4 sales myths busted once and for all
Sales jobs are becoming increasingly hard to sell. In an interesting article by Gigi Douban on Marketplace.org, she reports that It’s getting harder to sell sales jobs. Douban reports on the challenges of finding high quality sales people in several industries, technology being one of them.
As Douban researched her article she inadvertently exposed multiple myths about sales and selling as a career. Douban makes the point that where there are no sales, there is no revenue. 100% correct. Ask Grant Cardone, a NY Times Best Selling Author and sales expert, he’ll be the first to tell you that, “nothing happens until a sale is made.” And so it goes for the starter company, the entrepreneur or budding tech company.
Effective salespeople will always be the lifeblood of any company. They are a vital element in helping the company grow and sustain.
The myths became exposed as Douban interviewed several people in the field of sales in and around Birmingham, Alabama. Let’s take a look:
Sales Myth #1: Salespeople are born not made.
In the article, Douban quotes Beth Wolfe who is a recruiter for a software company who said, “We consider our sales and our tech roles right now to be our highest priority… Because, obviously, without those sales, we’re not going to stay afloat.”
She continued to observe that the challenge is, “You’ve got your sales people and your tech people. But finding that person who’s both? I mean, there are fantastic sales people out there who just have a hard time picking up on the tech.”
The implication is that a tech person can’t be taught to sell and that a “salesperson” can’t grasp the tech. Selling is a skill. Sure there are talented sales people out there but ultimately the ability to sell is a learned skill. If a “techie” can learn to write a computer program by following a series of steps that all have predicted outcomes, then a “techie” can learn to sell. It’s not magic and it’s not rocket science. It’s following a series of steps that lead to a specific outcome.
Every great salesperson had to work at becoming great. Every great athlete practiced and perfected their skills. Michael Jordan was not born Michael Jordan. In Grant’s book, Sell Or Be Sold, he observes that some of the best salespeople in the world aren’t even considered salespeople. They’re businessmen, politicians, ministers, advocates. Look at Steve Jobs, JFK, MLK and Gandhi. Some of the greatest salespeople in the world.
Sales Myth #2: Salespeople have to be pushy.
Douban with Brent Thomson, managing partner with Peak Sales Recruiting note that one of the concerns among people entering the job market with sales as an option, are concerned with being pushy and falling into a stereotypical salesperson role. If you saw a movie that you just absolutely loved would you encourage your friends and family to watch it? If your spouse developed a drinking problem or was struggling to stop smoking, would you help them through it? Would you apply pressure and push them to do the right thing? As a salesperson, if you have a product or service you believe solves a problem, helps people, brings them joy, why wouldn’t you push them to do it? Human beings were born pushy, adults train it away.
The problem with pushy is when pushy accompanies the stereotype, disingenuous “scam” or “snake oil.” Salespeople have three key problems, one of which is uncertainty. When you are 100% certain, you’ll push. There’s nothing wrong with “selling hard” as long as you, as Grant Cardone says in Sell Or Be Sold, meet two requirements. One, you believe with full certainty that you’re offer is the right thing for your client and two, you’re well trained. Helping someone make the right decision is an art form and “closing is like a recipe,” Cardone says. “There’s no way around it, you have to know what to say and it has to sound natural.”
Sales Myth #3: Sales jobs are too much pressure and not secure.
Consider who gets laid off during a recession. Not the salespeople. Salespeople are the lifeblood of an economy and a company. If you’re looking for security, developing your ability to sell, close and negotiate will secure you income for the rest of your life and afford you income levels that you thought were otherwise impossible. It will require hard work, determination and drive but name me one good thing that doesn’t require that. Pressure being perceived as bad is a huge challenge in this country.
What if Michael Dell decided to do customer service for Xerox instead of starting a computer company from his garage? Cardone observes, “Pressure is what makes diamonds!” Nobody grows without pressure. What do you want to be, coal or a diamond? More importantly when it comes time to cut costs in a company, they burn the coal and keep the diamonds. And regarding this whole “commission” thing, we’re all on commission. You’re with a company that stops generating revenue, you stop getting paid. Period.
Sales Myth #4: Sales jobs are revolving doors.
If you’ve ever thought sales isn’t for you, think again. Turnover in sales exists for one reason and that’s lack of skill. The average salesperson in America has never read one book on selling while most CEOs are reading 60 plus. What does that tell you? The only reason you won’t like sales, Grant says, is you don’t know what you’re doing.” Lack of training, practice, drilling, and rehearsing is the cause of the revolving door and you have full control over your skill set.
If you’re a sales manager, you must hire good people, require that they practice and train daily and push them to be great. Great sales managers are also leaders and coaches. A great coach does what? Recruits great players, gives them the tools they need to succeed and then pushes them to be great. Nothing great has ever happened to you in your comfort zone. Imagine if Jeff Bezos stayed in his comfort zone? He’s a salesman by the way…