‘Find a niche in marketplace’: In-demand salespeople can receive on-the-job training


Sales people are typically the key revenue drivers for a company.

“Sales people are crucial to a company’s ability to grow,” said Keith Wolf, managing director of Murray Resources, a Houston-based recruiting and staffing firm.

Therefore, sales people are usually in demand, especially in Houston, where there is a diversity of industries.

“Even when the oil industry slowed, we were receiving job orders for sales staff from other industries,” said Sue Burnett, owner, Burnett Specialists, a Houston-based recruiting and staffing firm.

There are two levels of sales staff in demand today: entry level, who are the ones knocking on doors, and experienced sales staff who call executives.

However, there are also different kinds of sales – reactive and proactive.

“Reactive selling is like retail, when people are walking in the door, which is easier. Proactive sales is when you go out and find the client,” Burnett said.

At Gallery Furniture, a retail furniture store owned by Houston icon Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, there is a continual stream of people walking in the door, and their sales people are prepared to help.

“Our new salespeople are on the floor immediately, but are not alone. They have a mentor to work with until they are ready to work alone,” said Dulce Gomez, director of human resources at Gallery Furniture.

Gomez looks for salespeople with good people skills, good listeners, have some sales experience, eager to delight customers, have a passion for selling, and are computer literate. Moreover, salespeople at Gallery Furniture usually work 50-60 hours a week and can make up to $200,000 a year.

Training programs

At most companies, entry-level sales staff usually receive on-the-job training. There are also classes on-line for those interested in honing their sales skills.

Successful salespeople have great people skills, and do not get discouraged when they hear the word “no” because they are determined to be successful, so they keep on trying.

Optimism is key

“We find that top salespeople are action and achievement oriented, have an optimistic outlook, and possess a high level of self-awareness. It is also important they have a healthy level of confidence and assertiveness. They are going to hear a lot of no’s, so they need to stick to their sales process without getting discouraged,” Wolf said.

One good thing about salespeople is they have control over how much they make.

“When we are placing sales candidates, we screen for their ability to work well independently. We also find that true hunters expect their performance to result in direct financial rewards,” Wolf said.

Burnett started in sales at an early age, because recruiting is sales. Every industry has sales, such as pharmaceuticals, oil field equipment, software, retail, and apartment and home sales, etc.

“What I tell people interested in sales is to find a niche, something they are interested in, and then learn all they can,” Burnett said.

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