“Profit or perish… There are only two ways to make money: increase sales and decrease costs.“
Fred DeLuca, Businessman
Pros and Cons of Working in Sales
You think about becoming a sales agent but are not sure whether this job is good for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all the pros and cons of being a sales agent in the following article.
Sales Agent Job Profile
|Job Description||Salespeople can work in many different industries and sell many different products to companies and also to the general public.|
|Salary||$63,000 per year on average, most salespeople make between $47,000 and $85,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Questionable since you are replaceable pretty easily.|
|Job Satisfaction||Decent if you are an extroverted personality who likes to talk to people.|
|Work-Life Balance||Decent since you will have enough leisure.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Can be mentally and emotionally demanding.|
|Future Outlook||Poor since many jobs will vanish in the sales industry in the future.|
|Requirements||No special educational requirements for becoming a salesperson. Finishing high school will often be enough.|
Advantages of Being a Salesperson
- Salespeople can make decent money
- Your efforts determine how much you make
- You can sell many different products
- You can work for many different companies
- Sales agents can improve their people skills
- You can work indoors most of the time
- Working in sales can be a nice career for extroverted people
- Salespeople can avoid heavy physical work
- You usually don’t work many extra hours
- Free weekends and holidays
- You don’t have to work at nighttime
- You don’t need a college degree for becoming a salesman
- The internet makes it easy to promote products
- You learn how to convince people
- Your skills may also be valuable for your private life
- You may be able to work self-employed
Salespeople can make decent money
One advantage of working as a salesperson is that you can make decent amounts of money.
In fact, selling things to people is one of the most valuable skills you can learn and if you do this in perfection, you may be able to make a six-figure income as a salesman and can make much more than people working as secretaries or in many other industries.
Not many other people with similar qualifications will make this amount of money and working in sales can therefore give you the opportunity for a fancy lifestyle.
Sure, not all people who work in sales will make much money.
However, the opportunity is definitely there and if you are willing to put in the work and are also willing to learn and improve, chances are that you will even be able to afford some luxury from working as a sales agent in the long run.
Your efforts determine how much you make
Most contracts in sales are also designed in such a way that you make more money the more you sell.
While this may cause a certain level of pressure, it can also give you the motivation to work hard and to really live for your salesman career.
The more hours you are willing to put in your job, the more you will earn on average and this will give you a feeling of fairness since you will see that your hard work will pay off while your lazier colleagues may not make that much money.
You can sell many different products
Another upside to working as a sales agent is that you can also sell many different products.
Whether you sell cars, kitchen equipment or latest technologies, the concept behind working in sales stays the same.
Basically, you just have to convince your clients that they need a certain product and that it provides them with more value than it costs.
If you learn this kind of argumentation and also develop good soft skills, chances are that you will be able to sell almost everything and after a few years, you will turn into a real selling machine.
You can work for many different companies
Not only will you be relatively free regarding what products you want to sell as a sales agent, but you will also be able to choose between many different companies you want to work for.
Sure, not all salespeople will have this kind of luxury and if you don’t know what you are doing and your results are poor, you will just not have that much choice.
However, good salespersons are requested by many companies out there and if you know what you are talking about and also have a friendly and convincing appearance, chances are that you will be relatively free to choose for whom you want to work.
Sales agents can improve their people skills
As a sales representative, you will also become pretty good at dealing with people.
In fact, this is the most important skill you will learn during your career as a sales agent.
You have to get into peoples’ minds and try to figure out what they are thinking, what drives and motivates them and so on.
You also have to learn about latest trends in your industry and how those trends affect employees and clients.
Since you will work with many different people every day, you will soon figure out how to interact with them so that you get them to buy your products.
In fact, while people are different, there are still some commonalities most of us have and if you learn how our minds work, you will be able to sell almost everything to everyone.
You can work indoors most of the time
Another benefit of becoming a sales representative is that you can work indoors most of the time.
You may take this for granted.
Yet, the reality is that many people out there still have to work under poor conditions outdoors, even during heavy rain or snow.
As a salesman, you will often be able to work in a rather protected environment and while many other people have to suffer from the cold outdoors, you will be able to use heating and may even be able to enjoy a nice coffee indoors.
Working in sales can be a nice career for extroverted people
Whether you will become successful in sales also greatly depends on your character traits.
If you are an extroverted person who loves to talk to people and to make new connections, working in sales can be great for you.
However, if you are a rather introverted person, becoming a salesperson may not make you happy in the long run.
Hence, you should take an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you are an introvert or extrovert and whether selling stuff to people is really what you want to do.
If you come to the conclusion that you are an extroverted personality who wants to talk to many new people every day, a sales career can be an excellent way to go for you.
Salespeople can avoid heavy physical work
As a salesperson, you will also be able to avoid hard physical work.
Most of the time, you will just sit in your office in front of your computer or make calls with your clients.
While this can be mentally and emotionally demanding, your risk of suffering from physical health issues will just be much lower compared to construction workers or other people who have to lift heavy things on a regular basis.
Hence, if you are the type of person who doesn’t want to lift heavy stuff and also wants to minimize the risk of physical health problems once you get older, working as a salesperson can be a good career option for you.
You usually don’t work many extra hours
As a sales agent, you will also not have to work many extra hours.
Sure, if you want to make good money and more than your peers, you will also have to work more than them.
However, if you are a rather relaxed person who wants to enjoy a good work-life balance, you can still do so while working in sales, even though you may not make as much money as if you worked overtime on a regular basis.
Consequently, you will be relatively free regarding how much you want to work as a sales agent and this also gives you the opportunity and the flexibility to work more when you urgently need money and to work less when you don’t.
Free weekends and holidays
You will also have free weekends and holidays as a salesperson most of the time.
Sure, you may sometimes have to work during those times during busy seasons of the year.
However, depending on the company you work for, you will get some free days during the week to compensate you for your weekend shifts.
You don’t have to work at nighttime
Sales representatives also don’t have to work at nighttime.
In turn, this means that you will have the opportunity to meet up with your friends while waiters and many other people still have to work during those unpleasant hours.
Moreover, you will also not be at great risk of suffering from sleeping problems like many other people who work in the evening or nighttime.
Consequently, your overall quality of life tends to be higher since good sleep is crucial for our well-being and our performance in general.
You don’t need a college degree for becoming a salesman
Another advantage of working in sales is that you don’t need a college degree.
In fact, some companies will not even require a high school diploma.
Sales is one of the few fields where you can make a nice career without having any formal education at all.
What is much more important in this field than a degree is that you can convince people and have a trustworthy appearance so that people are inclined to buy from you.
Hence, becoming a sales representative can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you don’t want to go to college and are just not the person who wants to study for many years.
Moreover, you can also save lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college and you can also avoid taking on student loan debt.
Hence, while many other people will struggle to finance college and will have to pay back large sums of money from student loans later in their lives, you can become independent pretty soon and will even have more financial freedom than most other young people.
The internet makes it easy to promote products
Depending on the niche you work in as a salesperson, you may also be able to leverage the internet to sell your products.
In fact, social media has become a really important channel for selling stuff and if you are willing to learn about digital marketing, you may be able to sell a multiple of what you would sell without those latest technologies.
Thus, it has never been easier to become a successful sales agent if you know what you are doing and also always stay up-to-date with latest technological developments.
You learn how to convince people
As a sales agent, you will also learn how to convince people.
This skill is pretty important since if you can convince people to do what you want them to do, many doors will open for you.
In fact, how good you are in convincing people will greatly determine your level of success as a salesperson and it can also be pretty interesting to learn about the psychology that sales is based on.
Your skills may also be valuable for your private life
Not only will your people skills that you learn through your career in sales benefit you in your professional life, but you can also take advantage of those skills in your private life.
In fact, if you know what drives people, you will soon be able to get them to do what you want them to do and this means that you can basically achieve anything you want in life if you really become good at this skill that most people out there are not able to master in perfection.
You may be able to work self-employed
Many sales agents also work self-employed. Instead of working for a company, you can also work in sales independently.
For instance, you may sell and resell stuff on the internet or you may start your own blog or YouTube channel and sell products through those channels.
Opportunities are almost endless in this regard any thanks to our modern state of the world, there are so many sales channels to choose from and instead of just working for a company, you can start your own sales business pretty easily if you are willing to put in the work and learn about those new channels that currently change the world.
As you can see, there are many important advantages to working in sales.
However, it is still not all upside and we should also talk about the downsides that come along with it to give you a more comprehensive picture of what working in the sales industry really looks like.
Disadvantages of Being a Sales Agent
- Teleworking will often not be possible
- Your salary will depend on the number and volume of sales
- Introverted people may barely make any money
- You may get into financial problems
- Old-age poverty may become an issue
- You have to sell things you may not believe in
- Pressure can be significant
- You have to meet strict goals
- You don’t learn many hard skills as a vendor
- Poor job security
- Rather unclear job prospects for salespeople in the future
- Working in sales may get boring in the long run
- Hard to get out of the sales industry
Teleworking will often not be possible
One problem with working as a salesperson is that you will often have to be present in an office or in a store in person and working from home will therefore not possible for you most often.
Sure, if you work self-employed and leverage social media channels, you may be able to work from home.
However, most sales agents who work for a company still have to commute to work almost every day and this can be really annoying since you will get stuck in traffic jams and have to waste many hours of your precious time each week on those unpleasant things while digital marketers and many other people can just work from home and are much more flexible in this regard.
Your salary will depend on the number and volume of sales
As a salesperson, your salary will often depend on the number and the volume of sales you make.
If you are a good salesman, you will be able to make pretty decent money and you may also get promoted rather soon.
However, if you are not good at what you are doing, you may not make much money and may even have to fear losing your job.
Hence, it will matter more than in most other jobs how you perform at work as a salesperson and if you don’t have the sales DNA, you may financially struggle sooner or later.
Introverted people may barely make any money
In fact, many introverted people who work in sales have a hard time making enough money to pay their bills.
Some of them even have to work second jobs to make a living from what they are doing.
Sales is a field where you can make really good money if you are good at what you are doing, yet you will make pretty poor money if you don’t.
Hence, make sure to learn as much about sales as possible before you get into this field since the sales environment can just be merciless if you don’t have the skills that are necessary for successful salesmen.
You may get into financial problems
If you don’t perform well at work, you may also soon have to deal with financial problems.
Since your income will vary depending on the volume of sales you make, you may have periods of the year where you make pretty good money.
However, there will also be periods of the year where you will barely make any sales and if you don’t save enough money during those good times, you may suffer from financial problems during bad runs.
Old-age poverty may become an issue
Many people who work in sales also experience financial trouble once they get older.
Since are often not able to save enough money during their active careers, they will also not be able to save and invest enough money for retirement.
In the worst case, this could mean that you will lose your home and that you end up homeless in the streets.
You have to sell things you may not believe in
Another disadvantage of being a salesperson is that you will have to sell many products you may not even believe in.
In fact, you will often have pressure to sell as many units as possible of a certain product and your boss will often not ask you whether you like the specific product or not.
Hence, you may also get a pretty bad conscience sooner or later since you know you will have to sell something to people they may not even need.
Pressure can be significant
You should also not underestimate the emotional pressure that comes along with working in sales.
Sales is a field that is pretty competitive and if you want to get promoted and earn good money, you just have to be better and work harder than most other people.
In turn, you may neglect your family and may also experience mental issues in the long run.
You have to meet strict goals
Another downside to working as a salesman is that you will also have strict goals you have to meet so that your boss will be happy with you.
In fact, most salespeople will struggle to meet those ambitious goals and if you are one of those people, chances are that you will just get fired sooner or later.
You don’t learn many hard skills as a vendor
While you will be able to improve your people skills quite a lot by working in sales, you will still not learn many hard skills as a sales agent.
This can be problematic, especially in case you don’t want to work in sales forever but rather aspire to a different career.
In such a case, you may have problems finding someone who wants to employ you since you will often just lack the skills to work in those fields.
Poor job security
You will also be pretty replaceable as a salesperson.
In fact, since you don’t need a degree for working in this field, almost everyone can get into this industry and this means that competition will be fierce.
Hence, only the best salespeople will be successful in the long run while many other people struggle with it and may even get fired pretty soon.
Rather unclear job prospects for salespeople in the future
Many salespeople will also no longer be needed in the future.
The internet just becomes increasingly important and especially the older generation of sales agents will often not be able to keep up with these developments.
In turn, many salespeople will lose their jobs in the near future and the number of people who will work in this field may decrease as well since the internet will enable companies to automatize many tasks.
Working in sales may get boring in the long run
A career in sales is also not for everyone. If you are not a real salesperson and don’t have the kind of DNA that is needed, you may become bored with your job sooner or later and may never get a feeling of fulfillment from what you are doing.
Hard to get out of the sales industry
You may also have serious issues switching fields as a salesman.
In fact, you will not learn many skills that are valuable in other departments apart from sales and this means that you may get trapped in the sales industry forever.
Top 10 Working in Sales Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Salesperson Pros||Being a Salesperson Cons|
|Salespeople can make decent money||Bad salespeople will make poor money|
|You can earn more the more you work||You will have serious income swings|
|You learn how to convince people||Sales is not a good career for introverts|
|Salesmen can work indoors||You have to sell things you don’t believe in|
|Decent work-life balance for sales agents||Salespeople have to meet strict goals|
|Good job if you are an extrovert||Pressure can be significant|
|You can avoid heavy physical work||Sales is a pretty competitive field|
|You don’t have to work at nighttime||You always have to learn about new things|
|Internet helps you to promote stuff||Questionable job security|
|You don’t need a degree||You may no longer be needed in the future|
Should You Become A Sales Representative?
As you can see from the previous discussion, there are many advantages and disadvantages of working in sales.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself if becoming a salesperson is really what you want or if you want to go for alternative career options instead.
If you are still interested in becoming a sales representative, you should also get detailed information on salaries, job prospects, future outlook, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties and job satisfaction of salespersons.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a professor
Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a car salesman
Advantages and disadvantages of a career as a call center agent
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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