What Sales Jobs Is Right For Me?

By Ron Jumper

There is nothing like closing a deal.

As you overcome that seemingly insurmountable objection, in the process turning a “No” to a “Maybe” which was all the opening you needed, adrenaline kicks in to take you to that next gear that only you have to get the deal done. Not later, not on a follow up call. Right then and there.

You walk out of that meeting with a sense of purpose and fulfillment that will rarely be matched any other time in your professional career. In that moment, there is no challenge you wouldn’t have the confidence to embrace and take head on.

That is what it is like for a sales professional when closing the “big deal” they’ve been meticulously working on.

Is Sales For You?

Ultimately, no matter how you slice it, a career in sales is a bet on yourself. Whether there is a monthly draw, a base salary plus commission, or a purely commission compensation structure, the long term success of a salesperson is determined by whether YOU, AND YOU ALONE, CAN SELL. If you haven’t done sales before, you don’t know the outcome. That being said, the best bet you could ever make is on yourself.

Pros of a Sales Job:

  • Higher Earning Potential
  • Freedom & Flexibility
  • Gateway To Entrepreneurship

Cons of a Sales Job:

  • Higher Stress Levels
  • Risk of No or Less Income
  • More Responsibility & Accountability

What Sales Job Is Right For Me?

There is much to consider when choosing a sales job and all can be a key to your success. Is this a product I believe in? Is this a reputable company? Am I comfortable working on straight commission or do I need either a draw or base salary? Each industry has different pros and cons in terms of their average compensation, the success rate or turnover of the position, and what training & support is provided both initially as well as on an ongoing basis.

Some additional items I always stress is to consider what assistance the company provides from a marketing standpoint to generate opportunities for you. Are you simply cold calling or going door to door? Did you inherit an account list? Is the company advertising, generating leads for the sales force on a regular basis? Let’s compare three common sales jobs and see what the differences are.

Option 1: Insurance Sales

Insurance sales can be lucrative for those that have success and the barrier to entry is very low, there is little experience or training required to obtain a sales position. If you can sustain success in the field, the residual income from repeat business can add up. That being said, it becomes a very crowded field and, just as you have very little invested in the job, the company has little to nothing invested in whether or not you succeed.

Traditionally, you don’t have a base salary or draw and instead work on straight commission. You also typically don’t inherit an account list or receive inbound leads from interested customers, instead it is highly dependent on your ability to cold call or go door-to-door to generate prospects. Some reports indicate the failure rate is over 90%, meaning less than 10% succeed and stay in the industry long term. For those that do, the average annual income is $51,000/yr.

Option 2: Financial Advisor

Becoming a Financial Advisor can be a prestigious and rewarding career, but it is not an easy path to take and isn’t for the faint of heart. Each company is a little bit different, but traditionally the program requires previous sales experience or a background in banking/finance to be included. It traditionally is a several year program with a salary that diminishes over time as your commission increases, eventually resulting in a straight commission compensation model.

Industry wide, the success rate for these positions is less than 10% and, in some cases, closer to 5%. In my opinion, the reason for this is due to there being a heavily saturated field of advisors chasing a very small, specific market (those who have the liquidity to invest over $250,000 in a retirement account). These advisors are not given exclusive territories and are also not provided with “leads” so they are fighting on top of each other for business. For those that do survive, the average annual income is $65,000/yr.

Option 3: Home Improvement Sales

For many sales professionals, there is a perception or at least a lack of awareness about working in the industry and that can lead to not giving enough consideration to a career in home improvement sales. However, as you peel back layers of the onion, the role of In Home Sales becomes more and more attractive.

The most important element is that you don’t have to cold call or go door-to-door, in fact it is the complete opposite. Home improvement companies are aggressively marketing and homeowners call in to the office or call center to schedule an appointment, the in home sales rep then goes out on the scheduled appointment. From there, success or failure is determined by your closing ratio.

In terms of compensation, there is typically a base salary that is paid weekly and then it is commission and bonus from there. On average, in home sales reps make $61,000/yr and can exceed $100,000 with the right company. By right company, I mean companies that are generating the leads to keep their sales force busy, have an established brand in their market, sell a quality product, and provide excellent training to give you an opportunity to be successful.


Be sure to do your research and ask the right questions when deciding what sales job is right for you, the best choice for you may not have been the one you expected. Make sure you have a firm understanding of the compensation model and if the sales quota or bonus incentives are realistic. Make sure you feel comfortable with the job requirements or that the training will be sufficient for you to then meet those requirements.