Thursday, 18 August 2011

A-level grades not what you hoped for?– why not apply to the University of Life in SALES #alevelresults #resultsday

( Photos of great murals in Brighton, scroll down for useful links at end of post)

As you opened the envelope this Thursday 13th August 2015 you might feel that since you haven’t got the A level grades you needed to get into university you don’t actually want to go ( by the way there is always going to be lifelong learning anyway - nowadays you can study part-time and keep a full time job e.g. my old college Birkbeck, London )

In any case, don’t despair!

Plenty of today’s top businesspeople did not go to university. For example not all the Dragons Den dragons went to University!!

How you handle this current disappointment, how you pick up yourself , dust yourself down and take stock is all part of positive mental attitude , courage and toughness of character – all important attributes as it happens of a professional salesperson. Not all graduates who apply for sales jobs have these attributes in their character incidentally.

Have you considered SELLING as a career?

Although companies will engage graduates they do all not limit themselves to graduates exclusively.
What is selling?

Selling is a part of your daily activities. You sell your views, your ideas and yourselves to colleagues, clients, bosses, partners and families.

And that’s not the whole story either.

You are often talking with sales people – on the street, in stores and even on the phone.

Selling is a very important process – it is the lifeblood of most organisations.

Just look at the top of a Profit and Loss Account for a company- it’s SALES or REVENUE

If Companies do not sell their products or services, companies they go bust.

They recruit promising trainees, give them the best opportunities and hold their good sales people in high esteem.

Good sales skills comprise of helping customers to buy a product or service to meet their needs.

As a profession, this involves meeting people, building relationships, addressing challenges, being creative in offering solutions , self-reliance and independent thinking.

Such skills are relevant to our daily lives, selling isn’t merely a business skill; it’s also a valuable life skill that could help you in many circumstances such as ‘selling’ your skills at a job interview .

As an Apprentice you could find yourself working in a range of sectors.

 You may be, for example, a sales advisor in a retail store, or a membership advisor in a health and fitness club.

On an Advanced Apprenticeship, you could take on a supervisory role as team leader and have the ability to earn higher rates of commission.

Ultimately, your goal will be to sell as many of your company’s products and services as possible, while taking into consideration the interests of your clients.

Customers are important, and you’ll have to seek out new customers while still looking after the current ones.

Businesses realise the importance of salespeople – money tends to be good, most salespeople earn commission, and they can even be treated to presents or other bonuses like free holidays.

In fact, a top-flight senior salesperson could command a salary of up to £100,000, plus commission.

HOWEVER just because you’re selling something doesn’t mean that people want to buy it!!!

Salespeople have to work to ethical standards that reflect the profession. Their training focuses on the ability to remain calm under pressure and be able to handle rejection gracefully…with the motivation to try again when the opportunity arise.

The selling profession’s trade body is the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management. They have produced some handy guides on popular sales topics such as
  • Understanding buyer behaviour,
  • Preparing and delivering a sales presentation
  • and Time and territory management for sales people.
These colour guides contain explanations and activities which give you the knowledge and understanding you need for your sales role. You can see a sample Study Guide on our website at
There are plenty of books to consider reading – see book reviews on this blog under the labels directory on the right hand side of the home page.

Learners can be registered by companies for the QCF level 2 Knowledge Based Qualification in the Sales and Telesales Apprenticeship framework, through the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management ISMM.

Their qualification is called the Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Selling and attracts public funding. It’s recognised by Ofqual and provides an introduction to the core knowledge to start a first job in sales.
You can see the specification at

Here are some related links and useful websites:

Have you a flair for Sales ? article
Government Site
Princes trust
Institute of Sales and Marketing Management
Chartered Institute of Marketing
Modern Selling website
Job Hunting

Of course nothing will be 'handed to you on a plate ' - perseverance is part of selling.

Good luck in the next stage of your life in the University of Life and I hope you consider joining the Selling Profession - it needs young active and intelligent people like you.

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