Sales people sit between traders and clients, taking orders and negotiating rates with clients on behalf of traders. Hours are very long, and those working in sales will spend a lot of this time on the phone to clients, with whom they will often develop strong relationships.
Work in sales doesn’t involve long-term projects: work begins when markets open (often around 6.30am) and ends when they close, with new projects every day.
The environment of the trading floor is high-octane, dynamic and very efficient. It can be stressful, but as one trader described to The Guardian: ‘there’s the feeling of being in touch with the world, feeling part of that world. All these screens with rolling news, the Bloomberg terminals where you see the markets move in real time … To be disconnected from all that … In a way that would be like unplugging from the Matrix.’
Co-operation is vital in this area and negotiating skills are a sales person’s most important tool. Tact and diplomacy are also essential in what can be quite a high-stress environment.
Whilst sales is less ‘techy’ than trading, people working in sales have to stay highly informed and read a lot in order to be able to explain and justify things to clients. A thick skin and assertive attitude are things that you will have to learn quickly if you don’t enter the role with them!
Sales used to have the reputation as an elite profession that was an ‘old boys’ network, but is now much more meritocratic. High performing graduates from a range of degrees can enter the profession here, providing they show the required knowledge of and interest in the financial markets.