When I take a peak at the list of corporate CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and CTOs, as well as many Vice-Presidents, it's always interesting that 80% or more of them got their start in sales.
Why do you think that is?
I suspect it's because sales gives one a very good start to learning how to communicate effectively with other people. If you can persuade people to do what you want them to do -- i.e., buy from you, invest in you, etc. -- you're well on your way to having a successful career.
Sure, there are people who made millions on things, like mood rings, pet rocks, and Rubik cubes, but the people who came up with those things still had to persuade someone to invest in them.
If you think you're communicating skills are lacking in any way, there are many ways to improve them:
- Volunteer as a chair for a community project
- Run for office in the organization to which you belong
- Join a networking group such as Le Tip or BNI
- Join your local Toastmasters
- Practice with your family in giving impromptu speeches. First, turn off the television, the iPods, and the cell phones. Have each person in your family give a two to five minute speech about a subject of their choosing. Critique each other — count the number of times each speaker says "you know," "um," "uh," and other words and phrases that add nothing to the speech.
- Record yourself on a video camera and then critique yourself. You just might be surprised at what you find out about yourself.