I got into sales immediately after college. Leaving the graduation stage with my music degree, my feelings of joy and accomplishment quickly turned to fear. What now? As an aspiring opera singer, you don’t just land the roles. It’s a long and expensive road to the stage: auditions, coachings, lessons, travel, and more. In order to pursue my operatic dreams, I needed a job. Why not sales? What I didn’t know at the time was that my first sales job would actually turn into an unexpected and fulfilling career.
My first sales role was as an inside sales team member at FOH, Inc. Eight years later, I’m now the Associate Director of Sales and Customer Service and the head of that very department. One of the best parts is that I still get to perform opera professionally. It’s made me realize that being an artist has actually enhanced my work as a leader in both sales and service.
In a recent interview, Leslie Hale, CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust and the first African-American woman to run a publicly traded real estate investment trust, said that “when you create an environment where people can bring their whole self, you can truly maximize the value of that talent.” It’s true. I am a better leader because of my artistic background, and a better artist because of my sales background. There are many parallels between being a fantastic salesperson and being in the arts. Here’s what I’ve found to be true in my career.