Sales is one of the world’s oldest professions. As such, it’s laden with traditions, stereotypes, rituals and even myths. Sales myths — long-held beliefs about the right and wrong ways to sell — can be detrimental to your success as a salesperson. Here we review five common sales myths that might be wrecking your game and keeping you from reaching, and exceeding, your quotas.
Myth: A Lost Sale is Your Fault
No, not always. Lost sales are often the reality of another sales myth – “a good salesperson can sell anyone anything.” They can’t. A prospect may decide, in the end, that your service isn’t right for them. Maybe their budget was cut. Or perhaps they already had someone else in mind.
How to learn from this sales myth: don’t waste too much time feeling badly about it. Analyze the likely reasons for the lost deal, make notes and move on.
Myth: Make Lots of Calls, See Lots of Results
Classic sales advice dictated that salespeople should strive to make a specific, usually high number of calls each and every day if they want to see success. But quantity is never a sure producer of quality. Lots of calls will get you lots of voicemail recordings, some shrug-offs and one or two quality leads.
How to learn from this sales myth: Refocus your energy. Instead of striving to make eight calls every day, strive to make the three you feel good about and spend the rest of your time qualifying strong, new leads and strengthening relationships with new and existing clients.
Myth: Salespeople Are Outgoing Smooth Talkers
Many talented, successful salespeople fit this stereotypical characterization, but not all do. And it’s not a good thing when people try to fake these qualities. Like in any profession focused on human interactions, sincerity, approachability and friendliness are hugely important to sales. Clients want to feel like they’re not being duped — something that schmooziness often leads to.
How to learn from this sales myth: stop trying to live up to sales stereotypes. Focus instead on strengthening your communication skills and projecting warmth and sincerity.
Myth: Being Relentless is the Only Way to Close a Deal
It is, of course, important not to let the trail go cold. But chasing too hard serves only to annoy your prospect or worse, may make them feel bullied. Sales techniques focused on exerting high pressure feel old school, and too aggressive.
How to learn from this sales myth: focus on meaningful, well-timed follow-ups. More contemporary sales techniques encourage salespeople to do more listening than talking, establishing trust and a sense of understanding.
Myth: Your Product or Service is Absolutely the Best for the Prospect
If your leads are qualified ones, then it’s probably safe to assume that what you’re selling to them truly is a strong fit. It may not be though, and a good sales person seeks to figure that out by asking the right questions and listening, sincerely, to the answers. Even if the prospect seems willing, you should never try to force the deal if your instinct is that your solution and your lead aren’t well-matched. You might hit your quota, but the relationship won’t truly be beneficial for the client or your company.
How to learn from this sales myth: remember that part of your job is discovery — figuring out whether it makes sense for both you and the prospect to move forward.