retail to sales

From Retail to Sales

Written By:

Lynn Whitbeck

I’ve only worked in retail before, but I’m interested in pursuing sales as a career. Does my floor experience transfer well into sales? What more do I need to learn? – Courtney in Knoxville, TN

Answer:

TINA: Retail is one of the best learning arenas for all types of skill sets, including sales. Whether you are a cashier or stocking shelves – you’re talking with the public and customers, and you’re representing the product or service of that brand. You may not be thinking in those terms, however that customer-facing experience transfers well into sales.

Retail experience provides transferrable skills to any level of sales as a career. You will learn more about a product or service as you move along in your career, and you will learn how you work best with people – if it’s by phone or in person or a combination of both. We’re constantly learning: new methods, products and services, more about people and their communication styles. It’s a wonderful journey. What a terrific foundation you’ve chosen in starting in the retail arena.

LYNN: Absolutely your retail floor experience is sales. There are many many different types of professional sales careers. What you will need to learn is completely dependent upon the avenue you pursue, and the industry requirements. Many require specialized training and even certification. Other sales professionals are taught on the job. The key here is that you are interested in pursuing a career in sales.

You might want to start learning by reading a few books. INC put out a list of the top 10 sales books of all time. A few of my favorites are:

Selling to VITO by Anthony Parinello
Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni
Creating Competitive Advantage by Jaynie L. Smith

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