Career in Insurance

Direct Sales As A Career

When you think of direct sales as a career, you immediately picture a well-dressed man wearing a crisp clean shirt and a tie, knocking at your door and selling you all sorts of things, from vacuum cleaners to water filters and much more. Direct selling refers to person-to-person selling of products or services outside a commercial establishment. Instead of brick-and-mortar stores where the customers come to you, direct selling involves approaching the customer directly by going door-to-door or by calling them. This form of sales is highly important as it is conducted one-on-one without the need for any middleman. It allows the sellers to build a strong relationship with their customers and provide great customer service and personal attention.

While it may provide a lot of advantages for the company, direct sales is not really considered a great career opportunity. Fresh out of college, people looking for a new career path are not very likely to look at a sales job. This is because in a sales profession you are likely to meet a number of people on a daily basis and may feel dejected if the customer is rude to you or refuses to take your call. Unfortunately, today’s generation, where parents have one or two kids at the most, is more likely to be pampered by their parents. They do not have the habit of accepting rejections, and often get so disheartened with repeated dejections that they tend to leave the job. Here are certain downsides of direct sales as a career.

Direct Sales as a Career

Shortfalls of Direct Sales as a Career

Tiring and Involves Hard Work

Why don’t people want to opt for direct sales as a career? One of the key reasons for this is that it is a tiring job that involves loads of hard work. Unlike cushy desk jobs that rake in a lot of big bucks, direct sales as a career involves challenges and stress. The job is extremely fast paced and requires a person to be constantly on his toes. Moreover, it is hard to handle the pressure of an environment where the axe is constantly hanging over your head.

Income is based on Performance

In sales, the income is intrinsically tied to the performance of the salesperson. If you perform well, you are likely to get hugely rewarded for it. The high income is also tied to added pressure and stress to perform. On the flipside, you are also more likely to lose out if you are a slacker.

The Job Gets Tougher as a Sales Team Leader

As a team leader, you have a huge task of training your team and often motivating them to achieve seemingly unrealistic targets. Direct marketing is not about achieving small numbers on a daily basis but aspiring to achieve bigger numbers in the long run. This is because it is only eight out of the 30 days in the month that you would successfully achieve your targets. The rest of days you have to get ready to face the new challenge. It is all about continuous failure and getting back on track and motivated every day to achieve better results next day.

Why a Career in Direct Sales is Great

I started my career in Direct Marketing and used to sell auto loans. But to sell auto loans, we first used to sell the car to the customers because once that is decided, the loan is automatically sold. Similarly, we have seen that salesmen while selling water purifiers would highlight the health benefits of purified water instead of just selling the machine. In direct sales, the emphasis should be on selling the idea instead of just a product.

Not many people (who have not worked in sales) are aware that there is a process in sales as well. If you stick to it you are bound to succeed like any other operational job. You learn in sales that how to open a discussion, how to take yes – yes response & how to close the sales. It is a proven fact that if you knock 80-100 doors at least 1-2 sales are confirmed on daily basis irrespective of the product. It inculcates the sense of urgency & result orientation in the sales person since beginning. If a person builds a good database in first six months of his career, he can survive his whole life in sales with the references from these customers alone. There are a number of benefits of this profession which are highlighted below:-

You can Write your own Salary Cheque

This is an old age saying but still true for direct sales. If you have that passion & skill then sky is the limit for your earnings. We have examples of many sales executive with an experience of 1-2 years earning more than a Vice president with an experience of 15-20 years on monthly basis.

Understand the Psychology of People

In direct marketing, you learn to handle different situations which in turn can give you great insights about the psychology of the customer and common people. This is a great asset which helps you to connect with people well & can help you grow in the long run in your chosen profession.

Boosts Confidence

A career in sales can help in removing all inhibitions and boosting confidence. You learn to meet a number of people without feeling shy. I have always considered myself an introvert but when it comes to sales I can go out and make presentations to anybody and sell the product without any hesitance.

Improves Communication Skills

Direct sales as a career may have its downsides but there are a number of benefits of such as career. The challenges of direct sales can vastly improve a person’s communication skills, time management skills, people skills, productivity skills and presentation skills. It teaches a person the value of hard work and regular customer interaction.

Long Lasting Relationship with Customers

Direct sales can you help in building a long-term relationship with the customers. There is a window for networking in various fields. This broadens your horizons and helps you make better decisions career-wise. You get references for life.

Sense of Achievement

Unlike redundant jobs where you do not feel like you have achieved anything, as a salesperson, there is a high level of accomplishment for achieving the desired targets and closing the sales. There is a thrill of achieving the challenging targets set. You can celebrate your success every day.

If you go through all these traits, you realize that they are similar to all the great leaders. Person with these qualities go on become business leaders, CEO & successful entrepreneurs. An experience in direct sales gives you a solid foundation for your career. Many FMCG and Pharmaceutical companies while hiring from prestigious management schools tend to place their trainees first in direct sales to give them the right foundation while starting off at least for 1-2 years. The new generation should give a thought to it and if they are willing they would reap great rewards for it. Especially those who have no formal technical education. Even those with mediocre track record in academics can make a strong career through this. Finally , if we follow the process & work hard to generate initial leads for few months ,Direct sales is not very tough profession as it appears to be.

Note: – The opinions expressed in this article are completely my own and are in no way associated with any organization I am affiliated with.

This article, written by the same author, was also published on LinkedIn

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