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Two Common Sales Myths Explained

As with any profession, several myths prevail when it comes to public perceptions of what sales is all about.  Needless to say, most of these myths are just that – misperceptions and personal biases with no founding in reality. 

When it comes to sales, some members of society attach some fairly negative connotations to sales people.  These negative perceptions are neither fair nor accurate.  Contrary to some popular myths, sales is a profession that requires considerable skill, restraint and integrity.

Many people do not have the best views and perceptions of sales careers.  This is usually due to a few myths that have perpetuated over the years about sales people:

Myth # 1 – Sales People are Born, Not Made

You may have heard the expression “he’s (or she's) a born sales person”.  However, even though this term is often used to describe a very successful sales person, it is not true that someone is a born sales person.  Selling is a learned skill just like many other skills, whether it be sports, carpentry, dentistry or any other profession.  Any one person might have some of the attributes of a good sales person (for example, being a great communicator) but it takes training and practice to become successful.

There is no one personality type that is better suited to a sales career. Customers simply want to purchase products and services from someone they can trust and who can demonstrate the ability to take care of their needs and problems. 

Myth # 2 - Sales People are Pushy

Professional selling does not involve being pushy or forcing customers into buying things that they do not want.  Selling involves the art of communicating effectively with people. 

Successful salespeople ask questions and focus on the problem or opportunity at hand.  They take on an advisory role with the customer to collaboratively resolve the need or problem.  In professional sales there is no room for the ‘hard sell’ or any other manipulative selling techniques.

For example, in the area of IT training, a sales person will not necessarily need to convince a customer that they need training.  Instead, the customer usually has already made up their mind that they need training or have an IT project coming up which requires certain skills.  In this situation, it is the role of the sales person to advise them on what training will help them to complete that project properly. 

To do this, a salesperson might ask any of the following questions:

  • What skill level is required to undertake your IT project?
  • What technology will be needed to support the project?
  • What experience do your staff have with that technology?
  • What budget have you set aside for the IT training?
  • What training solutions have you already considered?

Clearly then, it is a sales person’s task is to ask questions so as to identify & clarify the problem at hand, and to present their product, service or solution in such a way as to address the client’s need or problem. 

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