Reports show sales jobs are hard to fill in the wake of the pandemic

Think for a moment about the stereotype or image often associated with sales. What comes to mind? Do you think of haggling over price in a car lot? Cloak and dagger negotiations in a back room? Do you have visions of the manipulative sales approaches used in The Wolf of Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross, or other movies?

Sales Jobs Are a Hard Sell

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that sales jobs are plentiful in the wake of the pandemic; however, recruiters are struggling to convince people to make sales a career, noting "Young workers may associate it with high-pressure tactics." The article states, “Images of glad-handing car salesmen or “Mad Men”-style account representatives are hard to shake, recruiters say, adding that early-career hires aren’t always attracted to positions where success is measured in new business brought in.”

Additionally, there’s a struggle to find sales hires because few colleges offer sales-specific programs. “People don’t go to school and think, ‘I’m going to be in sales,’” said CEO and founder of ringDNA, Howard Brown.

“It’s the lifeblood of every organization, but talent is limited.”

Filling sales roles has always proved somewhat difficult, even pre-pandemic. According to Manpower Group’s 10th Annual Talent Shortage Survey (2015), sales jobs were ranked #4 as the hardest jobs to fill and had been so since the early 2000s. Sales remains, however, at the top of the list for in-demand roles at companies both in the USA and globally.

The Job Has Changed

Sales has changed dramatically in recent years, moving from cold calls and pressure-cooker environments to consultative roles and solution selling. It’s time the perception of professional selling changes as well. At Carew, our passion is sharing our relationship-focused sales methodology. We strive to educate others on how to make money and make an impact on the businesses and lives of customers.

To this end, Carew has conducted a great deal of research which verifies that the “Odds Are” 2 to 1 that at any given point in time a salesperson’s perceptual orientation is inwardly focused. In other words, salespeople tend to experience a customer’s message in terms of how that message impacts themselves (salespeople), rather than in terms of how that message is perceived by the sender (customer/prospect). We sometimes refer to this phenomenon as the “Odds Are Dilemma,” because at the times when you most need to be focused on your customer’s business reality, there is a 67% chance you will be focused on yourself and thinking, “How does this impact me?”

Regrettably, too many sales professionals are self-focused, perpetuating the “bad sales rep” stereotype and thus deterring young workers from filling the rising number of sales positions available.

We must change the narrative around professional selling by being empathetic and deeply curious about our clients’ businesses, by demonstrating emotional intelligence, and by helping customers solve problems. Perhaps most importantly, we must establish trust and build lasting relationships with our customers.