Here’s Why so Many Successful Entrepreneurs Got Their Start in Sales

Source | Entrepreneur : By Mike Monroe

Everyone has an opinion about salespeople, and it’s often negative. But according to a 2017 survey conducted by Heidrick & Struggles, nearly 15 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs got their starts in sales. Say what you will about the oftentimes incorrectly portrayed “pushy” salesperson but, along with a few other unique strengths, their persistence is exactly what makes them successful.

It’s also why you — if you have ambitions to be the next Mark Cuban, Elon Musk or Oprah Winfrey — should learn to sell.

One of the first truths you’ll learn about entrepreneurship is that you’re 100 percent responsible for your success or failure. It can be hard to adjust at first, but selling products or services to strangers and living off commission is a perpetual training ground for that very lesson. Besides that, experience in the sales world helps you develop several skills that you’ll need to overcome the challenges of being your own boss.

Planning to launch the next great Kickstarter campaign or turn your startup weekend idea into a part-time business? Consider making your mark in the sales world first.

A training ground for great entrepreneurship.

All of my beginner jobs, from washing dishes to painting to working as a prep cook, paid by the hour rather than by the quality and amount of work I put in. My co-workers and I were just trading time for money. We had very little incentive to do well. When I finally gathered the courage to join my first sales team — even though multiple family members told me I wasn’t cut out for it — I experienced the power of performance-based income. I never measured success the same way again.

I learned to confront and shrug off rejection. I mastered the art of a true work ethic. I learned to close a deal, to persuade people that my solution was the best for their problems.

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