By: Aaron Prickel - Senior Associate, Lushin and Associates, Inc.
Bad sales people are out there, but so are misconceptions people may have about sales. Are these misconceptions hurting your sales numbers?
Misconception #1: Salespeople should convince prospects why they should buy.
In a recent trip to our children's pediatrician the Doctor asked what I did for a living. I replied with a quick "sales and sales management training." Without missing a beat he says to me "oh, so you teach people how to convince others to buy their product/service." I informed him how he couldn't be further from the truth and how doctors and sales professionals are very similar. If you go to a doctor with a problem do they convince you on why you need a medication/surgery or do they ask good questions and help diagnose the real problem then provide a remedy to your pain? Don't get me wrong, there are people who are out pushing a product/service but they are committing sales malpractice. A good salesperson should be like a good doctor and remember that script before diagnosis is malpractice.
Truth: You can't convince anyone of anything, they must discover it on their own.
Misconception #2: People would rather buy from a friend rather than a salesperson.
When you were growing up did you want to be in sales? I ask this question to every group I speak to and typically 99% of the people say NO! I then ask how they would describe sales people with the most common responses being: pushy, sleazy, liars, selfish. Growing up these were our perceptions and for those of us who are in sales now guess what we try so hard NOT to be? That pushy, sleazy, selfish liar!!! Here is the problem, instead of finding a middle ground we go to the complete opposite end and just give and give to prospects and they continue to take and take. Instead of being pushy, we allow people to take as much time as possible to "think things over" or we don't ask tough questions because we are afraid we will look pushy. We overeducate prospects thinking it helps build our credibility and gets them to ‘like' us and all it really does is allows them to take our ideas and go somewhere else. Prospects love unpaid consulting and salespeople find themselves in this trap because they are trying so hard not to be that person they remember from their childhood.
Truth: A true sales professional is assertive not aggressive. They set expectations that are comfortable for both parties involved to help get a decision (no or yes).
Misconception #3: As long as you have a good technique you will be successful.
Our young son is learning how to ride a bike with training wheels and we spent this winter practicing in the garage. I found myself focusing on his technique when he was riding (head up, feet moving forward etc etc). I noticed we were not making much progress after the first few times and then he said this powerful statement to me "I can't do it Daddy!"
It did not matter how well he knew the technique of riding a bike. He did not believe he could do it and therefore he was going to prove to himself he couldn't. I've seen this exact scenario in people who are in sales. I've spoke with many companies and individuals who learned various sales techniques to help them close more business yet it never helped them to the level they wanted it to. Why? Because they either didn't BELIEVE in themselves or the technique. It does not matter how good your technique is, if you don't have the attitude that you can succeed and what you do truly helps your prospects you will find your efforts coming up short.
Truth: You can have the best technique in the world, however if you don't have the positive attitude to support it you will not reach the level of success you deserve.
Eliminating these misconceptions from your beliefs is the first step towards being more successful in sales. Stop convincing people to buy from you and help them discover that they need your product and service. Stop being a friend first and a salesperson second, prospects buy from people who are like them not who they like. Finally, don't base your sales skills on technique alone, controlling your attitude is also crucial to your success. Being aware of the misconceptions surrounding your professional role is the first step, it's up to you change and implement the truth.
Senior Associate, Lushin & Associate Inc
After joining Lushin as a client, Aaron went on to gain early success in his sales career. He decided to use his accomplishments and Lushin training to help train other sales people and leaders of sales driven companies by becoming part of the Lushin staff. His proven success in sales and unmatched energy help Lushin clients to achieve maximum success in business and life.