By Rebecca David
I used to cringe at the word “sales” and the very thought of sales as a career choice terrified me. In fact, the first time I stepped onto the sales floor, even for just a trial sale during training, I felt sick to my stomach; I stuttered, laughed nervously, and couldn’t think straight. I’m naturally shy and reserved; although I’m not afraid of people, the idea of meeting new people every day and trying to encourage them to buy a product was far beyond my comfort level. I also wondered how or why any customer would ever trust me, a 20-year-old college intern. Despite my reservations, I decided to give sales a shot and toss my misconceptions out the window.
To my surprise, I found that working in sales was exciting. Once I gained a better understanding of the product knowledge and began to gain confidence, I was able to loosen up and be myself. Meeting new people every day was not nearly as bad as I had expected. Every customer was different and intriguing. Figuring out how to create conversation thrilled me and I became genuinely interested in customers’ lives and personalities. Building relationships with customers was empowering as I was able to laugh and bond with them, and gaining their trust in a sale gave me a deep sense of satisfaction.
Each day in sales was a challenge I looked forward to. Trying to determine the product that best fit the customer and his or her needs was like working on a puzzle; I had to place together different pieces until the product and the customer’s needs fit just right. Sometimes I could not fit the pieces together correctly, but I got better as I went along, and with each sale the puzzles became easier and less daunting. I also worked alongside a team that had my back, and when something did not go as planned, I was not left on my own. Each day I set personal and sales goals to strive for. Those goals as well as friendly competition among my team and other stores kept me motivated to do my best to help customers to the best of my ability. I surprised my team and myself as I met and exceeded my goals and grew as salesperson and as an individual. I learned to sell and I learned to love it.