Sales is a career that has always been surrounded by myths and untested recommendations since the dawn of time.
Here are 9 sales myths that you can call your sales manager on then they inevitably mention one of them.
1) Only people with the gift of the gab can sell
True many people who feel they have the gift of the gab fall into sales but this is because they’re told it would be a good career for them rather than there being any evidence that this helps.
The modern customer hasn’t got time for ramblings. They want succinct, value driven information or no contact at all.
2) Sales is a dead end career
What?! 85 percent of the company leaders and entrepreneurs in America today were once salespeople.
They cold called, built relationships, handled objections and closed big deals. Exactly what a CEO needs to be highly skilled at.
3) Sales is simply a numbers game
In Will’s interview with Matt Heinz he discussed why sales isn’t a numbers game.
It’s true that the more you put in the top end of your sales funnel the more you will get out of the other side but there is a whole lot of steps in between.
4) Sales targets are the only way to judge performance
Whilst in the end it’s the only metric that really matters, sales targets are often set and adjusted incorrectly (have you ever seen a target go down even when the business growth is projected to flatten?).
They’re a poor measurement of effort, activity and often bias towards both luck and market conditions.
Sales quotas show how much a salesperson should be selling, not what they’re capable of selling.
5) Sales is full of ups and downs
When Colleen Francis appeared on the Salesman Podcast she explained how it’s possible to even out the sales funnel and reduce the booms and busts that most sales teams face.
It’s as simple as putting process in place to make sure enough new leads are coming into the sales funnel (the bit salespeople hate) vs the amount of time that is spend closing those leads (the bit salespeople enjoy).
6) “Previous experience required”
I had to battle this one when I wanted to start working in medical devices. How the heck could I get the experience when you needed the experience to get your first medical sales role?
I got around this myth by networking and then showing a sales manager that I was capable of selling in any industry.
7) Inbound marketing means free leads
It was once thought that prospects would consume content, give marketing their email address and be fully qualified by the time you come to speak to them.
It was the dream
It was also nonsense. Inbound marketing educates (perhaps) but you still have to find your prospects, qualify and then close them to earn your commission cheque.
8) Anyone can sell
I truly believe that I could help someone completely new to sales do a better than average job. That is more down to the fact that most sales people really don’t care about their work (are not reading blogs like this) and have really bad habits.
However the top 5% of salespeople are something special. If they weren’t selling they’d be the top of whatever they were to be doing.
9) Top performing salespeople make great sales managers
I’ve seen this myth busted so many times. It goes like this –
- Salesman does well for 3 years in a row
- Starts to get tired of sucking up to customers and running around after them (the very things that made them successful)
- Society tells them they can’t stay in a position where they’re effective, they need to keep pushing forward
- They get a sales managers role
- They have no knowledge of how to manage people
- Their sales team hates them
- Less money hits their bank account each month but they can’t go back now, what would other people think?
- They work as a sales manager until they can take a sidestep into sales training, marketing or something else they are equally unqualified for
- I no longer see them again
Sales management needs a completely different skillset than direct sales.