This week, let’s bust some common sales myths!
We know that recruiting committed and enthusiastic salespeople is one of the biggest challenges you face as your company grows. Why you ask? A big factor is that too many people are turned off by a career in sales by the stereotypes they see. We’re talking about sales peoples that appear dishonest or unethical. And because of that, society tends to look down on those in sales or service roles.
Having worked in retail stores, recruited and trained and been around sales teams for over 10 years - I want to bust some of the myths surrounding sales as a career path and encourage more individuals to see sales as an option for them. Sales and account management (or at least working with these teams) is a skill that is needed in required in most jobs.
I believe there are three major myths that are keeping talented people away from your store.
Myth #1: Sales is about talking at people all the time
Okay. I understand. You have a new broadband provider. They come over to your house, talk your ear off for over an hour. They don’t really listen to your needs and you feel as though they’re pushing you into a solution you don’t really need or want - just to hit their targets.
Talking at people is not the right way to sell, because it’s not the way people like to buy. We don’t like people, who we don’t know, telling us that any old product or service is going to “change our lives”
When selling is done properly, it should be about helping people make good buying decisions. Through asking good questions and understanding the prospective customers needs by listening - not talking at them.
A true gold-star seller is someone that has the gift of the gab, but also has empathy and can actively listen. Helping to build trust and loyalty for the brand they represent.
"Talking at people is not the right way to sell, because it’s not the way people like to buy."
Myth #2: Nobody likes being sold to because everybody hates salespeople
Hey! Let’s not get it twisted. We actually do like being sold to but we don’t like it if we’re sold to in the way described above.
Salespeople shouldn’t lecture a customer or be over-confident. We, as a customer, need to trust the person that is selling to us. If the salesperson is professional, knowledgeable, genuinely likable and trustworthy - we are happy to be sold to. The key is to ensure whatever item or service that’s being promoted, genuinely fits my needs and solves my problem.
A good salesperson makes buyers feel the way a good doctor does. They take the time to get to know you, understand your symptoms/problem and show empathy, building trust, before finding the right solution.
When helped and reassured through a salesperson's knowledge and credibility, people are thankful for their expertise in enabling them to make the right decision. That’s why people really do want to be sold to.
Developing the skills and techniques to execute this kind of consultative sell is not something that just happens. It's important to invest in high quality retail sales training to help your team members and unlock their potential. It's also important that your team know your product inside and out, allowing them to answer questions and make the best recommendations. Think about what product knowledge training you could develop.
Myth #3: Sales is a low-level job with no career prospects
Where did Reed Hastings start his career and what gave him valuable skills to go on to create the juggernaut Netflix, now heading the company as CEO? Sales. Reed was a door-to-door salesman, selling vacuums. He even declined an offer at a renowned university to continue selling. He claims he “loved it.”
This just goes to show that for almost any job out there, some form of sales skills are required. Some of the biggest, meatiest business roles require a background in sales - a true launch pad for a successful business career.
With Reed having to find and engage with an audience from a range of backgrounds, it has helped him lead a company that has changed the way we watch shows and movies - through relevant and compelling business conversations. That’s business. That’s sales.
And just to put this in perspective, he specialised in mathematics during high school - not business or public speaking.
There are countless examples to prove that sales is no low-level job with limited career development opportunities. On the contrary, it’s the foundation of all business and one of the best places to start a business or management career. Whether it be in retail or another industry, altogether.
This particular myth is damaging the quality of applicants and making too many think sales is not for them.
We need to make more people aware of the strengths and growth opportunities, to get the best quality of sales talent in the recruitment pool.