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Starting a sales career later in life

Think sales is a young person’s game? Think again. There’s no age limit on sales success.

We all know that sales is a great profession to be in. There are always jobs available to people with the right skills, the money is good and it’s exciting work. What more could you ask for?

But, sales does have a reputation as a young person’s game. Certainly, most people start in sales straight after school or university. By the time they hit their 30s or 40s, they are more likely to be in management than pounding the streets.

However, if you’re a bit older than the average university graduate, you can still find success in the world of sales. Here are some tips to help you start your sales career, whatever your age may be.

1 — Play to your strengths

If you’re a bit older than the average new starter, in your 30s or 40s perhaps, you have one thing the others don’t — experience. Whatever you were doing before you started in sales gave you skills that you can take with you. So, play to those strengths.

It’s easier for someone a bit older to position themselves as an expert. It’s easier for them to build trust. They may also be better at keeping calm under pressure.

In a tricky sales situation, such as pitching to the CEO of a business (who would probably be a bit older themselves), those skills are like gold dust.

2 — Be coachable

While you need to be yourself, new salespeople who are a little older may have to work harder to fit in.

In sales, it’s essential that you follow the process, as laid out in the playbook. The playbook was designed to set out the most effective way to sell. Even if you were a big success in another profession, you can’t go into sales thinking you know it all. There’s no room for mavericks.

Instead, be eager to learn. Accept guidance and feedback, and act on them. Most importantly, be coachable. Show the passion for improvement, and results will come your way.

3 — Be prepared

Younger people new to sales don’t moan that much about the high pressure, the constant rejection and the long hours, because they don’t know any different. Depending on what you were doing before, this might come as a shock.

However, sales is all about grinding out results; putting in the high activity to reap the rewards. You need to show passion. You need to put in the activity. Do the work.

4 — Help others

As someone with experience of another profession and in possession of different skills, you have a lot to offer a sales team of younger people. You have life experience — that’s a valuable commodity.

Offer yourself as a mentor, formally or informally, to younger people on your team. Be there when they need help, offer feedback, be interested.

Not only will this be great fun, but it will also give you empathy — another valuable sales skill.

Over to you

At Sales Confidence, we believe that sales should be limitless. If you’re open to learning, it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’re good; you’re good.

Now, we want to know what you think.

Did any of the Sales Confidence community join sales slightly later than average?

If so, let us know what happened. What did you do before? What made you pick sales?

What did you do to stand out from the crowd?

Let us know with a comment below.

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