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Too Short For Sales

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 20
That career counselor gave just about the stupidest advice I have ever heard. I act as a buying agent for advertisers, and deal with sales people all day long. Height has nothing to do with anything - the best sales people are articulate, responsive, determined and thoughtful. Know your product, know your customer, and you'll be a great sales person. Oh, and personal hygene doesn't hurt.
post #3 of 20
I think globetrotter (on here) mentioned he was somewhere around your height or a bit below and certainly seems to have a good amount of success in the sales world. I have to admit that when I hire salespersons that their height and appearance do affect my thought process, but certainly if there was a bar, it wouldn't be at 5'8", as I don't believe that's too short, except perhaps for the NBA (unless you're Spud Webb or Earl Boykins)
post #4 of 20
I don't think height is an issue. My boss, the VP of sales, is probably 5'8" or 5'9" and I don't think twice about it (I am 6'4" by the way). I think it is more important how you carry yourself than your actual height. As petermetro said if you are articulate, responsive, determined, thoughtful and I'll add believable, you can be a successful salesperson.
post #5 of 20
Al Pacino and Tom Cruise stand less than 5'8". Your success won't match your capability only if you allow what you perceive as lack of height to lower your self esteem and confidence.
post #6 of 20
I hope you weren't paying this career counselor for her advice.   She is a moron.   Don't listen to her.   I know some very very successful people in sales and customer oriented jobs that are shorter than 5'8". Knowledge of your product and your customers' needs, and a willingness and ablility to meet those needs is more important than height.  
post #7 of 20
look carefully, because I would rather not have to state this repeatedly- I am very possibly the shortest person who is a regular contributor here. I am also possibly the fattest. I stand at 5 5, and I really don't want to write how much I wiegh. Basically, I am not a pretty fellow. I am the VP of international sales at a high tech medical equipment company, and in my last job, at a fortune 1000/NASDAQ 100 company I was in the top 5 producers of sales people (out of about 250 commisioned sales people) every year I was there, one year number one in growth, one year number one. I have had bosses who commented on my hieght/wieght. I even had a distributor who commented to my boss, once. I have never had a problem being able to close deals, though. in addition, I am not an extrovert. My personality type is not the most common for sales. a lot of people, who are not sales people, have commented over the years that they are suprised that I am in sales. People who are in sales, however, usually don't. I have had, at times (with all due modesty) small fan clubs and a lot of people coming to me for advice, and people who wanted to work on my team to learn from me. sales is about a number of things, but it is really about building raport, and helping the customer internalize how your solution solves his problem. of course, you need to find the right customer first, and you need to keep the customer happy afterwords. some sales people make their success based on buidling rapart with people, or a certain type of person. some on being very good at explaining a certain type of product, some are very good at finding the right customers, others at after sales service. figure out what you bring to the table - don't go into sales because it looks lucrative and fun. it is very very hard work, and very stressful, and it can be intellectually taxing. one point - it could be that the counslor, while not stating it well, meant something else. if she specifically meant that you are too short and that is what she is basing her judgment on, then she is an idiot. if she has a feeling that you are not charismatic, or do not look trustworthy, or some such feeling, try to understand her position, because that may affect your abilities. I am not pretty, but people tend to do what I say, and I command a hell of a lot of respect, usaully. that isn't needed for sales either , but that helps. I know somebody who is very shifty looking (but a very very nice trustworthy guy) and he couldn't ever make it in sales. if you want more advice - you need a bridge into your first sales job. If I was starting out today as a young man, I would get a technitians certificate in either medical technology communications technology or programing,and do some sales classes and then try toget a job selling in the field that I have a technical certificate in. many of the people who work for me started out as medical technitians and they can always find work in sales if they can sell. good luck
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 20
Guys, thanks for all the thoughtful responses.  I've never felt self-conscious about my height before, but that lady really burned me up. globetrotter, thank you for the information.  Great question, about the counselor addressing my height vs. charisma. I pondered the same thing, in fact it kept me up all night trying to figure out what she meant. I'm 35, but people often mistake me for being much younger, I thought, maybe she thinks I look too young for sales. But when she called me out of the blue at work this morning, she kept drilling me on height, height, height.  I was completely floored, I found her behaviour rather bizarre and needed a reality check. Heck, I even measured myself to make sure that I really was 5'8". Anyway, sorry for my rant and thanks for the advice, I feel much better now.  Who knows, sales may not be right for me, but I at least want to look into it. A couple more questions: Do you think looking young (25-28ish) can be a detriment to a career in sales? I interview for a lot of jobs, just because I love interviewing, I feel it keeps me sharp and sometimes I get great job offers out of it.  Invariably the three pieces of feedback I always get from the interviewer are: 1) I interview well 2) I seem confident 3) I seem like a team-player (which I am) I worry that #3 might hurt me in sales, that I may not be 'pushy' enough. Can that be a detriment, or am I just associating sales too much with car dealers? (which I am not looking to become)
youth can behelpful insales, remember sales is often an endourance game, it can bephysically difficult and stressful. I started selling million plus dollar goods when I was in my early twenties. the trick is to dress the part. team player - keep this in mind, you don't close a mutli-million dollar deal as an individual, but as a team. I typically work with what are called "account teams" people of different specialties that work together to close a deal. for big deals, and big contracts, you need good follow up - which means you need to be able to get people in a company who don't report to you to deal with issues - service, changes in design, financial issues. the better you work in your organization, the easier things move for your customer, the more you sell. good luck
post #10 of 20
whys, what have you done until now, career wise? what is your education?
post #11 of 20
At 5'7", working in a sales postion for a long time, I do not see any disrespect or people not taking any advice from me because of my tallness issue, I think it really is more in personal presentation and self awareness and confidence that makes people listen...not height.
post #12 of 20
globetrotter, i'm 5'4. I win.
post #13 of 20
I'm 6'4, so maybe I am not qualified, but from my standpoint, an annoying person is annoying regardless of size. A yappy mini poodle can be equally as aggrevating as an over zealous great dane.
post #14 of 20
I'm shocked that a "career counselor" would say such a thing. Unbelievable. She'd just dead wrong. One of the most successful local businessmen here in the DC area (largest consulting firm in DC among regional DC companies) is 5 foot, 4 inches. It doesn't matter one bit. This guy's friendly without being obsequious; assertive and a good conversationalist without being arrogant; and well-dressed, tanned and handsome. I'd love to know what this career counselor's employment was last month.? She clearly ain't been doing this long.
post #15 of 20
globetrotter, i'm 5'4. I win.
Sup fellow 5'4" buddy. Lucky for me, I don't feel short here in Seoul...
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