Why Sales Jobs Suck

In large part to recent posts on Brittany’s blog I have decided to write my thoughts on the industry of sales. Brittany wrote a post to criticize an article published by Kathy Chu in USA Today praising companies such as the Southwestern Company (with whom Brittany had a rather negative experience one summer ago), who set up college students to sell items door-to-door. She published her thoughts on her blog and additionally had a letter published in the Wisconsin State Journal. In response to these comments, a mysterious person calling himself “Tony” has written comments praising sales to no end. His inability to use logic has largely led to this post. Here’s why sales jobs suck.

1) Opportunity, achievement, and situation are three highly correlated variables. Sales people will tell you that your success depends on what YOU do; they lie and say that you and you alone are responsbile for your success. It’s a convienent lie and one they will often come to believe themselves. But examining this in a scientific way, you would learn that a seller in a poor neighborhood and a seller in a better off neighborhood, with the same amount of contact and equally favorable reactions will make more money in the richer neighborhood. Similarly, a seller selling on Sept. 12, 2001, will not have as much success as someone selling just two days earlier. If one works equally hard, with equal opportunity, situation will still dictate their success.

2) Meeting people’s needs and defining people’s needs are two different things. When working in marketing for Apple, I often described my job as working to meet people’s computing needs. It just so happened that I felt those needs could be best met by an Apple computer. But never once did I try to convince a person who did not have a need for a computer that, in fact, they DID need an Apple because they did not have one. I never once defined their need. But a sales person MUST work to define that need. He or she must work to feel the “pains” of the customer. If the customer does not have the product for sale, the sales person immediately identifies this as a pain. But in this day and age of heavy consumerism, if someone does indeed need something, they are no doubt aware of several places where they can fulfill this need. Thus defining the need for a customer is tantamount to inventing the need. This is not, I believe, an honest practice.

3) The pay! Unlimited potential!, they will promise you. Our friend Tony said that he makes $2500 a month, even if his commissions don’t take him over that number. Good golly, Tony, you must really feel like you’re rolling in the dough. Only thing is, I make twice what you do! And I don’t have to pick up a phone and convince someone to buy something. And that job was fresh out of college, working in technology, with a degree in English. And you can’t tell me that should an economic downturn hit (or god forbid another 9/11) that you would still be making the same amount you make any other day. There is never a time in my life I have to worry about how big my paycheck is going to be. So sure, there are no unexpected windfalls, but I also don’t have to work double hours just to pay my rent during a month when things aren’t going so well.

4) Depending on yourself is all well and good, but that’s not the kind of society we live in. If it’s you for yourself, that pits the world against you. And even if you try to phrase it in nice ways (an oyster waiting to be cracked, et cetera), you’re still out there day in and day out just fighting to make some scratch. Is this the kind of daily battle someone should have to fight AT THEIR JOB?! I go to my job and sit in my nice office, put my feet up, and chat to a customer on a conference call. We’re all friends. When I need a question answered, I go ask someone else. When I find out something new, I share it with everyone. In sales, the minute you let information out, that’s just more ammo for the world against you.

There are so many sales people out there that I hope this has gotten up the guile of someone. Confront me, please! But stop trying to defend your job. The more you defend it, the more you sound like you are trying to convince yourself that the above 4 points are not straight truth. I hope you make a rousing success of what you are doing. The underlying question still remains, however. In this world of consumerism, and in working towards a world with greater cooperation, what good can a sales person play in making this country and this world a better place? And in making this world a better place, is there a way the same positive result can be achieved sans a monetary transaction? I think the answer to that question is absolutely yes.

50 thoughts on “Why Sales Jobs Suck”

  1. Definitely right. When it comes to trying to improve this already overly materialistic and superficial world, is it possible for sales to play a positive role? In a society where parents spend more time each week shopping than they do playing with their kids, the sales mentality is sure to flourish, but at what expense?

  2. Well said! I have been in sales for 5 years now…Perhaps the most frustrating factor in this occupation particularly in outside B2B sales is that I am forced to watch my peers holding real jobs actually grow and seemingly secure their careers by doing what I always deemed monotonous and droning and dead-end. Then, all at once I become ENVIOUS that I am cursed to FIGHT for every cent I get with no end in sight….no finish line…month to month, I’m only as good as my performance today. All the while feeling like I am not good enough because there is always someone selling more than everyone else and that is the standard we should all be working to achieve…Therein the competition driven by companies that could care less about your well-being begin to define you. You learn how to maximize your earnings by getting someone else to pay more for something that you KNOW it is worth less than you are selling it for. You lose your honor to the money-machine you have become a cog in. Your boss smiles as he has converted YOU into another form of residual income for himself and his company. The bills don’t stop. The “fake” gets thicker and you fool yourself into another false extension of that feeling of promise that comes with every menial close you make. “one day I’ll close a sale that will make me rich” or “one day I won’t have to work so hard–sales will get plentiful and easier and bigger”…The psychological poisoning of your logic and personal outlook on the world is one very important factor that should be mentioned here.

  3. I just wanted to at that it all depends on what you are selling and when you are selling it.
    Sales is the most lucrative job in the world.
    Ask any CEO where he started and sales will be the answer because that is how you make money.
    I think a fixed salary income is no different that welfare.

    If you know how to save money and get a big enough base salary you will not find a more rewarding job that professional sales.

    I make $250k one year and $100k the next but I know this so I did not go out and purchase a $500k house.

    Cash is king. Go out and make it.

  4. In this materialistic world, many have convinced themselves that their contribution to the world will be in sales. A contribution that consists of persuasion, perpetual nagging, nail biting, irriation, and success. Success at what expense though?

    I’m ascertaining the interdependence we as world have one another more and more everyday. I’m not going to knock someone for being in sales because it is a crucial foundation for any business plan; but I do believe that it creates a counterfeit relationship with consumers and has contributed to society individuals that have gotten wants very confused with needs.

    We are all trying to survive this, I get it. There is a fine line I’ve tapped dance on when working in sales where I would find myself trying to bases a relationship with a potential client based off lies and false hope…that just completely started to hurt my soul and the values I stand for. My rant is done. Well put Michael, I enjoyed this read.

  5. Outside B2B sales is the most soul sucking job you can have. We deem ourselves consultants, but in reality we only “consult” revenue away from competitors. Sales is the true rat race, and sales managers are the most egotistical and obnoxious people in any organization. I love that my career success is affected by “no soliciting” signs and cranky receptionists.

  6. My favorite thing about sales jobs are the the creative job descriptions and all of the fancy titles: Account Executive, Territory Director, Sales Consultant, Business Development Manager… The list goes on.

    Let’s face it: You cold call all day to people who don’t care about you, your service, your company, your value add, your ROI, your well being. Have fun.

  7. There is 1000 you, only 1 of me bro. Sales is a sport. Yes it can be good, yes it can be bad, but in the end it IS your GAME that wins or loses. If a cold caller stops, he loses. If he keeps calling even on the bad days, he wins. The old saying “the harder I work the luckier I get” is very true whne it comes to sales. So, you can either jump ship and be told the kind of life you can live by having a “set pay check” or, you can make your own life by watching what you spend, and selling your a** off.

    Walmart will always be looking for door people…….

  8. Mike G, you are a dumbass!!! Its 2010! No one wants to be bothered by a sales rep who is cold calling. It is an outdated method of marketing. There is nothing your punk ass can say to make a business buy anything you have unless they truly need it. And since we are now in the information age, anyone who is half way intellegent can just type what they are looking for and inquire as they like. I’m stuck in sales right now, I guess I will have to sale my way out. But to suggest that people who don’t like walking into businesses and bothering people need to go to walmart is stupid. You are not good at sales. You are just too stupid to know that companies hate your guts when you bother them, or you just don’t care. And if you don’t care then you are exactly what is to be hated about salespeople and that is a selfish, manipulative, money grubbing greedy rat bastard! I hate people like you who think you are so hard working becuase you have the stimulus of an earthworm and don’t feel the “stay away” vibe prospects give when your retarded ass calls. Sales reps are important, but companies should provide leads via marketing or telemarketing then send them on appointments. I bet your dumb ass think that is lazy right!? Well, if you were leaving the country, would your stupid ass swim, take a boat, or take a plane? Think about that. Oh yeah, it is not a game, it is a job. If it was a game, then people would gather and even pay to watch.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with many of the posts on this website. Sales careers are a total joke. If you work in sales and think it’s a great career, you are only kidding yourself and have likely been ‘sold a bill of goods’ from your company, no pun intended. They brainwash you into believing that you have unlimited income potential and the ability to ‘make your own destiny’. In actuality, ALL jobs allow you unlimited income potential and the ability to make your own destiny–It’s called annual reviews, raises, and bonuses.

    Salespeople have no real useful talent in the business world. There is virtually no analytical, leadership, or problem solving ability required to do the job. The only skills salespeople actually have are the ability to distort the truth, lie, and manipulate clients and prospects into spending money that they otherwise wouldn’t spend on their own. Think about it…..if you WANT a new TV, you make the decision to go to a store to buy one. Nobody ‘cold calls’ you to see if you want one and then tries to ‘pitch’ you on why their TV is better than the competitors. How many banks do you think call up businesses in their area and ask if the business is interested in borrowing money? None. Case closed.

    And the salaries, or lack thereof in most cases are horrible, partly because the jobs don’t require any degree of talent other than being good at taking orders and abuse from clients. In many cases, you are working for FREE or close to it in a revenue producing position! Doctors, lawyers, teachers, factory workers, accountants, secretaries, retail, fast food, police officers, etc. all pay wages based on the skills required to do the job. Why do you think there are so many advertisements to fill all these sales positions? Real simple answer…..those are the jobs that nobody wants! If people actually wanted them there would be far less advertisements.

    Granted, there are salespeople that do very very well, but these are the exception. The vast majority of people that work in sales fail miserably because, as the author already stated, salespeople are required to define needs, not address them. If you work in sales and think you are a ‘consultant’ think again. Consultants are paid for their advice, not paid based on what type of advice they give.

    I used to work in sales, probably one of the least respected jobs out there, next to politicians and lawyers. Now, I have a real job where I actually have to use my brain and help others. I work half the hours for twice the pay and the best part is that my annual bonus is based on how much business the salespeople bring in! No cold calling, no chargebacks, no abuse, and no more unattainable goals. Yes, the grass truly is greener on the other side.

  10. Steve,

    I respect your post and think you make a lot of great points. My question is this, however: what do YOU do and where do YOU work? I have been in B2B sales now for 6 months and yes, it’s rough. But to say that sales careers are a total joke? Come on. If it wasn’t for “sales minded” CEO’s and small business owners, our economy would be no where, and you would probably be out of a job.

    And sales people have no real useful talent in the business world? A B2B sales position requires much more than business world talent. Not only do you need to be extremely smart, you need to be driven, competitive, energetic, positive, quick on your feet, like-able, business savvy, ethical, confident and much more.

    Regardless of whether I stay in the industry, I work extremely hard and I wouldn’t consider talking negatively about your career choice. I’m not try to defend my job, but wow – have a little respect, yourself. In fact, I look up to all sales professionals for being able to do it. It takes a special person to do what we do.

  11. Andrew,

    I respect your opinion but must disagree. First, you are extremely green, having only been in B2B sales for 6 months. As I mentioned there are good sales careers, and you might very well be in one. And yes, I agree with you that sales is necessary in today’s economy, but today, you have management teams that will do anything to make money and, for the most part, have completely unrealistic targets. The truth is that it is much more difficult to make a living being a salesperson today than ever before. In the past, we relied on salespeople to give us information that wasn’t available anywhere else. Today, you need to look no further than the internet to get this information. The salespeople are merely order takers in most cases and management will make your life miserable in order to hit their sales targets.

    Regarding smarts and intelligence, I’d love for you to quantify your conclusions. The reality is that there are plenty of sales jobs that require nothing more than a high school education. Sure, there are more technical positions, but overall, there is very little analytical ability required to do the job. Furthermore, I can’t think of any job that doesn’t require you to be competitive, energetic, positive, quick on your feet, like-able, business savy, ethical, or confident, as you indicate. These are qualities you need for any job out there and aren’t unique to sales careers.

    And let’s talk about ethics for a minute. Here’s a fact. 100% of salespeople have lied at one point or another to make a sale. For the record “exaggerating the truth” is lying as is “leaving out important information” that would otherwise ruin the sale.

    I am sure you are a hard worker. You might even enjoy your job and that’s half of it. I, however, am done being told to outright lie, or manipulate clients in order to get them to buy my product. Ask anyone you know and they will probably tell you that salespeople are some of the least respected people out there, right up there with lawyers and politicians. I do have quite a bit of respect for you for embarking on this as a career choice, but I am quite confident that given some time doing your job, you will quickly see what the reality is. By the way, if you’re so happy being in a sales job, what are you doing reading this blog in the first place?

  12. So the only jobs available are in salds od at Wal-Mart? I'm confused by your logic.;

  13. Thanks for this post. I have just left a very lucrative Direct Marketing managerial job at my company to return to my old lower paying position in the eCommerce team. I managed a whole 2 months in the marketing/sales dept and it was rough! I couldn’t handle having my entire work objective centred around “get more customers”. It was a way too competitive and hard environment for me, and my time there revealed I needed to go back to the area of the business where your objective was “helping our customers/fixing their problems”.

  14. Sales sucks. I am doing it now only because I moved to a state that doesnt have the industry that I worked in professionally (film industry). Im stuck in a town where I have no usable skills. Thats why people do sales. Sales is for people with no marketable skills.

  15. Sales absolutely sucks! I think most people would find it incredibly revealing if they only knew how many LARGE and so-called Reputable companies are churning and burning employees….excuse me, CONTRACT WORKERS, at an incredibly alarming rate. Everyone knows that these sales sharks exist in all of the following:
    Car sales and financing (never buy a car without the knowledge of invoice price and all apllicable rebates. Never, EVER finance a car at a dealership!)
    Furniture
    Most electronics
    Telemarketing (duh) What type of a clod would telemarket?

    Here are some that most people are unaware of:

    All financial service companies. The very people who are supposed to “MANAGE” your portfolio are devils in 300 dollar suits swindling you out of every dime they can.

    All insurance companies. I saw somewhere recently that AFLAC was in the top 20 companies to retain a job. WTF??? their turnover rate is over 96%.

    Funeral services. Yep! Amazing….

    B2B consulting. Really?! Why would any logical business owner hire a consultant or 3rd party to come in and evaluate their business? It is in these peoples best interest to milk the process for as long a possible. Why would they ever want to fix the problems? They would then have to locate another dumbass business
    owner to screw. And that is hard to do.

    Payment processing.

    The list goes on and on. I usually ask or research any big ticket item I buy to see if the sales people are paid on commission only. If they are I move on. They have absolutely no incentive to help me or provide the correct information for what I am looking for. Why would they? The truth hurts their bottom line.

    Fortunately, as others have stated here, I think that this type of sales model is running its course. Too much knowledge is out there for any to learn with a point and click. That is why these sales positions and the interviews that come along with them are in fact “sales” pitches in and of themselves to sucker potential employees…..,excuse me prospects as they are called, into a no win situation. These guys will almost hire anyone who would fog up a mirror. Do you want to be in an company that does this? I don’t…..and won’t.

  16. Stanley – I agree with much of what you say. I have been in sales for 15 years and enjoyed relatively good success but it was relationship based. That is, no contracts (you can get rid of me at anytime) and the products were bought weekly so my continuing efforts made a difference in proper account management. My clients clearly placed value on what I did for them. Unfortunately those days ended about 7 years ago. And yes, many of the sales gigs nowadays are jokes

    To Rob in comment 17 — I fear you are right about the marketable skills situation for sales people. I even told that to my wife saying precisely the same thing just four weeks ago (I kid you not) talking about my/our future.

    I do have one thing to say to you and a question:

    First, since you are in sales in this new state, do your best, be honest – don’t compromise your values and look to move up in the company – away from sales.
    Second, why did you move out of a state where opportunities were more befitting a person of your skills (film?)

  17. Steve,

    I think you hit the nail on the head in the first paragraph of your reply to Andrew –

    but today, you have management teams that will do anything to make money and, for the most part, have completely unrealistic targets.

    The issue is not all on Sales people. It is on management and even the executives who do nothing but look at numbers. And when you get a boss that tells you to ‘make it happen” with very little support, many fall prey to becoming that sales rep you so very much despise.

    That is not to say that sales reps are great people doing the Lord’s bidding. I am just pointing out that there are many factors.

    Coincidentally, I read in a reply to this blog where someone explained that they went back to their job in a customer service position because of the continued stress of getting new clients. Exactly, taking care of someone who is already “buying in” to what you offer is a lot easier than getting them interested in the first place. And for those who lie or mislead to do it, their clients typically do not stick around and they are gone.

    Still, sales does suck and you should truly use the experience as a springboard to moving up in a company and learning about what else is out there to possibly start your own business.

  18. FYI, I have found that not being pushy, being honest to a fault and giving the prospect the opportunity to just say no if they are not interested has resulted in more conversations and opportunities for myself. Who knew?

    Reminds me of the scene from Tommy Boy when little Tommy Callahan gets the waitress to turn on the fryers to get him some buffalo wings. He was himself AND he really did not care if she did it or not. After all, he had the meat lover’s frozen pizza in the trunk of the car.

  19. Just a mid-summer update to give to everyone that follows this forum or it on here for the first time…..

    Yes, the economy is bad right now and jobs are scarce. There is an abundance of sales jobs out there so I wanted to give everyone some useful advice before embarking on “the last job you’ll ever need”.

    First, once again, these jobs are available and advertised for a reason–the previous person wasn’t cutting it and if they couldn’t, you probably won’t either. The flip side is maybe the firm is embarking on some sort of expansion. BEWARE! Unless the firm is newer or the product is newer, why would they be looking to hire someone now?

    Second, there are so many scams out there. I’ve been to hundreds of networking events where these people prey on those who are desperate for work. If they can’t explain to you what the job is or what their firm does, MOVE ON. If they tell you that you ‘just need to check out our website’, MOVE ON. If they invite you to an information session, MOVE ON.

    And lastly, almost all sales jobs will ‘sell you’ on the job while you are interviewing. Remember, the hiring managers are salespeople too and they are paid for bringing people in the door and in many cases, a percentage of the sales that you make. The most common phrase you will likely hear from them is that “this is your own business”. While this statement has some merit, it should be rejected as false as it is nothing more than bait to lure you into working for them. If it was really your own business, why do you have a boss? Why don’t you own this business that they are providing to you? The facts are that you will have a boss and you don’t own the business…….and that’s the point.

    If you really wanted your own business, why would you be interviewing with them in the first place? Just go start your own business and take all the profits instead of just a percentage. Bottom line, you’re interviewing because you want a JOB, not your own business. While it’s nice to have the ‘benefits of entrepreneurship with the umbrella of a big corporation’, the reality is that this is really just paid slavery as the owners/managers are making much more money off of you than you are making for yourself.

  20. My experience with sales jobs was that they told me it was very lucrative and that I had real talent. Trouble is I didn’t make a dime spent on gas and food and got a bad report out of it because they didn;t want me to leave.

  21. Yeah sales is a joke. I moved to phoenix az 3 years ago. Was in Los Angeles with a normal job paying 75k plus OT. I moved here thinking I was going to work part time from home because my wife had a good job paying six figures. Soon after moving here we ended up out of work and the only jobs in Phoenix in this economy are these lame ass sales gigs. I had a total of 3 jobs in nearly 17 years in los angeles. In the past 3 years I have had about 8 sales jobs, 4 this year alone. Its a lame way to live and I feel sorry for the people that have done this for decades. A couple times I worked my way up to manager only to be laid off in a merger or a going of business situation. These call center sales jobs are the worst. I have worked at Gannett local<–horrible shithole, Univ of Phoenix<– sweatshop have to punch out to piss job, and many other small family owned companies that pay total shit base salaries and want the world from you. They advertise for these jobs year after year because nobody can do them. Nobody really wants to make hundreds of phone calls day after day looking for a customer. Most of these smaller family owned companies dont want to pay for advertising. They would rather waste money on people to make lame calls or sit in a seat and collect the 24K base while looking for another job.

  22. I have read and agree with so much of what has been written here. I have been in sales for the last five years after graduating from college with an English degree. I, like many others, fell into sales because it was simply the easiest job to get with no experience. Now, I am in a position where I am expected to cold call on new business for 40+ hrs per week and I am miserable. I can find very very few positions that you can be qualified for after a few years in sales. You are simply stuck it seems. Can anyone make a suggestion as to a career path away from sales? My corporate office is a thousand miles away from my home so moving up the corporate chain in another position is not possible. Thanks.

  23. Hi Dave,

    I feel your pain. I hate being in sales, It is a little easier if you can be the manager or in a call center the supervisor. At least then your not making the calls. Other then that you can start any career you want if your willing to start at the bottom and work your way to a living wage. Im to old now to do that so I try for sales manager or supervisor gigs.

  24. Sales was for a very long time a fairly decent “career” option. I say “career” because if you were good at it you could build a set of skills and experiences that made you valuable to companies and you could work your way up a company through either management, operations, etc… as some other posters noted many CEO’s have come from the sales end of things, this is far less true today where many C-level execs are more from the MBA/Finance arena. The deteriorating economy has had many far flung effects, among them has been the complete deterioration of the sales career and a very real dilution of its value to companies. Sales positions are merely “jobs” now, they last for very short periods, usually 6 months to 2 years max, and most people are let go due to no fault of their own, its simply economics. I was one of these people, worked my way up over a span of about 5 years to a high base salaried position in tech sales, I would say conservatively that I maintain connection with over 30 people in the sales world of varying positions and none of them, ZERO are still in sales anymore, they have all quit, or been laid off. I didn’t write this to belittle anyone currently in sales or thinking about pursuing it, but just that it pays to think through whether this is something you really see as making sense for you.

  25. Unfortunately, after over 15 years in B2B sales I am prone to agree with you that sales is a terrible career. There have been several years where I made over $100k, but the economy has definitely put my “career” into a tail spin. So many employers try to convince me why a commission only position is the only choice for a truly talented sales rep. This is such a scam. They want you to invest all of your time and efforts into growing their company, but they invest absolutely nothing into you. You can literally work for three or four months before realizing that either you did not have what it took for that particular position or industry or that the company was simply not positioned well within the industry. Of course the blame will always be on the sales person. Zig Ziglar could sell ice to Eskimos, right? Probably not.

    Businesses large and small have one loyalty and that is to their bottom line. With commission only sales jobs you are in a very vulnerable position. You can work for a company and they can decide that it makes more sense for them to keep your clients than to keep you. They can do this even for salaried positions, but at least with a salary you can afford to feed your children while you learn the ropes. Sales people need to form a union.

  26. Less then a year into a position at one of the largest companies in my industry. I bought all the lies of the sales industry gurus. “Honorable career, freedom, earning potential”

    What a load. I am a professional pest, subjecting legitimate working people to cold calls and pretend followups intended to gather info on more potential business. The management from head office who visit are money hungry greedy losers who I would NEVER associate with outside of work. Multi-million dollar distributor and they can’t even market, they want to call and call and call. It never ends.
    I can feel my ethics being slowly eroded away as I spend my days harassing people for a company that spends next to nothing on marketing.

    Yesterday a co-worker told me I need to learn how to lie to make more sales. Time for a career change, professional sales in today’s world is truly becoming bottom feeding. I make good money and meet my sales goals too but this just sucks.

  27. I hate sales jobs too! I am in my 2nd yet this one is noot as obnoxious as my 1st one. I am a wine rep for grocery stores, so its all about relationships and not so bad since I sell them something they already buy. My company drives me nuts but since I don’t see them often I can deal with it.

    here is what I have recognized of people who actually do well and stay in the sales industry: many are former athletes who still need to win at something and overpower their competition. Others are those with inferiority complex who need to prove themselves over their competition or managers. Many of the men in sales tend to be a lil on the short or small side, nothing against men like that! Just an observation! So the short man aggressive complex is good for driving sales. The ones who do the best in my opinion are the ones who need to be best friends with everyone and need lots of social attention and therefore can make lots of sales that way. So you see its all about these people getting their psychological needs met subconsciously and it works.

  28. Im still stuck in sales. Sending resumes out though. The base salary I am paid is lower then what I earned 20 years ago fresh out of college. The manager and the supervisors make me ill. They are basically babysitters who just say encouraging pep talks to keep us calling people. Of course they dont have to call anyone. Armchair backseat drivers. They get paid a real salary and a bonus based on our hard work. This isnt a career, its just exploitation. What gets me is I am basically the only one there who feels this way. The rest of my group have been at this company for on average 15 years. Some have been there for 20. Very few if any graduated from college. I feel like a total fish out of water there. I just think its such a stupid way to live. Im stuck in a town with no jobs other then these call center sales gigs. Cant sell my home so I cant leave. I go in there each day and fake it like Im enjoying it so I can stay. looking for an escape route. Its getting harder now that I am on my fourth year monkeying around in these telemarketing gigs.

  29. Tjo, Dinge können so einfach erscheinen! Besten Dank für die Erklärungen :)

  30. I see a lot of different negative posts about sales. Don’t people realize that if there were no sales there would be no business. While everyone likes to brag about their Cush office jobs it’s all an illusion. Being confined to a cubicle or an office looking at a computer screen 8 to 10 hours a day is not all glamorous. Outside sales gives you a chance to get out into the world and have a direct impact on the bottom line of a business. And yes sales is not all glamorous but what profession is? And most b2b sales do require at least a baechelors degree. Not all sales jobs are built the same.

  31. Salesmen aren’t needed for sales. Just customers.

    I know what I need. I know where to get it. And so does almost everybody else in the world. So what the hell is a salesman for?

    I couldn’t be a salesman if I tried. It’s insulting to humanity to think that you have the right to interrupt their life to tell them they need to buy things from you.

    Get lost.

  32. Actually you dont need sales people to get sales. You just need a good product and it needs to be priced competitively. There is a need for customer service but not for some loser to keep pestering them to buy stuff they dont need or want.

  33. namerequired and Rob… what a load of tosh! You obviously do not understand sales.

    Customers are often not aware of the problems they face. When a good salesman enters the scene he can advise them on ways to improve and prosper. He can make their company more profitable whilst saving them money and at the same time he can make a lot of money for himself, not only this but he makes their life better and free’s up time for them to engage in other activities… a true win-win situation, which should always be the case. A good salesman is and will always be required… the shit ones never have been and never will be wanted.

    In saying this however, it is indeed a tough world to live in. The money is undeniably much better than most jobs and the skills required to be at the top are again admirable. However enjoying the job is a whole other thing, it is stressful, high pressure and not overly enjoyable.

    Usually I’d like an alternative job which I’ve had before and know is easier, nicer and less stressful, but then I think about the huge salary reduction, the longer hours, the continual learning often required etc… and I usually fall back to Sales as it is a more senior position in reality (the coalface of any company). Why do you think most MD’s are in Sales? However can I promote sales… no, it’s bloody tough. Can I condone it… no it’s bloody high level stuff, very well paid and a senior role within any company (consultative B2B sales at least).

    So in summary, Yes Sales does suck but boy it sure does pay big bucks. I advise anyone starting out in work (beginners) to get into consultative sales but for those in a professional career for a while, now considering Sales… consider it carefully.

    Do you want to be in a miserable job, admittedly with loads of time to yourself should you wish to pursue non work related things but also having a constant pressure on your shoulders to perform, whilst earning a fortune? It’s really not as easy a decision to make as you might imagine.

  34. Thank you, oh, thank you! I have been in retail sales for over 10 years. I feel as though I have aged 40 years. I’ve sold everything: cars, insurance policies, medical goods, brand-name clothes & accessories. It has sucked the life right out of me. I get tired of sales techniques that LACK INTEGRITY. Enough of defending lousy warranties & fine print or trying to out-talk the customer to make a sale. Then trying to out-talk more to save the sale, or excuse the product defect.
    Then if you decide you’ll treat the customer as you’d like to be treated…you’re WRITTEN UP for not following by-the-book shady sales strategy.
    For once, I’d like a job that doesn’t violate my ethics & keep my awake at night.
    For once, I’d like to not have to defend poor products & poor services to make a working-class check.
    I cannot speak for B2B, but retail sales is the 7th Circle of Hell and I cannot wait to leave it! If THIS is what runs business in this country, then we’re all screwed!
    Again, Mr. Bruan, thank you! Thank you!

  35. I agree with Vonna100: Thank you.
    Additionally, I agree with many of the rest of you. Whether your argument is that sales can be a lucrative career, or that it is soul-sucking and hopeless, I find my own fears and ideas about sales reinforced by the points you *all* make.
    I sell insurance– or at least, I try– and each day, I leave my desk wondering if I should even bother coming back the next day.
    Once a month, the company president asks me when my numbers will go up. Once a month, I explain to the company president that out of ten ‘prospects,’ three are out of business, four do no not speak English, one is insured by our competitor, one says he or she isn’t interested, and one will let my call go to voice mail. Each month, I out-call the other sales person with whom I was hired by 160 or more calls. Each month, two of my clients prematurely end the quoting process because they are sick of supplying more and more information to my underwriter. My underwriter tells me one figure for a premium, and my supervisor tells me another. The company president tells me I can sell a particular program in a particular state, and my supervisor tells me I cannot sell that particular program in that particular state. The company president tells me we may have to re-evaluate my employment if my sales don’t go up, and my underwriter refuses to let me issue a multi-million dollar policy at a premium that would literally secure my job for the next two months.
    What’s really ridiculous is that the company president wasn’t even aware of a deal-breaking exclusion on the policy until I told him about it. I learned of this exclusion after four months of selling the policy. The president oversaw the company for six years before I brought the exclusion to his attention.
    I love the concept of insurance. I see insurance as the US’ ultimate victory: we, as a nation, have capitalized upon the concept of communism. Premiums and claims = ‘Each gives according to his ability, and each receives according to his need.’ I love the contracts, the details, the math, the language.
    I do not love the constant pressure vice formed by my manager and my underwriter.
    I didn’t go to college for four years to have every Debbie, Carol, Cheryl, and Donna in the US hang up on me.
    I didn’t ace every language arts exam I ever took, or read entire books in a single day, or ‘Wow!’ my journalism professor with every piece I ever wrote just to be second in sales to a colleague who misspells the words in the subject lines of the emails he sends to clients.
    I am more educated, articulate, and reasonable than most of the ‘prospects’ who reject me on a daily basis.
    I don’t want to succeed in this environment, because success is causally linked with manipulation and luck. I have been lucky enough in my general life experience, but know better than to let my future depend on it. What’s worse than watching someone I don’t respect defeat me is knowing that I’m wasting someone’s money while simultaneously wasting my own time.
    Outside my sales job, I’m a model, a painter, and a bartender. I make more money per hour at my bar job than I do at my sales job. I only took the sales job because I don’t want to be forced to keep the bar job forever, and let’s face it: there is no job security in liberal arts.
    People who succeed in sales are a necessary part of the US economy. I don’t intend to bash the position. Sure, my belief is that success in sales relies on manipulation and luck. It’s a capitalist economy, so if someone can make a buck by manipulating someone else at an opportune moment, then great: have at ‘er.
    Sales isn’t for me. Sales leaves me wondering day after day where I will be in two months, two years, two decades. Sure, like Miley Cyrus said, “It ain’t about how fast I get there; it ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side; it’s the climb,” but sales is a brittle, rotting branch sticking out of the side of my life’s metaphoric cliff, and I don’t know how much longer I can hang on.
    Thank you, again, for everything you all have written. I don’t have to go on wondering if I am useless or inadequate just because I am not a shining sales star. I’m just me, and I’m going to go look for other jobs, now.

  36. thanks everybody! Some company found my resume on careerBuilder and “cold called” me, offering me a job, like it had applied with them. It was for sales.

    And, the boss acted in all of the ways you guys describe- selling me on the job, directing me to their website, saying the bad economy was B.S., etc.

    I’ll think twice about leaving my part time assembly line job for this stupid job! By the way, the assembly line job never tried to sell me on “unlimited earning potential, such a great career”, or what have you.

  37. I’m sorry but I actually disagree with this article. Vector Marketing markets Cutco Cutlery. Sales reps don’t have to go door to door, do B2B nor do they have to do cold calling. They only see people that they have appointments with already. The sales rep is loaned a sample kit at no cost to themselves. They meet with everyone from house wives, to restaurant chain owners and real estate gift dealers. They receive referrals from each customer they see. They contact these referrals and continue from there. Reps will get paid a base pay regardless of sales but there is a commission based incentive pay. The reason why a sales rep is needed to present a product like Cutco is because a customer would have no clue that this type of product is available as it is not in stores and the features need special explanation. I have never had to lie, twist the truth, leave out information or exaggerate to make a sale. We use harder steel than most companies which means that our products stay sharp longer. Cutco uses thermo resin handles so that the knives are dishwasher safe. Cutco knives also feature a Double D (Double Durable) edge which is neither straight nor serrated and last no less than 7 years but has been known to stay sharp for upwards of 20. The company offers a forever guarantee which out lasts the original buyer. The company replaces damaged knives for free, offers a free sharpening service and a 15 day money back guarantee. Obviously a customer wouldn’t know anything about the product as it is not in stores. The only way to purchase the knives is through a sales rep. Now, perhaps I am a bit green to the sales industry as a whole but I have nothing but positive experiences with this company. Customers generally repeat business 3 to 4 times, so I would say that they are happy with the sale also. I have had customers to actually get rid of the knives they have already purchased to buy Cutco. Everyone does not succeed, I will admit. But for those who have found careers with the company, yearly income ranges from $60,000 to over a million dollars in income. My customers enjoy me and the product as they call back to purchase more. I love MY SALES job. Maybe I should steer away from looking for work with any other companies.

  38. Old post New or Same Meaning. Economic Conditions may play into answer here , here we are 4 years later, not much of the answers changed. Many addressed what I felt being in sales all my life. Robert Aponte was on track and many others. To dude its just a job yes, perhaps lighten up but when its been what you poured your heart and soul and try to build a stable financial environment for your family its tough to view it as just a job. Yes, I also feel that I gave and gave and in high tech capital sales things change constantly. Try to get out of sales in your field after you went through several mergers and buy-outs. Having a different job every 3-4 years was a norm. In fact most of the managers and upper management moved more than I did. We did this not by choice. So when you go to look at other industry sales or non-sales positions its a tough perception and easy to get overlooked on that alone. And in this business and even probably worse in lets say pharma, the older you are the less likely you are to get hired. Its not that you aren’t better, perhaps just or even more energy and desire and need (kids, mortgage, tuition,etc.) along with your experience, its just the good jobs are less and the entry and mid level sales jobs they wont look at you. As one manager of 35, with a sales staff of 25-37 year olds put it– we don’t want to work with our dads. And many would feel fear of potentially being intimidated and or/undermined (even though usually not the case). Meanwhile like other said you have friends that just work for government or large corps, that have less education, work ethic etc. or some that just do their job decent good worker and move up the ladder or move into a vacated spot etc. here and there over time and end up with a decent wage good benefits and pension. Pension in sales –joke. Its like being a theater major or college athlete. There are a few winners and many losers and no matter how good you are, you will to no fault of your own you will eventually have at least one rocky tumble. In some sales you will have those big win falls and then nothing. If you can get into a company or field that is not a one-shot sell, that has little turnover then that’s not a bad way to go- some times those jobs require like couple with an engineering degree,etc. But the ones that give cars are usually more stable as they are investing into you , although some don’t always make the big bucks but a fair wage. But where is your next promotion when the sales manager dies. I say get your feet wet with sales and try to get into only large well know brand companies get further education like masters in whatever would advance you in similar companies such as finance, engineering , healthcare, computer science and move out of sales as quickly thereafter. Marketing and advertising is the same, few winners lots of losers (meaning the odds of hitting big). Be cautious double check the Koolaid they are giving you. Does over half the sales reps been their more than 2-5years?10years? Beleive me I’d rather take the 60-80K (some with co.cars) retire with a pension route that my friends have vs. the up and down and looking and switching job route with no pension, even though yes some years I made 100-144K. Now I’m 53 without a real job for 2 years with 2 kids in college. Shrinking 401k, stuck in lousy housing market to move else where or lose value.

  39. Steve, You had me agreeing till you mentioned that you are thankfully no longer using your brain and making good money but mentioned that you make good money due to the sales and off of the sales and business the sales persons in your company brings in. Kind of a fallacy there. Then you personally need sales people to reap the fruits of the job you now like so much. I agree with Stanley mostly on all the sales jobs he mentioned. And to others saying most sales jobs require little because they offer little. But I feel I use my brain as I knew my current Vertical market and other industries I specialized in selling to such as health care, educational, automotive in the high tech capital arena. operations and yes I did actually sometimes get calls from referaled or other professional services and no not a paid consultant (although I’ve been asked to from time to time)but they knew I helped a customer better define and pinpoint specific problems or issues and propose and clearly demonstrate a proven solution and show from other customers and information that we were capable to design and execute solution successfully at a reasonable value and that my customers felt that it was because I was detailed , professional and carefully listened and helped through any little expected problems and prepared them for any unexpected problems they would encounter. So yes I wore many hats, I would have to find potential customers, show them their is perhaps a need, do surveys and gather info, collaberate on a solution, present it to many departments and upper management, deal with CFOs and possible finance or leasing professionals then help implement in a quasi sales engineer and finally as a quasi customer service. I needed to know somethings in detail and many things fairly well. So yes this is industry trained and experience and knowledge built over the years. So you may not have to be a brainiac, but you have to be sharp and dedicated. However, my income was only tied to sales, nothing more. But in order for me to be successful, I had to do the rest also. Not all sales reps do. Depends on the business model. The negative, my manager forgets this as upper management cares about numbers now or short term. To do my job well in the long run I have to focus on all aspects. Other reps wont and cut corners maybe produce the same numbers but not same customer satisfaction and “good clean and fair profitable” installations. The business model does not recognize long term value as much and eventually companie get in a bad cycle and go down or get bought out etc. Sales people are easy to get rid of and they don’t always care if you were good or not or measure laast months or quarters but not your entire contribution, such as the good high profile companies you sold and made happy that they use in their brochures, white papers etc. You are always being used and no matter what you think you are expendable. And may have to start all over again. And if ytou think your customers are that loyal, they are not going to change companies because one individual they like when they have several other now from your company such as techs and customer service people at your company that they have built relationships post sale, with also- not going to happen. Along with they went out on an investment in what you sold them. (I sold rather big ticket mid market enterprise platform capital sales (50-250K typically)that people usually have long product life cycles tied into perhaps ongoing upgrades (which I didn’t get credit for. I had typically over 15-20 years bases of anywhere between 30-50K and would end up at 50-85K. I have a BS Marketing Management and some post grad ( 23 Cr. Hrs. )mostly Finance toward an unfinished MBA. Live in rust belt region. Now I can’t even get a job delivering Pizza, Home Depot or hawking cell phones at retail kiosk. After 50 good luck- age discrimination- they say well older workers need to update skills however my skills are up to date and I lived high tech and taught and sold cutting edge high tech and are much above typically most and especially among other non tech industry jobs I am also trying to enter. I am also still in decent shape and run 5Ks and mostly 10ks competitively and play in an over 30 basket ball league. Got terrible insurance a sick wife and 2 kids in college and another soon and not much assistance from me anymore just lots of loans. None of them are going into sales thank god certified healthcare PA & Speech Pathology and electrical engineering, all fields where yes you probably wont become a millionaire. But hopefully a decent shot at a good solid plannable career and fulfilling life. Sales people aren’t always inherintly bad or dishonest- most want to help and they do put people like Steve quoted above to work and economy flowing and solve problems, but others pulling the strings try to force them, including their sales managers, DM’s, VP’s and even investors and shareholders, but its a thankless many times lonely empty job.

  40. The truth about sales is. it’s like being a professional coach. Getting fired is enviable. You do well against your quota they raise it so you can’t hit that number and have the leverage. Prospects lie to you constantly and you as a sales person are expected to have accurate, predicable results when you’re dealing with people who won’t answer a phone or avoid your emails when it’s time to make a decision.

  41. It’s not like I really have a choice! I despise my job with every fiber of my beign but I can’t find any other job that will higher me. I’ve had like 7 suicide attemps due to this job. Is rather shovel dirt all day! But apparently I’m not qualified for anything else!

  42. I can relate to some posts like Martin’s. Having had 15+ years in Retail Sales I finally got my first B2B Sales Job in 1993. I have had a steady progression in sales and now am selling technical goods and services with sometimes very long sales cycles.

    The sales job can be very rewarding both from a financial and ego-boost standpoint (landing the big one) but the “suck” factor is always there to some extent. The company you work for makes all the difference, I can not over emphasize that. You must have an attitude that your products/services are superior to that of your competitors or you will not last long at a company. If your don’t believe in your companies’ product, you should not be working there.

    Sales isn’t a good career path for most people. You have to be thick-skinned to hear the word “No” thousands of times over and over. Even more so to hear “Let me think about it”. Even if you are 100% ethical in business, like I try to be, there are days where you’d rather not get out of bed in the morning.

    The things that have helped me be successful in B2B Sales are being honest-even if you will lose a sale here and there to competitor, know your competition backwards and forwards, be disciplined and be humble.

    It is getting harder and harder to get new prospects however, since most people today use their office phone as an outgoing device only. If your company is not drawing prospects in using “pull” Marketing, it can really make for a long day trying to find prospects nowadays.

  43. Had my customer service job turn into a sales job overnight and now I am dealing with a manager who on one hand tells me how much money i can make and on the other berating me because my commissons aren’t as big as the other salespeople- who’ve been doing the job longer and wanted to be sales.

  44. This is a funny one for ya. How many times have you all gone to a site like glassdoor and read the job reviews to see this sentence. “Great company to work for as long as your not in sales” I swear I see this exact quote word for word on every job review board. Great job if your in the IT dept. Great job if your in Accounting. Great job as long as your not a sales person. Also you get this.. Great place to work but if you in sales you will remain there. They never promote the sales people. If your hired as sales you will always be that. ahahahaha Thats a quote from a review of yelp job in sales.

  45. Reading this page was like a big relief for me: I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    I’ve just returned from a teaching career overseas to get back into Multimedia, but the only people that I can seem to get an interview with thus far are sales companies. Sales jobs may suck, but they seem to be big in demand, and they’re sneaky, too…..
    As someone else here said: most sales job postings will have all these fancy and misleading titles doing everything they possibly can NOT to mention the “S” word: Marketing Consultant, Account Executive, Event Planner, everything they can to dress up the word “salesman”.

    And as much as people will tell you how “full of opportunity, growth, and potential” it is, there’s never been a career I had to work so hard at for so little, while being forced to be so dishonest.
    Simply put: sales jobs are for young bucks fresh out of college looking for work experience and nothing more. If you’re in your 30s, and have a wife and kids, forget about getting into sales!! An entry level job will take ALL of your time and energy, while not even beginning to cove your expenses!! As the article said, even the “high up” guys don’t make all that much!! Boasting about 2500 dollars? That’s just depressing!!
    I’d rather make more than twice as much, doing something I love, though honesty and integrity, while doing a fraction of the work. I’d rather not be 40 years old still busting my ass just to pay the goddamn rent!!!

  46. 315 am and I’m on google and I see this pop up after searching “I hate my sales job”. Hahaha. Well, I do. I’m making decent money, but have the responsibility of 2 employees, and have been moved across the country to a city and region I absolutely hate. The job isn’t even what I was hired for, in that I’m now involved in a non-technical market with a non-technical product offering. I was hired to sell a highly technical product with the support of engineering and others, into high volume industrial accounts. Now I’m selling these low cost non-technical products, into small non-technical accounts and absolutely hate it. Additionally, the sales goals I have are completely contradictory in that if I adhere to the company goals, my bottom line won’t grow, and if I focus on growing my bottom line, I won’t achieve the company goals. Utterly ridiculous. I’m stressed out all of the time, gained 15 pounds over the past few years, don’t exercise anymore, and my company has provided no direction with respect to career growth, or relocation to somewhere that is a better fit for me. Time to go. I literally don’t care what I do as long as it doesn’t make me feel like the used car salesman I feel like now.

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