The art of selling is wroth with sales myths and improper practices for good reason – the truths of sales have been passed from one salesperson to the next without formal written documentation and over time, poor communication and unprofessional application have led to corruption and distortion of principles and skills.
Sales training is a seven billion dollar per year industry. However, the majority of salespeople don’t avail themselves of the learning opportunities and if they do, they don’t know how to properly apply the knowledge they have learned. Here is a list of some of my favorite sales myths, countered by a handful of the most profound sales truths.
- Myth #1: The harder I work, the more I will sell. Sounds plausible, but it just isn’t true. Hard work is an element of success in any endeavor, however, hard work alone, without the knowledge and application of correct sales skills and principles will only make you tired. Learning and applying correct sales principles and skills combined with consistent effort is paramount for sales success.
- Myth #2: The best salespeople were just born that way. There is nothing genetic about the ability to sell well. Bill Porter, one of the top salespeople for the Watkins Company, was born with cerebral palsy affecting his hands, his walk, his speech and his overall physical appearance. Outwardly, he was predisposed not to be a salesperson. His attitude and ardent desire, combined with the application of correct selling skills, made him successful.
- Myth #3: Successful salespeople are lucky enough to have the best territories. Simply not true. The sales territory is what you make of it. Referring again to Bill Porter, he was initially refused a sales position with Watkins Company. Bill persuaded the sales manager to give him the worst territory. If he didn’t make any sales he had nothing to lose because no sales were being made in the territory anyway. He turned it into the top sales territory in the company.
- Myth #4: The best salespeople can sell ice to Eskimos. They probably can, but they won’t. The best salespeople will not sell anyone anything they don’t need. The best salespeople discover problems, or needs, and then present their products or services as a solution to those specific needs. Remember, people don’t want to be sold; they want to buy the solutions to their needs and problems.
- Myth #5: Salespeople are unethical and not to be trusted. Admittedly some salespeople have taken the lower road and continue to perpetuate that perception. However, the majority of salespeople are honest and have a sincere desire to help their customers and prospects. The very best salespeople have developed an atmosphere of trust with their customers and work in partnership with them to promote their success. You have reached the pinnacle of sales success when you have become a partner with your customers. They depend on you for their success and you are successful as a result.