6 real benefits of a sales career and the skills veterans need to get started

No experience required.

When leaving the military, newly-separated vets might doubt they have the ability to join a successful sales force. Positions in operations, management, and maintenance tend to be more popular among veterans, as they easily align with military skill sets. But whether they realize it or not, veterans have been training for sales careers the whole time they were serving.

Make no mistake, businesses in need of sales people know what veterans bring to the table. They want to hire capable veterans, but veterans need to be able to translate those skills into a sales mindset. Knowing the military doesn’t have a sales department, prepare yourself to talk about your experience in a way that displays your sales attributes. Use these scenarios as guidance:

Scenario: A military recruiter meets with prospective recruits to discern candidate fit, assess potential career paths based on interests and skill sets, and effectively communicate how the military can fulfill a need.

Sales skills: Communication, needs analysis, empathy, and relationship building.

Scenario:A platoon sergeant convinces a unit commander to administer a height and weight assessment 48 hours before or after a physical assessment to avoid potential injury.

Sales skills: Ability to influence utilizing reason, mission understanding, and perspective.

Scenario: Junior non-commissioned officers are required to conduct boards for promotion in front of unit leadership.

Sales skills: Ability to memorize and retain asset (or product) knowledge, confidence, and effective communication.

Sales careers pay off for veterans

We all practice a degree of salesmanship in various aspects of our lives. We sell ideas and processes, create and nurture relationships, and influence others in various ways. A good sales team drives the longevity of an organization and can be rewarded handsomely.

While not all sales roles are created equal, some of the benefits of a career in sales include:

1. Refinable Skills

There is a wealth of skills you may have utilized in the military that can support a career in sales. Those skills continue to be refined in sales roles, growing your operational understanding, professional interactions, and increasing your overall knowledge of an organization. Experience in sales can better equip you for future roles in operations or executive-level management.

2. Accessibility

Most sales positions do not require special training or education to get started. The skills you need to be successful are often just your ability to connect with potential customers, listen to their needs, and present solutions in a manner that demonstrates value.

3. Pathways for Advancement

Salespeople require growth and evolution to remain competitive in the market, creating plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development. Many of these opportunities are provided by organizations that often pay for their sales teams to receive special training.

Sales advancements are generally not related to billeted slots, meaning your experience and success often drive promotions, rather than open positions. As you gain experience and tenure, you can move into roles that train and mentor new salespeople or even help manage sales teams or departments.

4. Compensation

Not all sales roles are compensated by commission only. However, some people find a commission-based salary structure provides increased earning potential. For others, a base salary with additional commission potential provides security and an incentive to continue growing in the industry. Either way, these roles can offer flexible salary offerings in various phases of your career, allowing you to control your earning potential.

5. Competitive Environment

A sales environment can provide an exciting challenge for those who enjoy healthy competition. There is often a correlation between effort and earnings, meaning sales can be a great career path for people who like to push themselves and others. Sales professionals may also receive additional incentives for exceptional performance.

6. Schedule Flexibility

One of the biggest draws to a career in sales is the ability to create and manage your own schedule. Once you have established a workflow that supports your production needs, you can plan your days, weeks, and paid time off in a manner that maintains (or increases) your prospective sales quotas each quarter.

While these are just a few sales-related uses of the skills you picked up in the military, being able to recognize and convey your worth is the first of many sales you will make. Take the next step in exploring a career in sales by visiting the RecruitMilitary Job Board.