Sales Misconceptions

Whenever I mention the word sales, typically people mention the following . . .

Big talker. Contrary to popular belief, a big talker will not be successful in sales. As a matter of fact, someone who is shy and introverted has a much better chance at success. Why? Because the essence of sales is to understand the wants and needs of a prospect and the only way to achieve that goal is to ask questions and listen. The Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule best describes the sales process. Believe it or not, the customer should do 80% of the talking while the salesperson does 20%. If someone talks too much, they will miss the opportunity of getting to know the prospect and being able to develop a product or service that suits their needs. My favourite expression is ” you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion”

Dishonest. It surprises me to this day that the general public assumes that salespeople are dishonest. Integrity is the foundation of successful sales. When I worked at the CHUM Group, all new sales people were given the Integrity Selling course developed by Ron Willingham. And I use that course with all new salespeople at Radio Marketing Solutions. Professional salespeople are honest. It’s as simple as that. When I am interviewing potential sales people, I ask them ” would you lie to make a sale ” and if the answer is yes, they will never get the job.

Natural born salesperson. You’ve heard people say, ” oh, he or she is a natural born salesperson ” False. You must learn the art of sales and be able to establish rapport with prospects. Sales is learned through experience, through study and through psychology. My degree in Psychology from McGill has been very helpful in my sales career. Oddly enough, there are no university courses that enable you to earn a degree in sales.

Pushy or aggressive. The best salespeople are the opposite; I am not saying that we do not have to be assertive and use a sense of urgency when closing a contract, but there is a balance between that and being aggressive and over the top. You can’t assume that a customer wants what you have to offer unless you have taken the time to understand their business and if you are able to help them grow. In our business, we walk away from potential business if we don’t feel that we can service the customer or achieve his or her goals.

So do we want to hire experienced salespeople? The answer may surprise you. No. I would prefer to hire someone who is either just out of school or comes from another profession. The experienced salespeople tend to have baggage that hampers their ability to achieve whereas new people come in with a fresh mindset. Remember, sales is not about techniques and experience, rather a positive mental attitude, energy and enthusiasm and a solid work ethic.

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