Separating truth from fiction is never easy, but it is particularly difficult when it comes to sales. Novels, movies, and TV shows regularly depict salespeople, and don’t always do so accurately. This has given rise to a number of myths about what salespeople are like and what one must do to sell successfully. Whether you are selling or managing those who sell, it’s important to see through common misconceptions, such as:
1. Sales Is About Pushing A Product.
Movies and tv shows often show salespeople pestering potential clients, pushing them to buy their products and refusing to take “no” for an answer. While these tactics may work on the big screen, they turn customers off in the real world. Rather than browbeating customers into buying, sales is about helping each customer solve a problem. Only by convincing consumers that they need your business as much as you need theirs can you earn their loyalty for the long haul.
To sell effectively, you first need to figure out what problems potential customers face. Say that you sell office supplies, and you discover that many local businesses want to cut costs. When selling to those businesses, you must explain how your products will help them achieve this goal. Perhaps they last longer than traditional office supplies, or maybe they’re cheaper upfront. Whatever specific selling point you use, if you offer a solution to consumers’ problems, they are more likely to become loyal, long-term customers.
2. Accomplished Sales Staff Don’t Need Training.
If you’re an experienced salesperson with a long list of clients, you may assume that there is no reason to take advantage of your company’s training programs. Likewise, managers often do not offer training to employees who have done a good job selling in the past. But no matter how accomplished a salesperson is, they cannot anticipate all the changes that are happening in the market. New digital marketing methods, communication technologies, and cultural trends all affect sales, and sales staff need to adapt to these changes if they are to do their jobs effectively. Only through training can they stay up to date and remain good at sales.
Related: Tales Of A Modern Day Entrepreneur
3. Sales Is A Gift.
Many people believe that sales is a natural talent, and if you aren’t born with it, you’ll never master it. In fact, virtually anyone can learn to sell if they are willing to step outside their comfort zones and expand their knowledge. If you’re new to sales, begin by learning all you can about the product that you are promoting. Then identify likely customers, their needs, and how your product can address those needs. Finally, start calling up customers and talking to them about how you can help them achieve their goals. Before long, you’ll know how to convince people to buy.
4. Sales And Management Are Mutually Exclusive.
Sales staff who advance to management positions often assume that they no longer need to take part in the selling process. In fact, the most effective managers remain highly involved in sales. Even if you don’t interact with customers directly, you should regularly communicate with your staff, asking them about their sales tactics and helping them overcome challenges that they face. Not only does this help your staff sell more effectively, but it makes it easier for you to coordinate sales with marketing and other related activities.
5. Salespeople Must Be Extroverts.
Because extroverts draw energy from interacting with others, many assume that they alone can be effective sales staff. But introverts can be just as effective at selling, and possess a number of advantages that extroverts don’t have. In particular, they tend to be better at listening, making it easier for them to understand clients’ needs in depth and speak directly to them.
Sales isn’t rocket science, but it does require strategic thinking and problem-solving skills. The better you are at avoiding misconceptions and understanding the true art of sales, the more effective you will be at selling, managing, and performing all other business activities.