The salesperson is a mysterious creature that is often misunderstood. The salesperson is generally thought of as outgoing, relentless, scheming, and more. The truth is that salespeople aren’t always outgoing sharks swimming in for the client-kill, but rather knowledgeable and insightful types that are genuinely trying to connect their business with their customers. At the end of the day, much of the stigma surrounding salespeople still exists, so now’s the time to clear the air.
Here are 10 assumptions about salespeople that aren’t true (as in completely false, totally bunk, and definitively incorrect).
1. We’re Soooo Outgoing…
The first assumption on the list is arguably the most oft-heard, yet not the most egregious, of assumptions about salespeople—that all salespeople are outgoing. This drives actual salespeople crazy with frustration. We’re not all Gordon Geckos out there in the sales force. Some of us are not the alpha-type. We don’t take command of a room the way the myth would have you think. Introverts make great salespeople too! This stereotype that all-salespeople-are-outgoing needs to go away. Besides, the softer sales approach is one that is more in line with this century’s ideals.
2. We’re Swimming in Money
While it’s flattering to think that other people who aren’t in sales believe that salespeople make tons and tons of money, it is literally laughable. Sales is a rigourous profession and not for the faint-of-heart. Many times it can be feast-or-famine, and the instability can be more stress than some can manage. Even though some of us do well, we’re not moving up any tax brackets any time soon.
3. Sales Jobs Are Great… For LIARS!
This one really irks the sales herd. Granted over the many centuries of commerce, there have been a great deal of liars posing as salespeople looking to hoodwink the unsuspecting customer. A true sales professional has no need to lie, because they know their product or service so well, their customers are captivated and engaged. There doesn’t need to be a sleight-of-hand or anything else in the ways of deception. Customers appreciate a genuine sales pro that won’t lie to them.
4. Salespeople Are Expendable
Nobody likes to be thought of as expendable, but unfortunately too many people feel that salespeople are expendable. When times are lean, the sales team is the first to feel the brunt of it. Salespeople are valuable commodities to any business, because without the right team of salespeople, who’s going to be the face of your business? Who’s going to inform your customers? Evangelize for your product or service? Go the extra mile for the client to make him or her happy? Or willing to (typically) work on a commission basis? That’s a tall order, but good salespeople fill it every time.
5. Manipulation is the Name of the Game
Another one of the biggest misconceptions about salespeople is that we are manipulative power mongers. This assertion makes salespeople ROFL until the afternoon mail comes in. While manipulative personalities have historically done well in sales, this is not the stick the rest of us should be measured by. Manipulation is a psychopathic tendency, so many salespeople practice honing their influence. Having a strong influence enhances your selling power, and many of today’s best new salespeople understand this.
6. Oh, Anyone Can Work In Sales (Says Those Not In Sales)
This is a favorite among the hardened veteran sales force. They are the ones who have collectively seen it all. They’ve dealt with every sales situation and survived the trenches to impart their war stories to the newbies thirsty for get-rich-quick bits of wisdom. They scoff at the notion that anyone can work in sales. The salesperson must develop a thick skin and an unwavering determination. Sales will break a lesser person, and salespeople need those not on the front lines to understand that our valuable skills are not easily had by just anyone.
7. Salespeople Are Always Yelling
A good number of people believe that all salespeople are loud, bombastic, and in-your-face. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, there are some whose aggressive sales approach works, despite it becoming more and more a turn-off to clients these days. Successful salespeople are courteous and respectful of their customers. We’re conscientious of, and are even able to anticipate, our customers’ needs. We have the answers to all our customers’ questions, and if we don’t have them, we always find out. Good salespeople don’t take control of the conversation, they help guide the conversation at the customer’s pace, and you keep quiet and let the customer do the talking.
8. We Thrive On Chaos
There are those personalities that can thrive on chaos and be completely disorganized (ever see Einstein’s desk?), but the assumption that salespeople are disorganized and thrive on chaos is ridiculous. It takes a lot of organization to maintain customer databases, follow up with clients, prospect new leads, meet with other departments, and more. As chaotic as the sales environment can be, the best salespeople are super organized, like Heidi Brown, who uses Spiro’s AI-Powered CRM to keep her on top of all her deals.
9. Salespeople = Sales Guys
Back in the twentieth century, the sales force may have consisted of men (or mostly men), but the ladies are here to say that if you assume that this is a world full of sales-men, you’d be dead wrong. See, women made up 61.2% of the sales and office workforce as of 2017, and are only poised to grow over the next few years.
10. We’re So Traitorous We Could Be on ‘Game on Thrones’
There’s the assumption that salespeople aren’t loyal to employers. There are a millions reasons as to why salespeople leave a company. Sometimes it is because they are let go, then their former employer complains they can’t find any good salespeople. Sometimes there are no sales and everybody has to eat. It’s a matter of survival and sometimes you have to make hard decisions. Salespeople typically have to follow the money, so to speak. In the end, it’s just business.
So there you have it, the 10 assumptions about salespeople that aren’t true (in any way, shape, or form), hence why they are assumptions. But salespeople must challenge these stereotypes that can negatively impact careers and livelihoods alike.
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