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Myths about Sales People and Sales

July 20, 2011


The more I talk to people about sales, the more myths I find.  Recently I was engaged by two great business owners, who were told through sales assessments that they were not good sales people.  I was shocked.  Yes, there are definitely areas where they could improve.  However, they are very likeable people, listen well, and ask good questions.  On top of it, they are passionate about what they do.  Great attributes for sales people.  So here are a few of my pet peeves when it comes to myths.


Myth Number 1:  Selling is a Numbers Game? 


Yes, No, Maybe.  Sales are about people not numbers.   Let’s talk about quality not quantity.  If you do not have a clear value message, that’s targeted to the right market, and with some basic means of connection, it can be very frustrating for any sales force.   If you believe that contacting 50 prospects and getting 1 appointment is part of the job, have fun.  I admire your tenacity, and your persistence, and you will get business.  However, something is wrong with this picture, and you are working too hard for too little. So sales managers and sales people let’s not get too hung up on the numbers and focus on improving the messages and the quality of the calls.


Myth Number 2:  Cold Calling is dead


Cold calling is alive and well.  Through social media, the internet, and all the other tools available there is no need to make a totally cold call.  If possible, every call should have some type of connection.  Relying strictly on e-mails, networking, and referrals to get business is like watching water boil.  It is impossible for marketing to furnish a perfect lead everytime.  We must pick up the phones and call.  Yes, customers are getting barraged by callers, so make sure that your call is targeted, and purposeful.  Give a quick compelling statement on how you can save time, trouble, or money.


Myth Number 3:  You must have a relationship with someone before they buy.


I do not want to dismiss the importance of relationships for long term sales.  I can cite for you many B2B instances where I made big sales the first time I visited a prospect.  However, the company already was a known brand, there was good background research, and I knew how to ask the purposeful questions to get the sale.  We buy many things where we have no existing relationship.   With professional services such as healthcare providers, IT, and accounting there has to be a trust value.  Relationship and trust is more important when product sales are repeatable, and continuous customer service is required. The bigger the sale the more important the relationship of trust and reliability come into play.


Myth Number 4:  Knowing and having a Sales Process will have immediate effects. 


Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in a sales process.  However, sales people by nature do not follow rules, so it is hard to keep them on a disciplined track.  It’s comparable to a golf swing or hitting a baseball.  There are certain basics which must be adhered to, but everyone has a different style.  The sales process is only as good as your ability to improve, shorten, and modify it.  It is not the end, but the beginning in understanding and helping sales representatives be more effective.


Myth Number 5:  Asking as many Open Ended Questions as Possible will get Prospects Engaged.


Yes, and No.  Questions are vital and extremely important.  In fact, I think the shortest sales course in the world is “Ask Questions and Listen”.  However, the questions must be purposeful.   Asking questions that are too detailed early in the sales process can actually turn a prospect off.   Additionally, not waiting for an answer or not really considering can have a negative effect.


If there are other myths you would like to add, please visit my blog and make comments.  If you want to discuss a myth and how to overcome it, please do contact me.





2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 12:25 pm

    You can only start relationships with people you don’t know. Get started. Relationships definitely drive sales. Thanks for the link.

  2. August 24, 2011 1:05 pm

    Thanks Robert. I read your article on 100% success on Cold Calling. Well done. I do the same particularly for the Software companies from Mexico that I am helping enter the US market.

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