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Rising Stars: The Sweet Spoils of Selling

By Alice Speri

Matt started out managing the box office at a performing arts theater but quickly realized that a career in sales would better support his lifestyle. He enjoys the challenge of constant innovation required by his job, as well as the material rewards.

Name: Matthew Healey
School: University of New Hampshire
Major: Communications
Years Out of College: 10+
Title: Presidential Account Manager
Company: PC Connection
First Steps

"I did not have a true plan established after graduating college. I was unsure what career and life path I wanted to take. I did have a fairly large school loan to pay off. My initial thoughts were to obtain a higher paying job in a venue I would enjoy. I was able to reach one of my two goals: my first two jobs out of college were enjoyable places to work. I was a doorman at a bar and grill and a Box Office Manager at a performing arts theatre."

"However, neither occupation provided even close to the kind of compensation I required in my life. I knew when interviewing for my next job that salary and opportunity for advancement had to come before a fun atmosphere or artistic pursuits. I had financial pressures, real or imagined. If not, I would have much preferred to pursue a more creative, albeit less financially rewarding line of employment."

Challenges Faced

"Sales is a challenging career. Every day you have to be positive. Your customers count on you to provide the correct solution to their problems with a smile. One of my colleagues once said that 'Sales is not an easy job, but it is a simple job.' I would agree with that. The job of sales is not the hard part. The mental game you must play everyday to continuously motivate yourself is the hardest part."

"A career in sales allows you to challenge yourself. You are virtually your own boss. You have to create innovative ideas on how to approach new clients while adeptly managing reactive accounts. I enjoy the freedom sales provides you as an individual. Freedom breeds invention. Invention provides us with tools to prospect new customers. New customers create more sales, which create more commissions."

"Sales is one career where the harder you work the more money you will make. My income has increased each year by tens of thousands rather than a standard raise you may receive with many employers (which barely covers inflation). Your monetary reward is the greatest aspect of sales. The downfall of this fact is I am not making anything tangible. I do not create long-lasting works of art (whether that may be building a house, engineering a new design, or molding a child's mind for the greater good). If money cannot fill this void, sales is not for you. I try to use some of my commissions to create a greater good in my personal life."

My Experience

"I have a fairly standard schedule for my daily routine at work. I work for a corporation. We start at 8:30 and end at 5:30. We are provided one hour for lunch. This is sales, so I may end up working right through my lunch (which I will usually do 2-3 times a week). I may work late a half hour or full hour 2 or 3 times a week as well. The advantage to this is when I need or want to leave early, I may. If I want or need to come in late, I may. I seldom follow the standard 8:30 to 5:30 schedule. I average 45 hours a week actually worked. I do not work weekends (although I could)."

"I have excellent benefits and 4 weeks of vacation. The rewards in sales are great. If you can make it past the first year, you can expect to far exceed the average income for a college graduate in most fields. If you can make it to year five you can expect to make $100,000 or more. If you are not making this, do not worry, you will be fired. This is the most exciting part of Sales for me. The harder I work, the more I make. The more I make, the more I can do in my personal life. This is your reward in sales."

"If you are not materialistic, sales is not for you. If you enjoy going out to dinner excessively, taking 3 exotic vacations a year rather than one vacation every 3 years, sales may be for you. But you have to work very hard to get there. The greatest thing my job has accorded me that may inspire others is a house at the beach. This of course is once again a material accomplishment. Material or otherwise the house is an accomplishment that creates much happiness and enjoyment for friends and family. It was a dream of mine since I was a young child."

Next Steps

"I would love to be a Director of Sales for a large corporation. I am going back to school to get my MBA, ten years after graduating. My company will pay for this extended education as long as it relates to my job. I actually have the experience to pursue such a position without an MBA. I am hoping the MBA will place me on the fast track from Sales Manager to Director of Sales to Vice President of Sales. This being said, I am in no rush to change my current station. I am currently and will remain a frontline sales person until I can no longer take it. When you see the want ads for a 'fast paced, ever changing environment with room for growth,' that is sales (in the right company). You not only have to be able to handle that speed to be truly successful, but embrace it."

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