Sales Myths & Misconceptions

iStock_000005487201_SmallInnately, many of us are born with attributes that are often tied to sales. Consider how children, even at a young age, will try to persuade their parents into buying them a toy or ice cream.  Or maybe you have done your part in trying to convince your friends to go to one bar over another. As Barton’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Jon Retchin recalled, “My son was using sales just this past weekend to try to convince me to buy him Pokémon cards. He went through every reason he could think of as to why I should do it.” Sales is used constantly in everyday life, and can take on many different forms. Many people lose some of these sales instincts as they get older, but some will use them and put it towards developing their career.

There are many myths around what sales actually is and what makes a successful salesperson. When people hear that someone is a sales person, a common misconception is that they embody the stereotypical “sleazy car salesman” persona. People assume that the enthusiasm that often accompanies a sales person is the reason they are successful. It is not the enthusiasm however, but the passion that makes a successful sales person, and the honesty that defines him or her.  Honesty forms trust, and trust is the cornerstone of building any successful sales relationship. Here are some common myths and misconceptions people have surrounding sales and salespeople.

Myth: All salespeople are trying to close the deal right away!

While hard sales tends to focus on closing the deal immediately, soft sales usually encompasses a combination of marketing, information generation, and partnering with your customer to find a proper solution to suit that customer’s needs. Soft sales are based on relationship building and understanding that not every decision will be made then and there, but that future decisions can be just as important.

Myth: Sales is purely a numbers game and relationships don’t matter

While sales is technically a numbers game, it is also a quality numbers game. It is often assumed that the sales person with the highest numbers is the most successful, but that is not always true. Successful salespeople tend to spend more time identifying and building relationships with prospects that will likely pay them the highest dividends. Putting the focus on the most qualified prospects will increase the chance of a sale because they most closely fit the mold of an ideal prospect.  A good salesperson that is personable tends to build strong relationships with key customers; a sales call or update can be more like a conversation with a friend.

Myth: All salespeople use “salesy” words and phrases

While one must be knowledgeable with regards to the products or services he or she is selling, a sales person does not need to use large, overly descriptive or persuasive diction to close a sale.   The best sales people are typically excellent listeners!  Yes, strong verbal communication skills are a powerful ingredient in sales success, but the ability to ask open-ended questions and actively listen to a customer and come up with solutions that meet their needs trumps all!

Myth: A career in sales cannot lead to any other opportunities

Many successful sales people will begin their career in sales, and then grow their careers to various other opportunities using the skills sales taught them. Behind finance, sales is the second most common early experience of today’s CEO,  making up about 20% of the top corporation’s CEO population, according to Forbes.

While there are many myths involving sales and what makes a salesperson successful, it is important to know that sales, like any profession, is what you make of it. Sales spans through all different industries and can take many forms. Whether you want to sell cars, recruit professionals to work on site for a client, or just want a good place to start your career, sales may be the perfect opportunity for you!

By Casee Laznick
Casee Laznick Talent Acquisition & Social Media Specialist