Dan Cole, operating director at recruitment consultancy Michael Page Sales, on the experience required to gain a top job in sales.
Footwear does not necessarily have a specific starting point from where to begin a sales career. However, a good entry route would be obtaining a graduate position at a highly respected consumer brand. This could be in any leading food, drink, health and beauty or consumer goods organisation. These organisations are well known for providing excellent sales training and will provide you with a solid foundation for a career in sales. On-the-job training will play a significant part in your induction process along with the more formalised classroom based sales and product training.
To move into footwear sales specifically, it is likely you will need to have a demonstrable track record in consumer sales and experience of selling into channels ranging from major multiples through to high street retailers and independent stores.
You must be commercially minded and self-motivated, as well as having strong relationship-building skills. You will also need to have strong negotiation techniques and possess the resilience necessary to bounce back from the inevitable disappointments that any salesperson will face along the way.
To step up into a sales director position you must be able to show strong leadership and people management capabilities together with a strategic mindset to set and deliver a longer-term vision for growth. A senior sales director can be a hugely rewarding career as it is a very people-orientated position where you will interact with all different walks of life on a regular basis.