing their chosen athletic endeavor. It’s also the fact that this unbelievably difficult pursuit has been balanced with a firm commitment to scholastic achievement in parallel.

By now, it’s been well-established that the overwhelming majority of college athletes competing across all division levels are not moving on to play their respective sports professionally (or competing at the Olympic-level if their sport does not offer professional options).

When the dust settles and their sports-playing days are over, these remarkably driven individuals can often find a very natural home in a thrilling, competitive environment that will cater to their personal strengths and satisfy their singular focus on winning.

Here are five characteristics that former college student-athletes possess which directly translate to success in the world of professional sales. Continue Reading

Recruiting Advice, Sales Career Advice, Sales Job Search Advice

Look Before You Leap: How to Make Sure Your First Sales Job Includes Great Training

November 30th, 2017
by Kevin Harris

Leap of FaithTake a stroll through any job posting from your favorite career search site and chances are you’ll see a familiar structure to the opportunity listing. The hiring company is almost always looking for someone that possesses a strong set of skills and abilities in areas that will be critical to achieving the goals associated with that position. Those are the “must-have’s” for strong candidates. After that, in cascading order, you might find “nice to have” items such as generalized experience in an industry or a related college degree in a certain field.

A reasonable person might conclude that acquiring a defined set of skills and abilities should be paramount to everyone that wants to architect a lifetime career path.

Professional sales careers are no exception to this rule. The good news is, most aspiring sales pros we meet and interview tell us “training and development” are critical factors when evaluating their potential first-ever sales job options. This is great! It means college undergrads and early stage sales professionals understand the value of acquiring great sales skills when selecting work opportunities.

Unfortunately, the firms doing the hiring of entry-level sales candidates don’t always make it easy to understand how they will help newly minted employees become polished sales pros. Way too many entry-level sales job openings should come with a big warning label when it comes to their sales training plans for you.

“Candidate Beware: We’re too busy and short-staffed to worry about your personal sales skills development. We only have time to teach you about us, now go sell!”

So how will you know if you’ve found a great sales job where you can learn, grow and truly advance your career?

Since we’re not holding our breath for firms to find religion when it comes to full disclosure, here are three hallmarks of an employer with an outstanding employee sales training program. Continue Reading

Inside Sales Training, Sales Career Advice, Sales Job Search Advice

Why Learning Should Crush Earning for Early-Stage Job Seekers

November 16th, 2017
by Kevin Harris

Gold WatchThe first job you land out of college won’t be with the company you will work for when you retire. How do I know that?

The facts on every side of the equation back that statement up. In fact, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with a current employer was just 4.2 years in January 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor). My guess is that figure will continue to decline when the same survey is conducted in January of 2018.

The corporate world is different than it was decades ago. Gone are the days of gold watches at retirement from a lifelong corporate “family” of sorts. And as that old model has evaporated, employees have adjusted. Those short tenure figures aren’t only the fault of employers. Savvy and highly skilled workers leverage frequent job changes to increase salaries and climb the corporate ladder at an accelerated rate.

Can you blame them? If you have great skills that are in strong demand, why not capitalize on it?

The Dilemma

Staying in the same job for a long time nowadays can possibly cause more harm than good for your career. Here’s one small example that might hit home for soon-to-be or recent college grads.

Continue Reading

Recruiting Advice, Sales Career Advice, Sales Job Search Advice

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