Monday, April 30, 2012

Where Did All of The Sales Jobs Go?

There are more than 45 million people in the U.S. who have jobs in sales. These include not only sales professionals, but business owners, entrepreneurs and those in related occupations whose businesses live and die by getting money to flow toward the opportunities they represent. But where are all these sales jobs? According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the U.S. Department of Labor and private research foundations, here is the breakdown: 

 1. There are 22.6 million self-employed professionals, consultants and business owners who make deals to land clients and contracts. This is a growing segment as the economy has been morphing. If these people don't sell, they don't eat.
 2. Add another 15.4 million sales professionals and related occupations (advertising sales, business development, insurance agents, real estate brokers and agents, sales reps, securities and financial services).
 3. Remember the 5.8 million corporate CEOs -- the chief dealmakers of their organizations. The CEO is the chief sales officer of any organization. (Not that I recommend they be taken on sales calls.)
4. Surprisingly, many forget the 1 million business transaction attorneys who close deals on behalf of clients and for themselves. As the old cliche goes, these are the dealmaker, not the dealbreaker, types of attorneys.
 5. Another group to count are the 565,000 entrepreneurs who create new businesses every month in America, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. As management guru Peter Drucker said, the No. 1 job of a business is to create customers. Without customers, there is no business.
 6. In addition, there are tens of thousands of people in the U.S. employed in venture capital firms, investment banks, business brokers and other facets of the mergers and acquisition industry. These are dealmakers who need keen selling skills. No sales equals no money -- but those who know sales know money.

 My best advice for the 45 million people in sales jobs is to learn to sell as a team -- even you lone wolves and solopreneurs out there. There is an advantage to having a group of people brainstorm your ideas and your presentations. Each member of your team sees in an individual way and can therefore pinpoint problems with -- or suggest added benefits to -- your solution. As a result, your sales presentations benefit from having creativity, imagination and energy it might not have otherwise. Of course, at many times these different eyes can be better eyes, seeing angles or hidden aspects in ways that greatly magnify the power of your solution.

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