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Did you go to College planning to be in sales or what got you into sales?

After 30 years in Sales I continue to find it interesting that one of the most lucrative jobs never makes the top jobs lists and there is next to no focus on the skills and training needed in college. So, it's always interesting to hear what moved you into sales and what you thought you would be doing after college vs Sales?

If you could go back to your college days, would you still have chosen sales?
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๐Ÿš€ Career Goals
๐Ÿ’†โ€โ™‚ Mindset
16
Robot
Politicker
+6
Regional Sales Manager
I can't answer your poll because I never finished college. I dropped out after 2 years because I had no idea what I wanted to do and tbh most 19-20-year-olds don't either. I ended up pursuing a career in culinary and eventually moved into management for several different companies and then got into leasing for a large apartment group. Then I eventually got into large sales and closed 3.6M in my first year in the communication tower industry.ย 

The net of my story is college is dumb and holds no merit for sales. Shit, look at some of the big hitter sales guys. Most worked their way up and got their hands dirty. MBAs are good for corps that don't want to train.. oh wait they still have to train MBA people too.ย 
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
That's a great call out and I agree, actually that was my next topic, should they teach professional sales in Business programs and add some value to the career. I have 4 Kids, all in software sales, and my suggestion was to get any degree and don't overpay for it since it didn't matter.
Re
RedLightning
Politicker
+7
Mid-Market AE
Yeah, in business programs they should. Nothing crazy, but a certification type course would be good.ย 
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
Dude, well done on your path.

I don't agree that college is dumb and holds no merit for sales. There are a number of colleges (Baylor, UT Dallas, North Illinois, William Patterson) that have well established sales education programs. There are undergraduate competitions, teams, training, access to companies and leaders that provide coaching sessions, the ability to land internships, etc.

And in general, becoming a better writer, better networked, more worldly person isn't a bad thing. But yes, if somebody goes to college exclusively to do drugs and black out for 4 years and skate by then it's absolutely a waste of time.
Robot
Politicker
+6
Regional Sales Manager
@CaneWolfย appreciate it! No matter the direction a person goes, as long as they are hungry for knowledge and experience, they will get there. I am a sole believer that coming from nothing gives you a better worldly understanding. That being said the other path, that through the educational system, has produced great people as well. It doesn't matter which direction.

How does that saying go; If you take the time to study how nature works, then you will understand the world. Something like that.
Show 1 more replies
JDialz
Politicker
+5
COO
Voter integrity. I like that.
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
nothing but the facts here
DataIsTheNewOil
Good Citizen
Sr Mgr, Mid-Market Sales
Also didn't finish college (love hearing about others out there). IMO relevant experience is way more important for sales and I've been encouraged to see companies slowly starting to remove the degree requirement from job postings.ย 
AlexT
Opinionated
+2
Account Executive
@Robotย We have a similar story. Maybe the world needs a sales studies path with hands-on experience leading to a career? The stuff they make you pay for today really holds no value in today's world of sales.ย 
heronious
Good Citizen
+1
Senior Account Executive
one of my buddies and best Salespeople I know is a Red-seal chef by trade
FullyDiluted
Opinionated
+6
Account Director
I graduated in 2009 with a bullshit degree from a party school.

Sales was the only option.ย ย 
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
LOL, yes our ranks are full of epic drinkers and colorful college years albeit a bit hazy looking back!
JDialz
Politicker
+5
COO
I have a degree in political science and never thought I would be in sales.

Politics IS sales, though. When I actually got into sales and financial services I realized this is where the action (and money) is.
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
It's a fascinating time for that degree.. and yes everything is sales in life, we might as well get paid for it right?
JDialz
Politicker
+5
COO
Hell yeah. Huge win bonuses are great of course - in retrospect I question if the 84-95hr work weeks and relatively low salary were worth it when viewing through the lease of what I'm doing now and how I am able to live my life currently. However, I may not be as good today without those experiences!
MagicFan1998
Politicker
+4
Account Executive
I have a degree in Political Science as well. I also have a degree in Business Admin which focused more on sales.
JDialz
Politicker
+5
COO
Hopefully you were able to take a straighter line to your current career than I was!
st
steakalldayerryday
Opinionated
+4
AE
Poli Sci represent! Useless degree for me. Also in sales now.
Soiboi
Politicker
+5
Account Executive, EIAS/Compliance
In it for the bread $$$ย 
JDialz
Politicker
+5
COO
NO DOUBT!
IzzyWinning
Arsonist
+6
Enterprise Account Executive
I started off as an actor and after many years of doing that transitioned into a sales career. I would, without a doubt, not be anywhere close to as successful in my sales career if I didn't have a performer's background. Specifically, my experience with improvisation has been invaluable.ย 
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
Yes indeed, we are all chameleons aren't we. Actors would have an advantage there. But genuine mirroring vs acting right, better at empathy and creating a comfortable persona that matches the buyers honestly.ย 
yuh
Opinionated
+3
Sales Development Representative
When on my 3rd interview with my current manager, he blatantly told me that he asks all of his applicants if they have a background in acting/improvisation and that if the answer is no it tends to be a dealbreaker for him when it comes to hiring. I can see now what he means by successful actors being successful salespeople.
bigredseller
Enterprise SDR
Wasn't planning on sales until Sahil came and spoke at my college. Applied for Bravado Mentorship program and got hooked up with my first tech sales role.
Accidental_Sales_Guy
Politicker
+3
Account Executive
In general, college and real-world sales are opposite processes.


College: LEARN a lot so you don't FAIL

Sales: FAIL a lot so you LEARN


The best way I've seen colleges prepare students for sales is connecting them with internships/job opportunities so they can start getting fails under their belt. Curriculum works best when you have experience to apply towards tomorrow.
beerisforclosers
Politicker
+8
Account Manager
I was pre-med biology and psychology :) This was less school (and less debt) with sick compensation. I don't use the anatomy and physics on the daily, but the psychology part of my degree has proven itself useful in sales!
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
I was also pre med, not sure what field you went into but IT/Software was similar to me as we have to keep learning and studying the competition and new solutions. Never looked back either :)ย 
beerisforclosers
Politicker
+8
Account Manager
@ouroborusย  Also in IT/software :) Great point!
ElCapitanoMan
Acclaimed Answer
+2
Solutions Consultant
I got my degree in business concentrating in marketing, but took a sales senior project. My dad is in sales though so I kind of knew I wanted to as well.

My alma mater also launched a tech sales minor two years after I graduated so I'm a bit jealous haha
Tres_Comas
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
Accidentally got into it (originally wanted to be in HR) then stuck around for the money
AutoSmiler
Arsonist
+7
SDR
Was originally going to try my hand in law school, but I was being lazy about a few more years in school. Was looking to get an entry level job in PR after school, when my cousin directed me to a SaaS role. Haven't looked back since.ย 
SalesAssassin
Praised Answer
Senior District Manager
I dont think ive met many people who went to college thinking they wanted to dial all day long LOL. That said i was a business major, but i wouldnt change a thing!
RealAF
Good Citizen
+2
National Director of Business Development
I never wanted to be in sales until I wasn't. I started out climbing the corporate ladder at a Fortune 500 but hated the red-tape, lack of autonomy, and earnings cap. Sales saved me for sure.
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
love that, yes it seems so stuffy and constrained on the other side, here we make our own rules and schedules!
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
I went to school thinking I wanted to be in PR or a news anchor. Then the pharma reps with their cute fitted suits and shiny new cars caught my eye.ย 
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
Ah yes the Viagra sellers and their toys :) its actually a super cool field, great for pre-med and science majors, considered it myself and did a couple of week intern with one right out of college ions ago...
yuh
Opinionated
+3
Sales Development Representative
I got into sales hoping to move into pharma one day - my dad was in pharma for over 20 years and very successful. Although, I have a hard time with ethics in selling meds sometimes, so I am not sure if I will still want to switch over to that field in the future...
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
It was a really good gig. I wanted to try something new, so I did.
TheLoneGun
Good Citizen
Extremely Rad Product Offloading Specialist
Couldn't afford college, so I made money where I thought I could. Degreed now(In biz, and starting MBA soon for the hell of it)

I would have always chosen either sales, or engineering. Only real interests.
Marketingpet
Opinionated
+1
Partner Manager
I got out of college right as the Great Recession hit. Wanted a job in TV/Radio but all I could find were sales jobs. Now I do radio play by play as a side gig and make much better money selling full time. Hard to argue for changing that, even if the road here was hard.ย 
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
Yeah that was a super hard time, I had one Son go through that as well at that time and he really didn't want to be in sales but that's all there was, now he loves it (Sold his soul..) :)ย 
Marketingpet
Opinionated
+1
Partner Manager
Hahahaha, love itย 
GigabitChaser
Contributor
Sr Account Executive
I chase sales because it's how I'm able to provide for my family with the cards I was dealt.ย  I'm a 2x college drop out but 100% wish I dove into IT networking even at an associate level. It would of helped me more and given me more choices later in life.ย 

I'm tired of quotas and wondering how I'm going to hit quota this quarter but also need the paychecks since my wife takes care of our 3 children and is a stay at home mom. Life is expensive especially with special needs children so I go make the money we need.ย 
AlexT
Opinionated
+2
Account Executive
At 24 years old I looked my 58 years old dad in the eyes and told him flatly I make as much as him. My dad worked his whole life to be an exec, has all the degrees and the fancy title in a prestigious institution.ย I dropped out after 2 years of college. I was working door-to-door commission-only sales next to my studies and I quickly worked out the math on the potential income of a career in sales or entrepreneurship. The school doesn't teach you that, it won't get you to the kind of income you can reach unless you spend 30 years climbing the ladder. It's the greatest career on earth for me regardless of who you are and what degree you have.ย 
thesalesdocrx
Valued Contributor
+5
SDR Manager
I went to college to be a pastor - same thing?


AIDA...



D - HAVE YOU MADE YOUR DECISION FOR CHRIST
abc_myfriend
VP of Sales
Dropped out of college for "Unlimited Comission" at the local car lot in my Sr year.ย  ย  I knew I wasnt going to use my degree in News Media, so i cut my losses and jumped in with both feet.

Looking back, I should have prob finished my last semester.ย  In my 40's, a degree would be something I would like to have, but it wouldnt have changed my career at all.ย ย 

Sales is a mindset, and a "learn every day" kind of job.ย  College can barely if ever prepare you for sales properly.
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
Used cars to kick off the career, love that! love to hear what industry you are in now and how that transition went. You are one of the tenacious ones that survived or thrived in the less glamorous sales origins!
ouroborus
Catalyst
+2
VP sales
Wow, so far 1 in 4 would have chosen a different path if they could go back...was it the company or the thing you sold? So often the wrong first sales role can define you and your experience - there are some crappy sales gigs that would make anyone run the other way for sure. Seems so many of us "fell" into sales vs chose it and chose what to sell meaningfully.. Mentors are so key early!
wHaTyAgOtCoOkInG
Catalyst
+4
Account Executive
the dream gig is quants trading, retire at 40 if you're average and 35 if you're legit
SgtSDR
WR Officer
+7
Business Development Representative
My first job out of college was insurance sales, the transition from hospitality to a full time income was absolutely amazing. Sales is an amazing career that always keeps you on your toes!ย 
Captain_Q
Arsonist
+8
Sr. Account Executive
How else am I supposed to pay off these student loans?!
Enrossie
Good Citizen
Sales Development Rep
Went to college for biology then spent the next 21 years in the Navy on submarines and aircraft carriers. Coming out of the Navy last year I was planning to be a program manager, whatever that actually means. Was lucky enough to get offered a sales internship. Have really liked it a lot and happy to have "fallen" into this career.
cw95
Politicker
+6
Pricing Executive
Did an undergrad in Geography and then a masters in Environmental science and then spent 8 months trying to prove to energy/environmental companies that i can provide without experience. I ended up going through a recruitment agency on the referral of many of my friends.ย 
thegrinch
Politicker
+5
SDR
I have an engineering degree and hope to get into more technical sales bc the more technical the sale the more dough
BusinessBandit
Enterprise Account Manager
Money hungry ๐ŸคŒ๐Ÿป
Nikosuave
Opinionated
+1
Outside Sales Manager
I went to school for Finance and wanted to be a financial advisor then realized I had to pay my student loans and needed a base salary. After a few years in an operational role in parking somehow I was tired of being the hardest working guy in the room and making the least amount of money just due to my tenure. I asked for a raise and was told go open some new accounts to manage and got a verbal commission deal. I opened 4 new locations in 3 months and that brought in the company an additional 600K in revenue, then the CEO stiffed me on the commission (it was a small business)


I quit 3 days later and went into B2B for a large HCM company and have been slightly dead inside ever since.
salesandstrategy
Opinionated
+1
Senior Account Executive
I initially chose sales post college because I didn't want to be told how much I could make, I wanted more direct control over that. Obviously learned quickly there is some restriction based upon company selection.ย 
1
Did you go to college before you got into Sales or did you dive right into it after high school?
Question
8
College Educated or Straight out of High School?
Mu
+33
MurphysLaw , ย  verbalzzzzzz , ย  BCD ย  and 33 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
6
Who went to college knowing they would get into sales?
Discussion
11
166
What college did you go to?
Discussion
335