Sales Myth #1 “Top performing salespeople are made not born.”
Actually the top one to five percent of any sales force possesses two unique qualities that are blended very well into the salesperson’s personality- ego drive and empathy. Ego drive is the self-motivation that a person intrinsically has to win and which stimulates them to pay whatever price they have to in order to achieve their personal goals. Empathy is the ability to be sensitive and understand other people’s needs, to think of the other person first (i.e. the customer).
Both of these characteristics cannot be taught but are usually embedded into an individual at a very young age, even before entering grade school. All the sales courses and books in the world cannot give a person these unique qualities, but they can certainly enhance these qualities (similar to sharpening a very good sword). The top performing salespeople are therefore born, not made.
Sales Myth #2 “Top performing salespeople are very strong closers.”
In some selling professions, such as door-to-door sales, the ability to close a sale on the spot is important. However, in the vast majority of selling positions, the consultative or relationship sale, is the key to the close. In other words, in order to close professional sales, the key is the solution/ problem approach versus a buildup to a dramatic close which is often perceived to be high pressure and often manipulative. The vast majority of buyers detest this style, and unfortunately some salespeople use this tactic, which gives our profession a bad name. High performance salespeople use a very methodical problem solving approach and “closing the sale” is just a conclusion to this entire process.
Sales Myth #3 “Product knowledge is what separates the mediocre salesperson from the outstanding salesperson.”
Product knowledge is extremely important in professional selling. But product knowledge is isolated information, which has really no value to anyone. Facts, data, and statistics about products or services do not create sales. However, what really is the key to most sales is the proper understanding of the problems of a prospect or a specific business. To understand a business problem is to properly analyze and then to provide solutions to the customer is the essence of professional sales. Product knowledge is only a small part of this process.
Sales Myth #4 “A career in sales is usually near the bottom in terms of status and income.”
Selling is the highest single paid career in the world. Furthermore, many CEO’s and other executives started in sales, which has always been one of the fastest tracks to upper management.
Sales Myths #5 “Women are only effective in certain types of sales positions.”
Actually, more and more companies are asking to interview women candidates as well as men in such fields as industrial equipment, chemicals, construction, etc. Success in sales has nothing to do with gender but everything to do with that person’s ability to reach well-defined goals within a certain time frame. You will see more and more women entering the selling profession as more awareness is created about this dynamic profession.
Sales Myth #6 “The most effective salespeople are more extroverted than introverted.”
Actually, high performance salespeople are quite analytical and the majority of studies indicated that the top salespeople lean more to the introverted side than the extroverted side. For example, in the strategic consultative sales process, a winning salesperson has to pick apart a complex problem to come up with a workable solution often in a very competitive environment. The emphasis here is on thinking and problem solving skills versus being a real socially inclined person. The art of selling is the art of problem solving.
Sales Myth #7 “Students graduating from colleges are generally informed about careers in sales.”
Actually, most recent college graduates have a very limited knowledge about the selling profession. Furthermore, we have found through our research, that the average college graduates often has a negative connotation of sales based upon experiences they have had with salespeople.
Two situations have caused this to happen. First of all, colleges and universities, with a few exceptions, do not even offer a degree in professional sales, which is rather surprising since approximately eight to ten percent of the workplace is employed in sales generating incomes well above the averages. Secondly, it is fairly obvious that these students have had more bad experiences with salespeople than good experiences, which has created a negative impression of sales in general. Much education is needed to teach about the wonderful benefits of sales as a true professional career.
Sensible investment in recruiting and developing real sales talent yields wonderful returns.