Despite the sagging U.S. and world economies that have left many sales professionals out of work or underemployed, there is good news. Recent studies from a variety of experts show that sales professionals and sales managers are among the most recession-proof careers across the country. Many companies struggling for sales need great leaders to drum up new customers and bring in more revenue.
More good news: If you have strong sales skills, they can transfer across industries. You can switch from selling widgets to computers with very little training, other than learning about your new products and customers. That means that more jobs will be open for you during your job hunt.
Today sales managers are more than leaders who motivate their staff to sell, sell, sell. Increasingly they go out in the field themselves and find new clients, support their sales staff, and build business. In many areas the sales managers may be the only sales staff left after cutbacks, so they’ll need to wear several different hats at once. This builds strength and skills, and makes them even more marketable in a tough economy.
Another tip for managers: Learn how to recruit and train a top sales team. Many businesses are actually adding salespeople to help bolster sales, and if you know how to train a team and target markets effectively, you’ll be in demand. If you have those skills, play them up on your resume and in your job interviews, and make sure you have numbers and percentages to back them up.
When tough times hit, it’s important for salespeople and managers to reinvent themselves. One way to garner more sales and bring in new customers is through social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a presence on these sites, develop one. Blog about your products and services, make friends with other members, and keep your content current and fresh. Offer information to others, earn their trust, and make more sales while you’re doing it. Social networking is a way to reach out to others with information. It’s not a hard sell, but it can bring you loads of potential long-term customers, which will help build your sales reputation even more.