Why Sales Jobs Go Unfilled

A new report by the Harvard Business School ranked technical sales jobs the most difficult to hire for in America.

By Brenda SalinasFebruary 13, 2015 10:30 am

Why is it so hard to fill sales jobs? Either people don’t want to go into sales or companies are having a hard time finding the right people.

Ron Feur is the COO of Signpost in Austin. He says that even though an entry-level sales person makes between $40 and $60 thousand a year, it can be hard to find the right person for the job.

“The key difference in sales is the grit factor I think is, is incredibly important. There’s resiliency that you need as a salesperson if you think about it,” Feur says.

Salespeople hear no all the time and they have to blaze their own trail. Their paycheck is all commission, so if they want to earn more they have to sell more.

There’s some research to show that young people are particularly risk-averse. If that’s the case, then young people aren’t going into sales because they would rather have a steady income stream even if it’s less than what they could be making.

Mathew Riordan doesn’t think that’s fair. He organizes a meetup group of salespeople in Dallas called the Closers.

“That some people are risk adverse because they don’t know enough you’re always risk adverse if you don’t know enough so just to say that young people are risk adverse, I don’t think that’s fair,” Riordan says. “I don’t think anybody wants to do anything they don’t know.”

If it’s not the risk, it could be the negative stereotypes about salespeople that are affecting how many young people go into sales.

Sometimes people think of a pushy door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman or someone selling lemon cars to people who don’t know any better when they think about what a job in sales would be like.

So what can companies could do to convince more people to go into sales?

“If you want more sales people and you want them to be better, go into colleges and start educating them,” Riordan says. “Show them real sales people, I mean real professionals. Show them their paychecks I mean that will motivate somebody to learn more.”


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