I Hate Sales: How to Excel When Selling Isn't Your Forte

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Dave Rynne
Dave Rynne


“I hate sales.” If you find yourself saying this every morning before work, you’re not alone. Salespeople rate their job satisfaction as 2.5 out of 5 stars on average, according to data from Career Explorer. That puts sales in the bottom 5% of careers. Yikes.

salesperson thinking i hate sales

This isn’t a complete surprise, however — while sales reps are often paid well, the work isn’t easy. From tracking down new prospects to qualifying leads, sales requires ongoing and concerted efforts to see success.

So you might just hate sales, but it’s not all bad news. In this piece, we’ll look at some of the top indicators that you really hate your sales job, offer tips on how to excel in your current role, and provide advice if sales jobs simply aren’t your best fit.

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How to Tell if You Hate Your Sales Job

Not sure if you hate your sales job or if you’re just having a rough week? Here are six ways to tell the difference.

I hate sales, signs that you hate your job. You dread going to work. You hate rejection. Talking to people drains you. You come home exhausted. You daydream about anything else.

1. You dread going to work.

There’s not wanting to go to work, and then there’s dreading the next day.

Not wanting to go to work is a shared human experience. Everyone has days they’d rather stay home in bed than fight traffic or join another Zoom call.

Dreading work is something else. If you find yourself struggling to focus on anything but the fact that you have to work the next day, you might just hate your job.

2. You hate rejection.

It’s also a pretty good bet that you’ll hate sales if you hate rejection. Rejection comes with the territory, from prospects choosing another vendor to cold calls hanging up because they have no interest in the conversation.

If the thought of getting rejected sends you into a spiral, sales isn’t for you.

3. Money isn’t your main motivator.

While some salespeople love the challenge, most are in it because the job pays well. But if money isn’t your primary motivator — for example, if you’re financially stable or you’re happy with your current pay — the constant focus on making more, more, more may start to grate.

4. Talking to people drains your energy.

If you’re someone who gets energized talking to new people, sales is often a great fit. If even talking to coworkers drains your social battery, you may quickly find yourself worn out after even a few phone calls.

Do this for days or months and chances are you’ll start hating the job.

5. You come home exhausted.

It’s one thing to come home tired. It’s another to come home so exhausted you can barely stand.

While this isn’t unusual in highly physical jobs that include large amounts of manual labor, sales shouldn’t be quite so draining. If the only thing you want to do is sleep when you get home and hope your alarm doesn’t go off, you’re probably not in the right role.

6. You daydream about doing anything else.

We all have dreams. Maybe yours is to travel the world after you retire, or settle down somewhere nice and quiet.

If, however, you spend nights and weekends daydreaming about any other job — even if it pays less and comes with longer hours — you may want to skip sales.

How to Excel in Sales (Even if You Hate It)

While “I hate sales” seems like a fairly finite conclusion, you can learn to excel in your role even if you’d rather be doing something else.

Here are some tips that can help you make the most of your current role.

 i hate sales, finding success regardless. Focus on value. Create relationships. Find a mentor. Think outside the box. Make the most of time off. Pinpoint what you don’t like. Assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Focus on value.

It’s often the “sale” part of sales that puts people off. The constant pressure to generate more conversions and make more money can significantly impact your job satisfaction.

If you’re in this position, try shifting from a sales focus to a value proposition. In other words, how can the product or service you’re selling help someone else?

If you can find a way to frame the job as having value to a person or a business, it may be easier to enjoy your sales career.

Create relationships.

Sales is about talking to people. More importantly, however, it’s about creating relationships. By looking at your job through the lens of reciprocal relationships rather than simply sales contacts, you may find greater satisfaction.

Find a mentor.

Experienced sales professionals may be able to offer approaches or insights that can help improve your sales job satisfaction.

For example, they might offer tips on how to cold-call companies without feeling nervous or show you ways to connect with decision-makers before the sales pitch starts.

Think outside the box.

Sometimes it’s worth throwing out the rulebook, especially if you’re not enjoying the job. By taking your own approach to contacting and connecting with prospects, you may be able to drive success without feeling frustrated.

If nothing else, it gives you a chance to experiment and see if there’s any way to make sales work for you.

Make the most of time off.

When you’ve got time off, take it — and enjoy it. Don’t look at your work emails and don’t answer calls from work.

To the best of your ability, think about anything else but your job. Focus on what makes you happy. This could mean taking up a hobby, doing some traveling, or just spending time at home.

These activities should leave you recharged and rested. Or perhaps they remind you sales offers some pay and lifestyle benefits that you enjoy.

Pinpoint what you don’t like.

Take the time to consider what you don’t like about sales.

For example, if cold-calling is your least favorite part, look for ways to warm up prospects before you start the pitch. Or perhaps, you don’t like sending emails. You can automate some of that communication.

During this process, you might find that only part of your job causes you stress. With guidance from a manager and the use of tech tools, you may be able to offload your least favorite parts of your role.

Assess your strengths and weaknesses.

No one is great at everything. Consider where you excel and where you could improve, and then use this information to change your sales strategy.

Let’s say you’re great at initial, off-the-cuff contact but struggle to connect with a similar sales pitch. By creating a set of talking points around the pitch, you can make it easier on yourself and improve the chances of making a sale.

What to Do if Your Role is a Bad Fit

Maybe you’ve tried everything and you still hate your sales role. It may be time to make a change.

You can take two routes to the transition, either applying for a different role at your company or applying for new jobs.

Internal Career Changes

You may be able to find another role at your current company that’s a better fit for your skills. For example, you might enjoy the challenge of crafting a great sales pitch but not like cold-calling. Perhaps, a marketing role could be a good lateral move.

It’s also worth bringing up your concerns with your manager ASAP. Even if you can’t change roles immediately, you can let them know and see what options are available.

External Postings

If internal changes aren’t an option, consider moving to another company.

Take time to pinpoint your skills and consider what type of role might work, both as a change from sales and over the long term. Then, tailor your resume based on your pivot.

Once you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, opt for a multi-pronged approach to the job search. For example, you can search for postings online, connect with staff at other companies through social networking, or even hire a recruiter.

Thanks, I Hate It

If you find yourself struggling with the signs listed above, you might hate your sales job. But it’s not all bad news. With the right approach, you can improve your sales technique and attitude to start seeing success.

And, if you really don’t like what you’re doing, there’s always the option to take what you’ve learned and apply it somewhere else.

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