Turn Setbacks into Setups

What Working For Commission Can Teach You About Life

May 28, 2019

The thought of depending only on your communication skills to make a living can be a little intimidating.

That’s probably why commission-based retail jobs can get a bad rap, even as retail trade grows in the US. Compared to more stable, salaried jobs, commission work can feel more chaotic—and retail sales in general certainly has its ups and downs.

But the thing about commission-based jobs is that they offer you a leg up in terms of real life skills training and future business success. Think of it this way: some of the richest people in the world got their start from commission-only sales jobs. (Bill Gates started off by selling Microsoft, for example). There’s unlimited potential when it comes to sales, and unlimited possibilities for learning the vital skills to get you where you want to be. Here are three of the most important things retail sales can teach you, and why you should consider jumping into the field:

Experience working in a high-pressure environment

It’s certainly true that retail sales can be a stressful atmosphere to work in. When there’s no guaranteed income for employees, the uncertainty can be overwhelming—and it can even result in a high-turnover position for the wrong company.

But this type of environment is a great way to learn how to thrive when things get tough. Commission-based sales require you to problem-solve constantly, thinking on your feet to come up with ways to sell to those “I’m just looking” customers. You’ll need to find inventive ways to start up conversations, and effective methods of making that sale, even in the thick of workplace stress.

Practice excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Working retail in general is a great way to spend your entire day communicating with different types of people. No matter what type of company you work with, you’ll quickly need to learn how to be polite even under difficult circumstances, and how to talk to people of different personalities and backgrounds.

In the long-term, these types of skills are invaluable, no matter what your future goals are. Your business success will hinge on your ability to communicate well, one-on-one or in a crowd, and commission-based sales are a great way to hone this skill.

Understand the value of effort

With commission-based work, you’re constantly receiving feedback based on your performance—and not just from your supervisor. With retail sales, you literally get out of it what you put into it, as you’ll receive an income proportionate to your efforts and success. In other words, this type of job is not for the faint of heart, and you’ll likely have to work out some cash management strategies as you find your stride.

However, working in retail sales can teach you how to hustle, find success, and adapt in a high-pressure environment where there’s a lot at stake. Just like real life, this type of work rewards the risks you take: the more sales you make, the better you get, and the more sales you make! Commission jobs reward high performance and effort, and that’s a powerful skill to have in your back pocket.

Despite the drawbacks, working in this type of high-pressure environment can teach you a huge wealth of skills. No matter what future success looks like for you, the efforts you sink into retail sales will certainly pay off over time—making this type of job well worth the risk.

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