A myth is something that people believe, even if it’s not true. The bigger the story, the less likely it is to be based on truth and the more likely it is to develop into a myth. The profession of sales is similar. In this article, I’ll dispel the two top myths that many people, including some salespeople, believe about the job that are not true.
When dealerships bring us in to coach and train their people, we first help them understand that previously they may have been trying to hire a stereotype, not a real person. Management often imagines they want the smooth-talking, extremely engaging laughing-out-loud schmoozer who can “sell ice to an Eskimo,” as they crudely say. We, instead, teach that it is more important to teach salesmanship than to try to hire the stereotype.
Aside from perpetuating the sales stereotype by continuing to hire the huckster or solely depending on the salesperson’s personality rather than examining their KPIs, it leads to much guesswork and makes forecasting unnecessarily difficult, if not impossible.
It is more important to teach salesmanship than to try to hire the stereotype.
The First Myth
Some People Are Born Salespeople
Some people have developed a “gift of gab.” Some people appear to have the ability to persuade that others may lack. But, I assure you, nobody is born to work in sales. Being chatty and persuasive, these attributes may at first appear to be mandatory God-given attributes of the best salesmen, but they’re not. First, neither is required to be a top-caliber salesperson and may harm your sales career more than benefit it. Secondly, there is a lot more to salesmanship than being able to talk someone’s ear off until they relent and buy something from you.
It’s that more that I want to concentrate on.
Anyone (including you) can be a top-performing salesperson with the proper training.
Sales is a science. Just as researchers use a scientific process to make hypotheses and test theories, the same is true about sales and salesmanship.
We continue to examine those processes in these articles and in our training.
The truth is; Sales is deliberate, scientific, and repeatable. It’s not an unattainable, unquantifiable talent reserved only for those who, by some miracle, were born with unique skills. You can be, and in fact, already are, a salesperson. You still need to uncover how to apply it.
The Second Myth
A Job As A Salesperson Is Not Honorable.
Opinions about sales as a career have changed over the years. Depending on which era of history you choose to explore, a professional salesperson was held in either high regard or, as a huckster, a charlatan.
It isn’t hard to imagine a dishonest or smarmy salesperson. I picture a carnival barker selling snake oil, a traveling salesman going door to door hocking low-quality cleaning supplies to unsuspecting homemakers, or a used car salesman wearing white patten leather shoes and a plaid sport coat.
It might, however, be more difficult to visualize these professions as salespeople:
- Loan Officer
- Financial Services Advisor
- Insurance Agent
- Travel Agent
- Business Owner
And dozens of other commission-based employees and independent contractors who earn their living only if you buy something from them.
Then, there’s the more significant, broader idea of a salesperson:
Everyone is a salesperson.
In his book Secrets Of Closing The Sale, the legendary author, motivational speaker, and salesperson Zig Ziglar insists that everyone sells to some degree. He tells the story of visiting his dentist and how, from the moment he entered the office to when he left, everyone was enthusiastic and encouraged him to maintain good dental hygiene by flossing and caring for his teeth.
The staff used phrases and words that were easier to swallow, so to speak, and made the experience more comfortable.
- Rather than filling his cavity, they restored his tooth.
- They had a change in the schedule, not a cancellation.
- He was in their reception room, not the waiting room.
- The cashier asked how he would take care of his bill, not pay for it.
Given a choice, wouldn’t you prefer to have your tooth restored than to have them grind it?
He left the office with the strong feeling that everyone there had a genuine interest in him returning as a patient and, most importantly, keeping his teeth.
Zig’s dentist (and likely yours) is a salesperson.
The customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe.
As I often say. The customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe. That’s what everyone who worked for Zig’s dentist did. And it’s important to realize that they did it very deliberately, with carefully chosen words and phrases. I highly doubt that the receptionist was hired because she was a natural-born salesperson. No, she was carefully taught how to sell by people who understood that people were there to buy dentistry and needed help believing that this was the right place to buy it.