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What type of sales can you get into?

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

You probably encounter a salesperson’s work every day, without even realising it. A wide scope of organisations require graduates in a sales role, and we’re breaking down the various services and products you could be flogging.

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What industries do sales flourish in?

Generally, any graduates considering a sales role should regard their capabilities with an honest eye. Starting wages are by and large based on how difficult it is to pick up the basics of whatever you’re selling – as with other career types, some are more specialised than others, and require a greater amount of knowledge in a salesperson’s arsenal.

For example, software companies demand a high-level technical background for their sales teams, otherwise someone would flounder when pitching to their prospects. 

Comparative industries include real estate, finance and pharmaceuticals, which all demand a higher learning curve from new starters than industries further down the pay grade. Financial sellers, for instance, might trade investment plans on behalf of a bank, whilst a medical representative would try and get new drugs into the hands of healthcare professionals. 

The bottom end of the sector includes retail, events, telecoms, manufacturing and consumer goods, with door-to-door sales being a particular testing ground for beginners. These areas communicate with a much broader audience, and thusly engender a small amount of expertise to make a sale. 

Why this variety is important 

We’ve mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating – be honest with yourself about what level of sales work intimidates you. As a whole, companies are unlikely to keep anyone on after a couple of weeks if you aren’t making them money. That’s the basic element of any sales role, and if you can’t close a deal, you aren’t worth the investment.

Choosing your most adaptable industry, therefore, will ensure you hit the ground running on your very first day. The more you’re able to exhibit real passion in a sales position, the less you’ll struggle with the pressure of weekly cash targets and difficult questions thrown your way. 

Read what qualities you need to work in the sales and commercial sector

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The best employers to target 

Without limiting your search, here are some of our favourite graduate employers with a strong track record in nurturing new salespeople:

AstraZeneca – One of the UK’s biggest global health export firms, headquartered in Cambridge.

Mars – Confectionary and pet food giant, ubiquitous around the world.

Goldman Sachs – Investment banking corporation working primarily with financial institutions. 

Konica Minolta – Provides business solutions, such as legal security and IT infrastructure. 

Semex – Innovative genetics company treating livestock for disease and breeding impairments.

See the 10 popular graduate jobs in sales.   

Did you know…?

Something called the 80/20 rule exists in sales talk, pertaining to 80% of commission coming from 20% of clients on average. 

It often doesn’t pay to bombard potential clients with sales patter. Most training schemes teach graduates to parse information out in chunks, letting the prospect absorb everything one step at a time. 

The sector can be brutal. According to a study by Caliper Corp, 55% of people making a living in sales are performing at the bare minimum, and should be doing something else. 

In summary

This guide may be quite extensive, but that’s the very nature of the sales profession. You should relish selling anything to anyone if this really is for you; before finding your niche, this passion must run through your veins, with the confidence and will to succeed. Before long, you’ll be managing teams and directing future sales strategies, helping people like yourself rocket to the top. 

Discover sales and commercial graduate opportunities

Take a look at our list of graduate sales opportunities to kick-start your career.