Career path – tapping into old skills

Q: I’m traveling down an old road, back to direct sales, where my career path started 20 years ago. In the interim, I have taken up some management roles, but I miss the independence of being a salesperson. However, I fear the interviewers will believe I no longer have the hunger for sales? How do I convince them otherwise? (LK, email).

A: Sometimes we must reconnect with what first brought us into a particular sector. It is not unusual for people to take on management roles only to realise they should have stayed where they were.

A few points to ponder:

  1. The fact that you did it once suggests that you can do it again. Perhaps, you need to convince yourself first? If you’re not fully ready for being ‘back on the road’, they’re almost certain to pick up on that. That is likely to be one of their key considerations.
  2. Compile a list of all the things that made you a good salesperson in the first place. These might include a capacity to build good relationships, a willingness to network outside the normal 9-5 hours to promote yourself and the company’s products/services and a genuine interest in customers. Remind yourself of how these stood to you in the past.
  3. Write down your previous achievements as a salesperson. These may include developing new territories, landing big customers, devising and launching new products and generating referrals from existing customers. Be specific here. Where appropriate, include actual figures such as your annual sales or sales growth.
  4. Familiarize yourself with modern sales approaches. Technology has almost certainly changed the game, for example.
  5. Tell them you have the hunger. Be enthusiastic about the prospect of reverting your career path back to a sales role. Let them know you want it and why. Remember, they are almost certain to appreciate the fact that good salespeople are hard to find.


Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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