For people who are looking to enter sales as a profession and DO NOT have sales experience these are some tips for entry into sales as a profession for a junior with no experience.
Number one but not necessarily in this order, as basic as it may seem, having a full clean driving licence. Third level institutions put no priority on this requirement and it is the minimum prerequisite for entry into sales. Without it you cannot start.
Number Two. To become a member of The Sales Institute of Ireland. The institute offers a degree programme for students, excellent training modules covering the entire spectrum of sales attributes i.e. Account Management, Negotiating, Presentation Skills, Territory Planning, Telephone Selling Skills, Time Management etc and is currently putting in place a distance learning module. Also you have the facility ton attend numerous seminars by top speakers and gain an insight into many topical issues that are relevant for a sales professional in to-days market. Also to avail of networking. Every sales professional should be a member of The Sales Institute of Ireland.
Number Three. Fas run an excellent sales and marketing course, which is conferred, by City and Guilds. The real benefit about the City and Guilds qualification is that apart from covering every aspect of sales it gives a very good insight in the different types of industry's, how they work, the characteristics that are required in order to be successful within these industries i.e. it will compare and contrast between a junior sales representative or merchandiser in FMCG sales compared to a Junior Sales Representative in capital equipment sales.
Number Four. Your ideal job will probably be your second job. With no experience you will have very little to offer a new employer. They will probably have to invest significant time and energy into you by way of training. Your priority will be on what experience you can gain and also to take every opportunity to avail of as much training as you can obtain.
Number Five. Salary should be the least of your priorities. It is important to have a realistic view of your worth as a junior. Your focus should be on gaining valuable experience and developing career skills that will stand to you.
Number Six. Is to have realistic expectations on your application to employers. To bear in mind the status of the market. Currently we are coming out of a recession and choices are not anything like what they were three years ago. Therefore it is important not to set your sites too high and have realistic expectations.
Regarding books to read about selling, the first book to read is about interview skills. There is a skill set here that if you perfect will stand to you during your career.
The Sales Institute issues a quarterly Newsletter which all of its members receive, review a top three booklist about the current thinking in sales and also offer discounts to its members for these publications.