Customer service is a terrific sales training ground. There’s a natural progression for customer service people to go into sales in their next career move. Smart move!

It’s all about dealing with people. It requires diplomacy. You can’t be thin-skinned or take things personally when you work in customer service. How is that similar to sales? “A good salesperson is able to maintain a positive, driven, consistent disposition,” says Maggy Smith, Director, Talent & Organizational Performance at Red Lion Hotel Hotel Corporation.

She has worked with customer service staff in the hospitality industry and also as HR manager for a sales company in the timeshare arena.

Having a consistent disposition is a hallmark of good customer service, where managing complaints with patience and finesse is necessary. When you give great customer service, you are persistent. You go out of your way to do everything you can to satisfy the customer: no matter how long it takes, how many callbacks must be made, or how frustrated you might feel.

Expanding into a sales focus simply means taking that quality of persistence to a different level. In sales, it becomes the drive to achieve.  “In sales recruiting, we look for life experiences that show a person has drive,” Smith adds. “It’s persevering until the job is done or the challenge is overcome.”

Sales = higher income than customer service

One big difference between customer service and sales is income. Some customer service reps receive retention bonuses or other minimal incentives. A professional sales career offers uncapped earning potential in addition to flexibility and other work/life benefits.

Learning your sales profile – key attributes you have for fulfilling different sales roles – is a good way to expand from customer service into sales. Dean Wright, Senior Director, Global Channel Sales Operations of Chally, a GrowthPlay Company, suggests you discover and examine your natural potential and skills. Match those to the positions you apply for.  “You’ll be happier and more successful in the long run,” he says.

Virtanza uses the Chally Sales Assessment, a highly predictive tool, to identify students’ strengths and specific sales roles where they are likely to excel. Then, during the highly interactive Virtanza coursework, the insights gained from this Chally profile continue to illuminate. They guide each student’s individualized curriculum and the specific jobs he or she targets.


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