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Sales executives

Working life as a graduate sales exec

The range of positions available within sales and the different industries you may be expected to sell to means that the working life for a sales person can be very different depending on the role.

Those working in telesales for instance may work normal 9–5 office hours, or as part of a split shift. Travelling reps selling machinery or electronics may be on the go for long periods and can expect to spend at least some time away from home. The type of product sold and the nature of your role will have an effect on the nature of your working life. As such it’s worth researching the role thoroughly before you apply and asking any questions you may have during the recruitment process.

Sales salaries

Salaries in the sales sector can start as high as £28,000, depending on the employer, though £18,000 to £21,000 may be more typical. Many will attract commission on top of this. For middle management and senior jobs, typical basic salaries range from £25,000 to around £50,000 with the potential to earn £10,000 to £25,000 or more on top in commission or bonuses. In some roles, the commission you can earn is uncapped.

The amount you earn may change depending on the value or volume of sales you achieve. Be aware when applying for roles that advertise an OTE salary (on-target-earnings or opportunity-to-earn) that this figure will be dependent on meeting targets. Should you fail to do so, you may end up earning less.

The highs and lows

Jobs in this sector will revolve around making the sale, so clinching a big deal or winning over a tough client can be a real high spot. Similarly, meeting sales targets (and earning the associated commission) can be very fulfilling.

On the flipside, you are likely to have to face a lot of rejection. You may find a client that you've been courting for some time and put a great deal of work into decides to go with a competitor at the last minute. This can be very demoralising, but you may find you relish the challenge of winning clients round.

It’s therefore necessary to take the highs with the lows and be aware of how market forces might affect your business. A company selling expensive consumer goods, for instance, may see a drop in sales during January and February when the cost of the festive season (and the associated credit card bills) hits home.


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