Sales Persuading the Next Generation of Workers Thesis

Pages: 5 (1740 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising

Sales

Persuading the next generation of workers to persuade: Why a sales job is an ideal first job for a recent graduate

"Sell, sell, sell." From the moment a student leaves his or her university, a young graduate is faced with the need to constantly sell him or herself -- like it or not! He or she is selling his or her credentials to prospective employers, trying to make the most persuasive case for the uniqueness of his or her talents, education, experience, and potential. For a job seeker in the corporate world, he or she should "start by gathering as much information" as possible about the company, "its management, and most importantly, its product line -- not just the products in the current marketplace, but what the company has coming through its R&D pipeline" (Rose 2009). The student must show knowledge about the industry, company and its products, and demonstrate to the interviewer he or she has gone that 'extra mile' to stand out from the competition (Rose 2009). Beyond job interviews, selling and persuasion is involved in almost every profession, from a lawyer selling his or her client's case to a jury, to an engineer convincing his or her employer to embark upon a particular project, to an IT professional selling his or her new system to a potential backer in layperson's terms. Honing one's persuasive ability requires logical reasoning skills, an understanding of human emotion, and self-confidence. That is why all prospective workers in search of their first job could benefit from working in sales. Regardless of what occupation the student ultimately chooses, the skills learned in sales jobs will help every young graduate in almost any vocation, throughout the duration of his or her career.

For a young person wishing to advance quickly in his or her career, sales positions often have high visibility. Salesmen and women are the face of the company, often going all over the world to persuade companies as well as individuals to buy the product they are advertising. Substantial travel is required because "attendance at meetings sponsored by associations or industries often is mandatory. Sales managers travel to national, regional, and local offices and to the offices of various dealers and distributors…Job transfers between headquarters and regional offices are common, particularly among sales managers" (Advertising, 2009, BLS). But this travel may be welcome, if it is to interesting and exciting places, and also because can generate much-needed personal connections that can be useful later on in a new employee's career. Even the experience of travel itself, and the exposure it brings to new languages and ways of life can prove useful to a recent graduate, regardless of what career path he or she ultimately chooses in the long-term.

Salespeople quickly learn (if they did not know already) how a first impression can make a difference and advance a career. Sales staff must be polished, personable, and knowledgeable. Being in sales does not mean being superficially competent. To sell many types of merchandise, such as pharmaceuticals and software, salespeople must have an in-depth knowledge of their product. This requires salespeople to use the knowledge they gained in college in a satisfying way -- a biology major can use his or her knowledge of the human body, a computer science major can use his or her knowledge of technology, and even a humanities major can help create an ad campaign for a new educational product. A psychology major, of course, can generate critical 'buzzwords' and concepts that will work upon the subconscious of the intended audience. Salespeople seldom have angst that they didn't learn anything useful in college, because just about every subject matter can be put to good use in some line of sales!

The demanding work of sales is also well-suited to young people who do not yet have extensive family commitments and responsibilities. If a worker wants to try working in sales, beginning when he or she is 'fresh' from college is clearly the right time. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, very long and eccentric hours, including evening and weekend work is common for sales professionals. In 2006, "about two-thirds of advertising, marketing, and public relations managers worked more than 40 hours a week" and sales jobs are characterized by "high earnings, substantial travel, and long hours, including evenings and weekends," but "because of the importance and high visibility of their jobs, these managers often are prime candidates for advancement to the highest ranks." (Advertising, 2009, BLS).

One oft-cited problem with sales jobs is that a substantial portion of the employee's income derives from commissions. For a young person, however, this instability is less of a concern than it might be for an older individual with a family to support and a mortgage to pay. The need to prove one's self over and over again in sales is also an education for a new professional and teaches useful discipline and character. Additionally, for a successful salesperson, the financial and personal rewards can be tremendous in sales. For example, for a top-tier pharmaceutical salesperson, "with a salary, commission and bonus, the successful rep may take home a substantial income. The exact figure depends on location, specialty and company, but an experienced pharma sales rep can expect to earn somewhere in the low six figures. Reps also enjoy the rich menu of benefits most pharmaceutical companies offer" (Neece 2009). A representative for a pharmaceutical company may get the use of a company car, free gas, full medical and dental benefits, stock options, and free meals as compensation for being on the road so much as he or she goes to doctor's offices and hospitals.

The on-the-job education about different products can also be valuable and useful for the candidate even later on in his or her working life. Pharmaceutical sales, and all sales jobs, provide intensive training about a variety of different spheres of commerce. This also reduces the anxiety about applying past knowledge or experience to the job that new hires may feel who are 'fresh out of college.' Sales jobs are ideal for a new employee seeking first, time real work experience. They provide structured, ground-level training yet still have a freewheeling atmosphere of flexibility that recalls college life and comradeship. When they are dependent on sales revenue, industries invest "heavily in sales teams. Companies provide support to give sales representatives…clear guidelines on how to get the job done. Notwithstanding this support, sales reps enjoy the freedom of choosing their own work hours" (Neece 2009). There is an emphasis on teamwork, as different sales branches strive to meet benchmarks together -- although all salespeople must also set and meet high, individualized goals. The job thus provides personal fulfillment and excitement, in combination with strong collaborative and communications training.

The high caliber of work demanded by sales-driven companies provides the new employee a vocational education from the moment the young graduate tries to get a job. For a sales job, the prospective salesperson must dress to impress, have a stellar resume, and show evidence of interest in the company, knowledge about the position, and a determination to get the job. Persistence is the key element of a good salesperson's personality, and the company is aware of this fact. Often in the job search, because there are so many qualified applicants and so few jobs, things can seem overwhelming. But with the right academic and experiential credentials, it is possible to enter the profession. "Hook up with someone in the industry and find a mentor, either through contacts at your present position, online, or through a personal referral" (Rose 2009). Networking and resilience are also skills that will behoove the new job-seeker in any endeavor he embarks upon later on in life. So will digging for information, for that 'hook' that will draw the customer in and cause him or her to buy the product requires practical and psychological research skills. A pharmaceutical sales representative will research his or her doctor's career, as well as the medical research in the field, to determine if informal or scientific strategies are most persuasive. A sales rep selling a new item of clothing or pair of shoes will tailor his or her advice to the emotional needs of a client who is crafting a particular image. A sports salesperson selling biking equipment will not persuade a seasoned mountain biker to select a new, expensive model unless the salesperson can give concrete, persuasive advice about the advantages of that particular model.

After a career in sales, a new graduate can always return, hopefully with an larger savings account, to graduate or professional school for further study in business, the law, or medicine -- or he or she can deploy his or her sales personality and experience in another field. For an individual who likes the company he or she is working for, there are often promotion possibilities for someone wishing to move out of sales. And someone people are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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