Myths About Sales

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Breaking some beliefs around the very Art of Salesmanship.

ACTIONAs we round up 2013, perhaps some business owners will look back at it and say that you have had a good year and looking forward to bring on the next year with vigour. While some may look back at 2013 as a year of “what-if’s”. Whatever it may be, it is always good to round up the year by breaking some beliefs around the very art of salesmanship.

As more people are looking into entrepreneurship as means to escape employment and the ticket to their prosperity, many also have conceptions/misconceptions about what constitutes the perceived dark art of sales. Today we will look at 5 myths that have perpetuated sales for a very long time.

Myth #1: The Customer is Always Right

Since the customer is the one paying the bills, the sales professional should always defer to the customer, right. Wrong. Both the customer and the sales professional know that the customer is fully capable of making mistakes and being unreasonable. Customers frequently have very strange and silly ideas about what to do and what to buy. Customers can be unclear and even wrong about their needs; it’s therefore the job of the sales professional to figure out what’s needed. Pretending that the customer is always right is patronizing, like catering to the whims of a spoiled child. What if the customer wants to purchase something that will waste money or damage their business? Don’t you owe it to the customer to point out their error? Beyond that, if you always give in to the customer’s opinion, you are guaranteed a slew of demands from the customer who now know that your firm lacks a spine.

Myth #2: Great Products Sell Themselves

If you are currently planning your new range of products for next year and think that you have that PERFECT product so that it can sell itself, think again. Admittedly, an easy to buy, attractive product is easier to sell than one that is the polar opposite. However, there are many products or even services that are more complicated to buy than that. For example, in the catering business, putting together a package for an event is never as cut and dry as selecting dates and the menu. There is a whole lot of consideration that goes unnoticed by customers who may be misinformed or simply unaware. Look at it this way, if your product sold itself, then why even have salespeople anyway.

Myth #3. Everyone is a Potential Customer

Picture this, the heat and action of a sales bullpen, where every person there is inspired to call the next prospect to sell this product or that insurance coverage. Very rarely, do you have a product where EVERYONE is your potential customer. Even if you did, it would be much wiser to spread your resources in terms of how you approached them. No matter how “universal” or attractive your product seems to you, you have a limited amount of resources namely time and money. Once you start looking at your prospects from a pipeline perspective and begin realising that your role as entrepreneur is to place prospects and the start of your pipeline and it will take care of the rest, you will be better able to allocate resources and start being more targeted in your marketing. You do not bring a sledgehammer to chop down a tree, your bring a VERY sharp saw.

Myth #4: A Good Salesperson Can Sell Anything

Sales, just like any profession has some skills and traits that are common across all genres. They include negotiation, time management, intuitive, and the like. However, today’s selling scenario has become more specialized than in times past. This is particularly true in business-2-business transactions where the sales professional is expected to act as an outsourced representative working for the customer. The result of this is many salespeople are required to form a very close working relationship with the customer with a detailed understanding of the customers’ needs. Certain business owners still hold on to the concept of “universal salesmen” and award jobs and positions according to years of experience in sales that may not be relevant to the industry and expecting the salesman to perform miracles.

It is hoped that the revelation of these myths can help you get a better insight for 2013 if your challenge was indeed in sales. Happy New Year everyone!