Graduate Opportunities – Sales

It’s that time of year, when graduates start scouring the marketplace for the perfect post-university job. It can be a daunting time, with competitive graduate schemes and training opportunities on the horizon, deciding on your life-long career path can seem like an overwhelming task.

At Great Annual Savings (GAS), we believe our route into a sales career is a great option for graduates looking for a competitive starting salary, uncapped commission and the opportunity to be a part of one of the fastest-growing businesses in the North East (we also have national opportunities…. read on!).

So, what does it really take to make it as a successful salesperson? Here, our Resourcing experts share their top tips for making it as a sales professional.

1.Are you a people person?

“Be honest with yourself, does the thought of interacting with people all day long leave you feeling excited for the possibilities ahead or does it leave you exhausted? If it’s the latter, a career in sales probably isn’t for you,” advises Lucy Tobin, Resourcing Business Partner at Great Annual Savings (GAS). “Sales roles require a lot of customer contact, be it over the telephone, via email or face-to-face depending on the exact role. If you aren’t a natural ‘people person’ this can be tough. However, if you do love spending your days talking to customers and developing relationships a career in sales could be extremely rewarding.”

2. Positive outlook

“If you are naturally a ‘glass half full,’ type of person you likely have the right attitude to succeed in a sales-driven environment,” recommends Natalie Carson, Resourcing Business Partner at GAS. “Realistically, not every lead you generate will result in a sale, and that can lead to disappointment for some. However, it’s important to maintain a positive outlook and not be deterred from giving it your all when faced with a bump in the road.”

3. Strategic mindset

“Gone are the days when achieving sales success simply meant being the busiest person in the office. These days competition is plentiful, and a successful salesperson needs to be a problem-solver backed up by data and facts,” advises Victoria Walton, Head of Resourcing at GAS.

“It’s important to take the time to really understand your industry and become a master of your craft. That way, customers will observe you as a source of information rather than ‘just another salesperson trying to earn their commission.’ This all helps with customer retention, often a KPI in commercial businesses.”

“Graduates often possess the skills which underpin success in a sales-driven environment, such as researching, organisation and the ability to interpret data and statistics. Our top-performing salespeople all have one thing in common; they plan their days meticulously and don’t leave accomplishments to chance.”

4. Be thoughtful

“The archaic view of salespeople as dishonest money-makers is long gone, and sales is now a respected profession, says Lucy. “This is largely due to the increased focus on building long-term customer relationships. An effective salesperson is required to have a high level of emotional intelligence and a keen understanding of human psychology. Understanding buyer motivations and purchasing behaviour can all equate to a top spot on the sales leader board.”

A 2018 study of 40,000 customers carried out by Chris Lytle identified the top seven things customers want a sales person to do;

  1. Learn about my business
  2. Quit bad-mouthing the competition
  3. Make appointments
  4. Listen better
  5. Follow up after the sale
  6. Treat me like I’ll be in business next month
  7. Treat me like a client and not a category of business

5. Have a plan

“A career in sales can be extremely rewarding, both financially and professionally”, reveals Natalie. “As all industries adopt an increasingly more commercial outlook, a sales strategy can underpin 99.99% of all activity. This means there is often the opportunity to work alongside internal departments such as marketing or planning and purchasing to maximise return. This in turn provides exposure and career opportunities.”

“At the risk of sounding like a cliché, the sky really is the limit for ambitious salespeople. With the right attitude, commitment and plenty of hard work there are lots of avenues to explore, and GAS is great place to start.”

If you’re now feeling inspired to apply for a new role, visit our vacancy page today!

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.