What do Richard Branson, Karren Brady, Priya Lakhani and Alan Sugar have in common?

All are successful entrepreneurs, correct.

And all started their career in telesales.

The most important skill you need in most businesses is knowing how to sell. No sales = no income = no business. Yet sales is often viewed negatively, maybe because the calls we receive personally that prejudices our view. But without sales, there are no jobs! Time to rethink the value of the sales role to us all.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson is highly respected and started his career in telesales. “I started my first business with a handful of coins out of a phone-box at school. I drew up lists and lists of people to call, and slowly worked my way down them. Most of them rejected the idea of paying for advertising in an unpublished magazine, but gradually I began to find ways of attracting their attention.” Sales takes determination, resilience, intellect and naturally, good communication skills.

Sir Alan Sugar

Sir Alan Sugar started selling to school friends, left school at 16 and embarked on a sales career that is still going strong whilst he hosts the tv show, The Apprentice.

Karren Brady

One of his team on the show is Karren Brady who also left school at 16 and started a career in advertising telesales before at 23, becoming MD of Birmingham City and taking the Club from administration to the UK Stock Exchange.

Priya Lakhani

Priya Lakhani was selling sweets to her school friends before establishing Masala and Masala an Indian sauce company and then founding Century Tech selling software into the Education sector.

Paul Farrer

Then there is me. Not as famous, not as successful but now employ over 100 people located in London, Birmingham, New York and Singapore helping change peoples lives and improving organisational performance via targeted recruitment services. My first job in recruitment was telesales, calling companies, identifying their needs and persuading them to use the services of the company I had joined.

Some see sales as a stepping stone, others see it is a career. It is unique in that you can enhance your income through success. Quite simply the greater your efforts and success, the greater the reward. It’s a true meritocratic profession.

Most start in a telesales role before moving into a more face to face environment. You gain so much as you interact with diverse personalities and learn new skills such as how to build rapport, organisation, planning, negotiation, listening, communication, how to close a sale, account management, after sales, resilience and team work.

It’s no wonder that so many successful entrepreneurs first set out in sales and so many forge a career in sales when the only thing you have to worry about is someone saying “no”. Then it’s just a matter of finding out what you need to do to help them say “yes”.

So, if you are resilient, a good communicator, competitive and want a career where you can determine your earnings by delivering success. Have a good look at joining a company that offers structured training, a reasonable basic salary and a starting role in sales.

Johnny Depp and George Clooney

Finally, before becoming some of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, Johnny Depp worked in telesales whilst George Clooney sold insurance – you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to have benefited from a job in sales. Sales, is after all, all about communication, as is acting!

As Richard Branson says..