Ten years ago, I left the classroom to become a salesperson. I discovered that the two professions are not as different as you might imagine, with the caveat that not everyone who is a good teacher can be successful in sales.
As a teacher, you must interact with different kinds of people (students, parents, administrators and fellow instructors) with varying personality and learning styles, and you probably would say that you’ve developed the skill set of an effective communicator. You must have the competency that the education schools call “withitness,” or the ability to keep lots of plates spinning at the same time. The classroom teacher must be able to find innovative and novel ways to present, or “sell” information to often times unwilling and uncooperative students. These are all the foundational skills of effective salesmanship.
Teachers must be self-renewing, constantly learning and self motivated in what is arguably the most difficult profession in the world. And despite the rewards (and there are plenty), teaching in the schools is difficult and teachers are very underpaid, so…you might be thinking you’d like to move to sales.
After all, you’ve seen those textbook and software salespeople at your school, and at the summer conferences. They are nicely dressed and look tan and relaxed. They have good hair cuts and nice shoes – they lunch with their colleagues over white wine and salad nicoise while you maybe get 20 minutes at your desk hunched over mystery meat and tater tots.
When I made the transition to sales, I doubled my salary in one move – then doubled it again each year for the next three years. I was finally able to say I was making the money that I thought my education, experience and expertise entitled me to. Then – I made a startling discovery.
If you’d like to hear more about my path, what I learned and how it might help you, please comment.
Join the conversation, won’t you?