Sales is the Highest Paid Hard Job, and…

….the lowest paid easy job.

Get it? If you don’t, let me repeat:

Sales is the highest paid hard job and the lowest paid easy job.

This is quite an old saying which is quite popular and comes with a lot of truth. What this means is that if you want to get a job and you want to work really hard and bulldoze through all the challenges ahead of you, then sales will be the most lucrative job for you. On the other hand, if you want to get a job and you don’t want to work hard, sales will be a job that pays you the lowest.

I, personally, have never met any successful sales person who told me that his or her job is easy. At the very least, it was not easy when they started. Here, I am talking about those who are making five digits income and are driving that shiny new BMW 3-Series.

What we see in a successful salesman today is perhaps only 10% of what he had gone through in the last 5 years, or perhaps, 15 years. Sometimes, we look at this someone with envy and said that someone is good because he was born to be good at what he or she is doing.

“He’s lucky. I wish I was born with his ability”

“Boy, I could never do that.”

Society has taught us many pre-conceived notions about life. The problem is, some of them are true, and some of them are not. Often times, many of them are not true. Many people refer successful business people as lucky. Similarly, many people believe certain people are good at sales because they were born with a natural selling skills.

That’s not true. Sales is a skill that everyone can learn. If you like the job, and consequently perform well, then you will be on top of the world. Normally, sales job will come in the form of basic salary and commission scheme. The basic may be some small fraction, but the commission is proportional with the products you sell. The more products you sell, the more commission you earn. The more customers you get, the more sales you bring in. Hence you get more income. In other words, as long as you can sell, the sky is the limit.

One of the things I realized about this profession is that the longer you stay in the business, the more rewards you get and the more easily your job becomes. The most difficult part is always at the beginning.

I have a close friend who is a Sales Account Manager for an IT company handling a portfolio of major corporations including IBM, Maxis, Hewlett Packard, DiGi and others. He is now in his early 30s and is having a prosperous career with his monthly commissions (excluding of his basic salary) exceeding RM10,000. One day, I asked him, “What is your secret?”

He answered, “There really is no secret. I started this job with this company 8 years ago as a struggling salesperson. My company was selling all sorts of products and solutions by then but our products were failures one after another. Nevertheless I kept on trying and continued working and pouring sweat and we corrected our mistakes we made here and there. I did not make any single commission until my fourth year in the job.

Today, I spend little time to look for clients, as they will come looking for me. The commission I am receiving today is enough to enable me to reach my goal to retire in 5 years time and open up my own business with the fund I have.”

Does this mean we all have to become sales person?

Off course, I am not saying this to say that you should seriously contemplate to switch your career from being an accountant, astronaut or journalist to a salesperson. By all means, if you are good in what you are doing, and you enjoy doing it, please pursue with the job and contribute to the organization and society.

What I am saying is that everyone should start learning it. That includes you and me. We should start learning and improving our sales skills. After all, sales is not all about selling stuff and things. Naturally, we use this selling skills without realizing it on every day basis.

We use sales skill to persuade our parents to buy that new laptop (negotiation). We use sales skill to talk with prospective employers during last week’s career fair (presentation). We use sales skill in courting our first prospective date (initial contact). We use sales skill to pick whom we want to dance with (prospecting).

That’s a good enough for a start. It is time to move it to the next level.

10 Replies to “Sales is the Highest Paid Hard Job, and…”

  1. Totally agree with you, Zul.

    Selling skills is not a natural gift, but everyone should acquire to enhance your readiness when opportunity knocks.

    Selling is something simple yet so complicated, and it is interesting enough when you start to get a hang of it.

  2. Next month I will going to join Public mutual, I think this is hardest sales job in my life. Unlike sales job with basic salary, but i totally pay no any cent for the starting.

    Zul, how do you think of this kind of job?

  3. In my opinion, before we can start selling, we need to ‘befriend’ the products or services we will be selling. We must like the product. Can we talk about the product all day long without stopping?

    I’ve tried before; since I myself cast a lot of doubts about insurance products, therefore I guess I better let those who are more qualified to do this job.

    Selling without basic salary is tough. But that does not mean there aren’t anyone who make it big.

  4. Hi Zul,

    Agreed with you. Some point with our work, along the way, we might have to perform some sales. Whether or not we recieve commision from it. In our daily lives it is also important that we have a little bit of a salesman in us. It helps us potray our confidence level and also good for ‘pasarmalam’ and petaling street bargains.

    Well, sales is pretty much scientific. Theres alot of aspects when one needs to contemplate when he or she would like a deal to go through. Its all about your research, you need to know your facts right, it is very important that you know what factors maywin you the deal or be detrimental if its discussed when in a meeting. You also have to look at your findings and to draw and make your own conclusions to your research findings, use it as your strengh in determining your deal succession. The psychology game is also a winning factor ie; knowing how to read body language, playing with your words and body language, thinking how your client thinks and putting yourself in their shoes. Sometimes, when you are in sales, you need to know, who you need to meet in order to get you to the top management of a company.

    Well, sales is never an easy job. We definitely struggle at first, once u have passed the one year mark, one can usually make it!. It is the infant years in building your contacts, strategies, failing and gaining, pinking yourself up and also networking.

    That is just my two cents :).

  5. Great post man!…..We have been selling before we knew we were….everyone………..I have been considering branching into selling to add to my architectural design skills.I have realized that I really love to meet people and i talk a lot ,convincingly, to the the point of belief even when I’m lying.Selling is one potential I would love to develop.(That’s not o say I won’t respect the ethics of selling.)

    I want to know….How do I get started in selling ?Any body knows any great practical learning resource for action-oriented beginners like me?Thanks

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