The sales profession is possibly one of the most closely associated with myths, fables, and legends. Of all kinds. Positive and negative. None of them is correct, obviously, but they all condition the tasks of inexperienced and experienced salespeople. The myths sales are even foundation of organizational policies and business strategies. They are not a guide only for individuals, but also for businesses and companies.
Here are 10 of the most widespread and “credible” myths out there. Each of them has, of course, the corresponding “deconstruction”.
1. In Sales, everything is related to talking, a lot.
- Selling is about listening. And to do it actively. Lori Richardson puts it well: “What sales are really about is having conversations with people to help them develop their companies or their lives. If you appreciate things like that, selling is an admirable task.”
- Selling is about getting the prospect to speak. That it manifests expectations and perceptions. The seller proposes, and the prospect provides. Therefore, getting him to speak is much more beneficial than keeping him as a passive listener.
- Selling is about understanding when the prospect talks.
- And it is also about understanding what the prospect does NOT talk about. Decoding silence is one of the most important skills a salesperson can develop.
- The best sellers “speak with their eyes.” This is the most effective way to build empathy and get things flowing in the interaction.
- A seller does not necessarily have to be an extrovert. In many ways, the shy person is the best seller.
2. Products or services are sold.
- It sells “that problem” that the product or service helps to solve. If it were to sell only products and services, the seller was not essential, because there are many ways to expose a product or service without human participation. The seller is indispensable when presenting problems, solutions and experiences in the commercial relationship.
- It is about showing the solution that the product or service provides for the exposed problem.
- The seller must highlight the Benefits that each attribute of the product or service will represent for the customer. The characteristics of products or services are not promoted, the benefits they provide depending on the exposed problem are highlighted.
- The seller positions himself as the solution to the exposed problem. And in this way, it departs entirely from the interpretation of the myth. Because the seller himself is a person, not a product or service.
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3. Sales professionals are born, not made.
- Sales is a performing art that is learned through structured and systematic training. And nobody is born with this developed process.
- Sales are 85% perseverance and 15% inspiration. There is no guarantee whatsoever for the “crib genius”.
- Sales professionals are made under the tutelage of great mentors and coaches. If the natural gifts are not activated and aligned with the needs and particularities of the system, they are useless.
4. Sales are better and faster, offering discounts.
- Refunds never make a customer happy enough to place an order. This logic is as limited as supposing that love is guaranteed only with a good kiss.
- Refunds cannot increase the competitive profile of an offer at the structural level.
- Discounts are given as a competitive tactic, not to increase sales. Discounts allow you to match or contain attacks from the competition. They are defensive mechanisms. Arranging them as elements to approach a prospectus weakens the offer.
- Discounts are not tools to close sales.
- It is possible to sell without giving discounts. It is the most beneficial in the short and long term.
- Customer relationships supported by discounts are fragile. And they are completely spoiled when the discount is not valid.
5. Selling is an art.
- Selling is a science. The art of selling sits on the cusp of that science, not the bottom.
- Sales are first a process and then a product of skills.
- Deals are based on the ability to master the science of creating a conversation with a potential customer about a product or service.
- Selling is empowering the customer to win a discussion that the seller is proposing. In this art is manifested.
- Sales consist of asking the right questions to the customer and then finding the right solutions.
6. Digital marketing will replace sales.
- Marketing, at best, can trigger the attention of prospects. But sales management will always be necessary to perfect operations.
- Sales are the function that perfects the business. Marketing is just a support activity. It is not marketing (digital or not) that directs the interests of sales. The Strategy is who does it.
- Sales roles and responsibilities will progressively accompany the technical transformations posed by digital marketing. In this way, sales will align technical resources with digital marketing. However, conceptually, sales will always take precedence over marketing activities.
7. Artificial Intelligence in Sales (AI) is only a “show” of little benefit.
- Artificial Intelligence is one of the most powerful tools that sales can count on.
- Customer purchasing behaviour is much better analyzed by doing Regression Analysis of historical data from former customers. In this, Artificial Intelligence is of incomparable help.
- Scientific data helps every seller to forecast customer demands.
- The interpretation of the behaviour of clients in Social Networks and related, regarding their products and services (Social Listening), provides incomparable feedback and new ideas.
8. Sales require a particular talent: «Lying».
- This is not about selling coolers to Eskimos. Sales skills are a requirement for life. All people sell something at all times: products, services, ideas, moods, projects, etc. Under this logic, “you don’t live on lies.”
- Sales require a talent called “active listening.” The lying seller is a bad example of a genuine seller.
- Sales from lies are bad sales. They generate a bad reputation over time and high barriers to entry for future contacts and relationships.
9. The job in Sales is the only one that does not have stability.
- Sales, like any other profession, work best when there are the right vocation and disposition. In this sense, there is no difference with other work or professional practices. In contrast, a positive sales career generates very promising prospects for professional development and personal success.
- All business owners fear losing professionals who perform well in sales. In general, they are concerned with keeping them on their side and prevent competitors from capitalizing on their virtues. This does not frequently happen in other professions.
- All people work in sales. One way or another. Therefore, assuming that it is a profession that lacks stability, mainly is an error of judgment. “The excellent seller is, in fact, a successful person. The successful man is indeed a good salesperson. “
10. Sellers who must work with Prospects negatively affect their professional image.
- Without prospects, future clients do not materialize.
- Every seller wants to expand their work horizons and their sales volumes. Without opportunities, this is not possible.
- Sellers build their image by selling more and better. And this does not happen, in any way, avoiding the work of prospecting new clients.
At the end of the story, the professional salesperson who is clear about what he thinks and does not feel particularly unfortunate that there is so much myth around him. That, ultimately, is part of a distinctive trait that few professions can expose. Being a seller is, in short, a privilege and honour that few know.