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How To Make A Smooth Career Transition From Marketing To Sales

Sami Rusani

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career change marketing to sales

Marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin. 

Both are focused around getting your company clients—they just have different responsibilities. Marketing is about opening clients up to working with your business. It’s about raising awareness and showing people who you are. 

Sales is about the close. 

If you want to move from marketing to sales, you have to spend time learning how to sell. And while that may seem obvious, a lot of people don’t really believe they need to put in the effort. They think sales is easy—but it’s not. 

You have to learn to sell just like you’d learn to anything else in life, with diligent practice and perseverance in the face of rejection. 

Here’s how you can make the leap:

Get in the selling mindset.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with a marketing degree, but you can’t truly learn marketing just by studying scenarios. You have to go figure out problems in the real world. How do you market a startup with a very limited budget? What influencers should you talk to? 

Sales is the same way—you can’t learn it without doing it. 

When I first tried making a career change from marketing to sales, I went out and started selling ads. And I failed miserably for about a year. I read books, and I went to seminars in an effort to get better. 

But the reality is, you can’t learn to sell from a book. 

You have to be able to put yourself in the mind of prospective clients. You have to be able to lead the conversations, find their pain points, and help them realize why they need what you’re selling. And the only way to do that is by getting out in the real world and learning through trial and error.

Once your mind is focused on selling, work on your interpersonal skills.

Some of the most loquacious salespeople you’ll meet didn’t start out that way. 

I certainly wasn’t always great at striking up conversations and helping people feel at ease. In fact, I was terrified of talking to people I didn’t know. 

Now, that’s obviously not a great trait for a salesperson to have. But the truth is, even the most introverted among us can get better at making conversation. I desperately needed to improve my people skills, so I did the only thing I could think of—I started talking to strangers as often as possible.

At the end of my work day, I’d strike up conversations wherever I went. I’d chat with the cashiers at the grocery store, with people waiting in line at the movies, or with strangers at a bar. I’d try to talk to anyone, anywhere. 

Eventually, I changed myself through practice. 

Sure, there were a lot of awkward moments—some people just didn’t want to talk to me. Eight out of ten probably gave me the cold shoulder. But I’d talk to the other two, listen to them, and get them to open up. 

Today, I can approach anyone and try to strike up a conversation without batting an eye.

You don’t necessarily have to go to those same lengths, but you do have to practice talking to people and building your interpersonal skills if you want to make the jump from marketing to sales. You have to make people relax around you.

Eventually, you’ll become a pro at connecting with anyone.

Everybody’s looking for a connection to feel heard, to feel validated. 

Even when people are in a serious setting, wearing their business facade, they still want to connect with the person across from them. That’s why practicing conversation and building your people skills is so essential to learning how to sell. 

If you can walk into a room and start connecting with people—cracking jokes and talking about hobbies or traveling—then you have an incredible advantage as a salesperson. If people actually like you, they’ll listen to what you have to say and take your pitch seriously. 

On the other hand, if you walk in as Mr. or Ms. Strictly Business, you’ll never really get through to them. You may have an incredible product, but it’s going to be a tough sell if there’s no connection.

Moving from marketing to sales isn’t necessarily easy, but you can make the jump. Don’t start by wishing it was easier, start by making yourself better. If you take the time to practice, learn to handle rejection, and persevere, there’s no reason you can’t make the leap from opening to closing. 

Here are a few other related articles you might find helpful:

The 5 Characteristics Of Every Truly Great Salesperson

Is A Siloed Sales Model Still The Best? This 1 Approach Is A Serious Contender

Why Flattery Is Never A Good Idea In Sales

Sami Rusani is a serial entrepreneur with several multi-million dollar businesses. Under the capacity of his media group, he has served as a marketing, branding, and growth consultant for various startup companies and global brands, such as VISA, Heineken, Mercedes, Sony, Virgin, and many more. He is currently serving as Chief Revenue Officer for ShipChain and is heavily involved in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space in both advisor and fundraising roles.

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