10 Myths About Sales (Myths 1 and 2)
Updated: Jul 31, 2018
Over the next several weeks, I am going to debunk some of the greatest myths related to sales. We’ll talk about some of the beliefs and ideas that are simply not true, including old or outdated techniques that just don’t work anymore.
Myth #1: Good Salespeople Are Born, Not Made
While I agree that certain people are more natural salespeople, I also believe with the right mindset and processes in place, anyone can be a good salesperson.
Let’s start with looking at traits of naturally good salespeople. In general, natural salespeople tend to have a few traits that usually stand out from the rest: Curiosity, Confidence, and Competitiveness.
Curiosity: They will ask questions before they make statements due to natural curiosity. Follow up questions are the norm. Getting to the root of an issue to supply a solution is fun for these folks.
Confidence: To endure the inherent rejection that comes with sales, the natural sales person exhibits unusually high confidence. They believe in their ability to assess a situation and choose the right path for the client. Every client will not share the same vision and won’t always buy, and when that happens, the born sales person believes the client is making a mistake versus taking the rejection personally. Bouncing back is key.
Competitiveness: A highly competitive nature is usually part of a natural salesperson. Everything is a contest. They strive to know how they can outdo their competition, possibly even their teammates and their own own past performances. This is a large part of what drives them.
Like I said though, given the right set of circumstances, training and motivation, someone with fewer of these inherent traits can still be a great salesperson.
The key: Figure out what their sales ‘style’ is and create a system that takes advantage of those strengths and ‘shores up’ the less prominent traits.
Example: If you have a salesperson that is extremely knowledgeable about their product, but less curious, or not as inclined to ask questions, give them a checklist of questions to use during their conversations with prospects to help guide them and get them interested. This will help them in the process of assessing needs before they dive into all the features and benefits. With proper training and support tools in place, as long as they WANT to be a good salesperson, almost anyone can be successful. Effort, as with any job, is the big differentiator.
Myth #2: Buyers Are Liars
Well, this is certainly not the most positive way to view the people who help pay our salary and keep our businesses open, now is it?
Most often, this relates to pricing; a prospect might tell you a lower price than their true budget, in an effort to set up a favorable position for negotiations later. While that may be a true situation, technically, they aren’t lying. If it is lower than their budget, it’s still in their price range. And frankly, all of us probably do this when we’re the buyer as well. We’re all just trying to make sure we get the best deal possible.
The job of a good salesperson is to then work with that budget to decide whether it makes sense to sell their product or service at that number. If yes, make the sale. If not, double-check that the information is true and then help them get to the price that makes sense by removing features, or direct them to a different solution for their service. It has to make sense for both of you.
You may not always get the sale, but if you give them a positive and helpful experience, and you’ve clearly had them see the value of the solution you’re selling, price becomes less of an issue. They could be flexible on their budget, or at worst become a good source of referrals in the future because you were honest with them. If you have the mindset that buyers are liars, it puts you on the defense, which doesn’t allow for a positive experience for you or your potential client. As Gandhi said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Approach a prospect with honesty and forthrightness and many times, you will receive the same in return and any ‘game-playing’ will be left to the amateurs.
Sales is an amazingly rewarding profession
Wrapping up these two myths, I’ll say this. Sales is an amazingly rewarding profession if you allow it to be. You are truly the ‘rainmaker’ that brings the solutions to your clients. Whether it is a quality roof over their head, a service that saves them money and time, or simply some kind of “widget” that provides them enjoyment; you affect people. You help them uncover needs they may not have even known they had, you provide good information and counsel so that they can make the decision that is in their best interest, and then you shepherd them through the buying process, keeping them safe from all the wolves and other hazards along the journey. If you are a ‘born’ sales person, use your power wisely. If you aren’t, believe it doesn’t really matter. If you genuinely love helping people and want to make a difference, you will be great. Study, practice and repeat. Happy Selling! See you next time for myths 3 and 4 in our series.