QoD: The number one job skill that very successful businesspeople attribute their success to is their __________ skills.

Dec 03, 2019
Question of the Day, Career

Answer: Sales 


  1. What does it take to be a successful salesperson? 
  2. How might these skills help someone be successful in other areas of business? 
  3. Raise your hand if you think you would consider going into sales? What sorts of sales-type jobs could you get at your age?

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers: (Yahoo Finance)

Two-thirds of the mega-wealthy individuals interviewed for this article attribute much of their success to their sales experience. Here are a few interesting quotes from the article:

  • Plenty of wealthy celebrities and CEOs say they did sales work before becoming rich, too. Kanye West was a salesperson at the Gap; both Johnny Depp and Jennifer Aniston were telemarketers; and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was a door-to-door vacuum-cleaner salesman. 
  • Even if you don’t plan to run a company, sales experience is essential, experts say. “Everyone needs a basic understanding of their strengths and how to sell them, because no one else is going to sell them for you,” says Randalyn Hill, a relationship-development specialist with career coaching firm Ama La Vida. “Throughout your entire life and career, you need to advocate for yourself and sell your worth. This will help you get clients, negotiate salaries, secure promotions. The ability to sell yourself is crucial in many aspects of your career journey.”

The article suggests you start out getting sales experience as a side gig as a barista or in a retail store. For a pure sales job, the suggestion was that a commission-only job would be easier to get with no prior experience, because you will only be paid for what you sell.


Sales is just one of the skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur. Find out the others in our NEW! Entrepreneurship mini-unit. 

About the Authors

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.