“Sales is all about the money”
“The best salespeople talk a lot”
“You should always be closing”
You might have come across at least one of these myths as a salesperson.
From the effectiveness of cold calling to the trustworthiness of a salesperson, there’s a myriad of sales myths that are painfully outdated, yet still propagated widely. That’s why we’re going to explore seven common sales myths and discuss why they’re wrong.
Myth #1: Salespeople are born, not made
Fact: Sales skills can be acquired and don’t necessarily need to be innate.
When we say salespeople are born, not made, we’re looking over the millions of successful salespeople who don’t necessarily fit the mold of the typical salesperson. But what are the skills that a salesperson should ideally possess?
- Objection handling
- Rapport building
- Critical thinking
- Time management, and so on.
It’s highly unlikely for even the most successful salespeople to ace every single skill in the book. In fact, the best salespeople develop their skills with time and figure out a way to use their specific skill set to fit their sales process.
It’s pointless to argue that there aren’t specific personality types that you’re born with that can make you a great salesperson. Being naturally perceptive, friendly, and empathetic, for example, are sales skills that you can’t learn.
However, to say that it’s altogether impossible for somebody to gradually acquire sales skills or develop a sales personality with time is wrong.
Myth #2: Cold calling is dead
Fact: Cold calling is usually done wrong.
It’s no surprise that people believe cold calling is long dead. After all, the average success rate for cold calling is a measly 1-3%. So why not move on to other methods of prospecting?
The reason is that cold calls fail because they’re usually done wrong. Why, you ask?. An ideal cold call requires the following elements:
- Adequate information about the prospect
- A strong opener
- Thought-provoking questions
- Effective objection-handling
- A reasonable next step
- An overall valuable interaction
However, in reality, cold calls rarely fulfill the checklist.
For instance, 42% of sales reps feel that they do not have enough information before making a call. Moreover, successful cold calling requires a call duration of at least 7.5 minutes whereas the average cold call duration is around 80 seconds. Judging from the stats alone, it’s easy to see why cold calls fail.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to achieve 99% efficiency even if you play by all the rules. However, cold-calling your prospects the right way will definitely help you improve your results and restore your faith in it.
Myth #3: Sales involves lying
Fact: Sales involves building valuable relationships.
With only 3% of buyers willing to put their trust in salespeople, it’s safe to say that sales is one of the least trusted professions in the world. Salespeople are generally perceived as dishonest and untrustworthy by the vast majority.
This varies across different industries. For example, car salespeople are the least trusted, with just 1% of buyers willing to trust them. Misconceptions like these give an air of dishonesty and untrustworthiness to the profession on the whole.
In reality, sales is about creating and nurturing valuable relationships with prospects. Any good salesperson knows that to engage a prospect, they need to think like one. And the best way to make sales is to help with genuine intent, rather than lie.
Myth #4: You Should Never Take “No” for an Answer
Fact: You should know when to stop.
Tons of sales courses and training programs propagate the idea that you should never take “no” for an answer from your client. While it is true that prospects will say no several times before they say yes, any good salesperson knows that there’s a limit to persistence.
A salesperson could follow up until the glorious umpteenth call in which they finally get to hear their prospect say yes. In fact, studies have shown that 80% of prospects say yes anywhere from the fifth to twelfth contact.
But is it worth continuing to contact them after that point? Respect your time, energy, and efforts and make better use of them.
Myth #5: It’s completely your fault if you miss your quota
Fact: Salespeople are only partially in control of hitting their quota.
It’s easy to fall into the spiral of self-blame and question your abilities as a salesperson when you fail to achieve your quota. However, failing to hit the mark is not always your fault.
Salespeople are under the mercy of a variety of factors that could stand in their way. Be it the work culture, the product quality, marketing strategy, sales strategy, or management—failure and loss is a sum total of all these factors..
That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that missing your quota doesn’t necessarily reflect on your ability as a salesperson.
Myth #6: Sales is a numbers game
Fact: The number of calls you make doesn’t matter. The quality of your prospects does.
If you’re a salesperson, you might have come across at least one colleague who perceives sales as a numbers game. And it’s easy to see why so many salespeople believe so.
It seems obvious—the more prospects you call, the more sales you make, right? This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In reality, sales isn’t about prospecting in bulk. Wasting your time and energy trying to contact any and all prospects on your horizon is unlikely to get you far. The key lies in contacting and building relationships with the few prospects that matter. These are the prospects that are most likely to buy your product or service.
Why make 100 calls to 100 low-intent prospects when you could call 10 high-intent prospects and get better results?
Myth #7: Sales is a dead-end career
Fact: Sales can be an incredibly lucrative career if you have a plan.
Sales cannot die as a profession, nor can it be automated completely. The world needs salespeople and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However, it can be easy to feel stuck in this career as it’s difficult to envision its scope.
Fun fact – nearly 15% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 85% of all leaders and entrepreneurs in America started out their careers in sales. As a salesperson, you too can move up the ladder with the right plan in mind.
It all comes down to what you want from your job. It requires a certain level of patience, persistence, and skill to make it as a salesperson. Above all, you’ll need to love what you do—selling people products that fit their needs.
If you don’t love your job as a salesperson, you’re unlikely to bring in those deals, making it a dead-end career for you. The inverse happens when you take interest in your career and believe in yourself as a salesperson.
Salespeople undermine the power of ‘belief’- once they are one hundred percent convinced about the product, their pitch, and targets, no one can stop them from being ultra-successful in their sales career.
– Anupreet Singh, Senior Director, GTM
No More Misconceptions
Believing in sales myths can turn out to be a real hindrance between you and your target. You could end up blaming the wrong cause for the effect and end up choosing the wrong solution to correct it. Clear up the misconceptions and approach sales the right way to find yourself looking at a long and fulfilling career ahead of you.
If you enjoyed this blog, then you’ll definitely enjoy reading our other blog that debunks the extroverts make better salespeople myth.
So the next time somebody tells you things like “You should always be closing”, you can roll your eyes at them like a seasoned scholar tired of the rookie talk.