Too Young for Sales?

Portrait of young woman in call centre
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People have said for decades that "age doesn't matter. It's more about how your feel, your energy level than the date on your birth certificate." Now, we all know that that cliche has an element of truth and an element of wishful thinking.

The truth is that people will and do judge others, using their assumed age as one of their measuring sticks. If someone thinks you're too old to be able to understand or handle a particular matter, then unless you can prove them wrong, you will be too old in their minds.

If they think you are too young or too inexperienced to be considered trustworthy or to have a level of expertise needed, then, again, unless you prove them wrong, the value of your opinions will be diminished.

Like it or not, your age has a lot of influence on how people consider you. And when it comes to a career in sales, many believe that sales professionals can either be too old or too young for a particular sales industry.

But is this true? Can someone be too young to be in sales?

Some Groundwork

Before we get into the discussion of whether or not someone can be too young for sales, we need to establish some ground rules. While a seven-year-old is not too young to sell lemonade, it is hardly a stretch to say that kids are too young to be in any profession. For sake of "getting along," this article will use the ages of 18 through 26 as the ages for "young sales professionals."

Industry Specific

There are young sales professionals in virtually every sales industry.

Some do quite well, while some struggle to hit their quotas. grow frustrated with the sales industry and end up leaving sales with the attitude that "sales is just not for me."

For those who leave, the question is whether or not they struggled to find success because of their youth or because of their skill set?

For many who have started their sales career in their early 20's, failure is more about attitude than age.

However, there are some industries that a young sales professional should expect to struggle more so than a more mature sales pro.

Financial Services and Insurance

While insurance and financial services companies aggressively recruit young people right out of college, they do so because they have an understanding of the numbers. The vast majority of young sales professionals who enter either industry will not be in the industry three years after their start date. They either determine that the industry is not for them or are unable to persuade enough clients to part with their money and to trust them to help secure their future.

When it comes to money, consumers generally trust professionals who have been "in the game" for several years and tend to distrust younger agents due to their lack of experience. Knowing this, financial services and insurance companies believe that if they hire 100 young sales professionals, they should get 10 or so that do well and end up making the industry their career.

Failure is expected.

Big Ticket Items

Let's say you're in the market for a new house and you have to choose between working with two different real estate agents.

One is fresh out of college, and the other has been in the industry for well over two decades.

Using your gut as your guide, which one will you pick?

Most will pick the more experienced agent, not because of age but because of experience. When it comes to big-ticket items, there are too many things that can "pop up" or derail a sales cycle for many to trust someone with limited experience.

In the End

While young sales professionals will face challenges in many industries, it is their determination, dedication and drive for success that is more important than their age. If you choose to get into an industry that is filled with mature and experienced sales reps, you should expect to have to outwork your competitors or should expect to be looking for a new sales job soon.

But, if you choose your industry based on your passion, age won't mean a darn thing!