10 Myths of Sales (Myths 5 and 6)
As we continue to explore some of my favorite myths of sales, my hope is that we can slowly change some of them. Some are old logic, some are semi-comical, and all of them are bunk. Check out myths 1 and 2 here, and myths 3 and 4 here if you missed them. Let’s continue with 5 and 6.
Myth #5 Buyers Don’t Know What They Want
I’ve mostly heard this from salespeople I would consider “pushy”, that are of the opinion that as a population, their customers aren’t bright enough to know what they want or need. In my opinion, this is more about the sale person wanting to puff up his or her ego and seem way more important than they are. It may be true that your buyers don’t know exactly what they want, but assuming they’re clueless doesn’t bode well for a positive experience for your customer, nor for you, really. How much fun is it to have to “push” someone to buy your product? And today, studies show that 85% of the buying decision has been made prior to speaking to a live human being. So, knowing that, how clueless are buyers today?
As a sales person, our job is to help uncover our prospects true needs. It’s to “empower” them in their buying decision. Our customers know what they need, they just may not be able to verbalize it, and that’s where you come in. If you ask the right questions, the answers you get will help clarify their needs. If you’re busy assuming you know best, you will provide your perception of their needs.
Which one is the real set of needs?
Slow down, ask questions, listen more, take notes, and be sure you are analyzing your product or service based on their true needs. It will make your life easier, your sales happen more often, and your customers happier.
Myth #6 Fake It ‘til You Make It
As with most myths, I agree with the base principle of this myth. Take a risk and put yourself out there, absolutely. However, often times this gets morphed into going out ill-prepared and winging it without proper training. Yikes. One of my mentors, Jim Rado, said something to me when I first broke into the homebuilding world that stuck with me. We were discussing why I should come to work for him instead of the other offers I had. The other companies were going to put me into ‘live action’ much more quickly so I could be making more money sooner and progressing faster.
What he said was life-changing. He said, “I don’t want you practicing on my customers.” WOW. If that wasn’t clear.
He wanted me to learn their processes and systems and be fairly proficient at my job before I was allowed to build anyone a home. The other companies were going to throw me out there and let me figure it out.
I took the job with Jim. It was less money and a slower training schedule, but it made sense to me. Those words have stuck with me to this day. Do you really want your new employees “practicing” on your clients? At some point, yes they will have to get out there and make things happen. But doesn’t it make sense to put them through some training versus just winging it?
As Sir Richard Branson says, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Teach your salespeople to see the value of questions and train them how to ask them. Don’t send them out into the world ill-prepared, with a bunch of half learned information and perceptions and no idea how to use it. Don’t force them to fake it. Make sure they have the foundation in order to build confidence in themselves that many new sales people need.