Hey Introverts, A Career In Sales Is Surprisingly Perfect For You

Introverts, A Career In Sales Is Surprisingly Perfect For You

The most notoriously extroverted profession is a nerd's game now.

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Last February, when I accepted a Sales Summer Intern position with Reynolds & Reynolds for the summer, I was honestly not expecting much out of it. I started my college career majoring in General Engineering and then ended up in Industrial Distribution, of which 70% of graduates work in industrial sales and 30% in supply chain jobs. I'd always figured that I was going to be part of the 30% since I am an introvert and will never fit the "sales" profile.

All I've wanted since I was 14 is to live in the same town I grew up in and work in a cubicle. I only accepted this internship, which was across the country and in a field that terrified me, since I didn't think any other company would want me (I don't want to sound stuck up, but I no longer think that was the case) and I definitely did not want another summer like last summer when I was a nanny for 44 hours a week.

Guess what?

I had the actual best internship ever and now I want to do sales for a career. It's not because I've suddenly decided I want to be smooth-talking and sleazy. That's only in the movies; that's nothing like what modern sales actually is. Modern sales is ideally suited, perhaps exclusively suited, toward people with engineering, problem-solver mentalities.

Surprised? Let me share a bit of history. Selling has existed for as long as humans have been using currency, but the modern sales rep career started during the Industrial Revolution. From then, for the next 100 or so years, sales professionals developed and perfected the pushy, always-be-closing behavior that we still associate with the profession. Studies show that that behavior works for low-value sales when the product being sold is relatively cheap and nothing too serious will happen if it doesn't meet buyer expectations.

During the 1960s and 1970s though, in attempts to ease the enormous pressure that competition had come to apply, companies began bundling their products together and selling them as "solutions" for customer problems. This did help them differentiate their products from those of the competition, but it only shifted that pressure onto the products.

Previously, in order to satisfy their customers, the manufacturers only had to provide a product that worked; now, they had to actually solve problems. As the faces of the company, sales professionals have always been the ones to shoulder much of that pressure in order to meet quotas. The smart sales professionals quickly abandoned their previous smooth-talking ways and slipped into more of a business-partner role with their customers, since you might be able to pressure someone into spending $200, but definitely not $20,000.

And now in 2018, we have both the pressure to solve problems, and; as a result of every company bundling their products into solutions, we've seen a return of that cut-throat competition that originally led companies to bundle in the first place—across just about every industry.

The breakthrough that has been formulated in response to today's complicated B2B sales environment is the Challenger Model, pioneered by Matthew Dixon and Brett Adamson in their book, "The Challenger Sale." It involves the company, and specifically the salesperson, knowing more about the customer's industry than the customer does, and making sales by teaching the customer.

The complexity involved in modern sales is almost absurd, and it is definitely a far cry from the profession of the fast-talking, greasy, used-car salesmen in the movies. Simply put, the meticulous research, preparation, industry knowledge, product familiarity, and planning that goes into sales now make it a job only a nerd can do, and that appeals to me.

In my opinion, sales is more difficult than engineering in some ways because it has a strong people element, and people are unpredictable, frankly annoying, and a lot harder to deal with than numbers are. Sales professionals must, in addition to all their knowledge and preparation, master the art of controlling and directing conversations, staying one step ahead of the customer at all times, and leveraging other relationships within the customer organization in order to influence decision makers.

For me, this people element has definitely been the hardest part of learning to sell, but Reynolds has embraced Challenger from the top down, which provides a lot of support, coaching, resources, and industry intelligence to the sales professionals, and that definitely makes it doable.

Sales is absolutely not for everyone, and I will be the first person to tell you that. It appeals to me though, because I do not want to work in a cubicle anymore. I want to travel all over. I want the freedom to make my own schedule and give myself a raise anytime I want just by working harder. I want a high-stress and high rewards job that pushes me and stretches me and requires me to do something different every day. I have never had the door-to-door snake-oil salesman personality, nor do I plan to develop it; furthermore, no successful sales professional I know behaves that way either. What they do have is an insatiable desire to learn, solve problems, and teach people about their product—in other words, they're nerds, and I'm 100% here for it.

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?
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For generations, children have aspired to become professional athletes. In the 1920's children wanted to be Babe Ruth; in 2012 children wanted to be Derek Jeter. The list of pro-athletes that influence the younger generation can go on and on. Looking back on elementary school yearbooks, the most common profession for youths has (and will continue to be) a professional athlete. Whether it involves the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or any other professional league, children tend to pick this profession out of love for the specific sport. Yet, these innocent and uninformed children seem to strike gold by choosing one of the most economically successful jobs in the world.

While professional athletes dedicate most of their life to their respected sport, the amount they are paid to simply play games is absurd. For example, the average salary for a professional football player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year. Keep in mind that that is average, without external endorsements. Therefore, some athletes make much more than that. The crowd favorite Peyton Manning averages $19 million a year. Sports other than football also have averages that are incredibly generous. In the world of golf, the popular Tiger Woods makes more than $45 million a year. These pro-athletes make millions of dollars, most of whom have not received an outstanding education. In fact, some have not even received a college diploma.

Zooming out from the glamorous and indulgent world of professional athletics, taking a look at other professions seems to be much less appealing. How is it that jobs that are vital to the success of the public receive much less commission than jobs that revolve around running to catch a ball? The average pediatrician makes $173,000 a year. The average teacher salary is $50,000 a year. This does not mean that a professional athlete is any less of a hard-working, devoted, deserving professional. This also does not mean that the athletes have not pushed themselves and worked incredibly hard throughout the years to get where they are, but it does mean that there is a line where inequity takes over. Fame and fortune are showered upon athletes. Is it truly necessary to average out millions of dollars per year when people spend massive amounts of time researching and developing new policies, cures, or other ways to improve the condition of the world? The salary and status of professional athletes seems to be a major power imbalance in the world of careers.

Cover Image Credit: i.ytimg.com

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Why I Love Lebron James As A Person

There's more to Lebron James than basketball.

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While Lebron James is considered to be one of the best athletes ever based on his commitment to excellence, his conditioning, and the number of championships he has won, the impact he has made on his community that is being felt all over the world.

He may be a basketball player, but he is a businessman, father, philanthropist, and role model to people no just in his community but all over the world. This is why Lebron James is one of the greatest people I have ever seen in the world of the NBA.

Since the age of 15, Lebron James has been under the spotlight as "The Chosen One" and struggled through the trials and tribulations growing up in Akron, Ohio. However, he has defied the odds not because of what he does for the NBA in terms of marketing and championships, but what he does for his community and the world.

The Lebron James Foundation has given over 2000 children the opportunity to receive a full education, with the resources of over $41 million that Lebron James has contributed out of his pocket. He is giving children who don't have the resources that other children may have and to make sure they are the best version of themselves in their own way. This is what makes Lebron James "Strive for Greatness" motto mean more to people outside of the NBA. This is a motto that every child all over the world should live by, to be the best version of yourself, and Lebron James is providing the resources to those who may not have them.

Lebron James has provided a lot of happiness and a boost in the economy in the city of Cleveland, playing there for over 10 years. But he did go on national television, had his own special called "The Decision" and said he was going to Miami. This is the only stain that Lebron James has on his career, other than that he has been exceptional. He mostly redeemed himself when he came back to Cleveland and promised them a championship. He delivered on his promise by giving the Cleveland Cavaliers their first-ever championship in 2016.

All of us know that Lebron James left Cleveland last offseason to join the Los Angeles Lakers, but he came back to Akron, Ohio and opened the I Promise School for 240 at-risk children. This school helps give students an escape from their issues that Akron, Ohio is currently facing, and they offer activities to make sure that they don't go down the wrong path. This school also provides services to the families of the children who attend this school such as finding a job and an on-site food bank.

This is why Lebron James is one of the best people in the world because he exudes perfection and he knows where he came from.

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