5 Myths about selling and what to do about them
In the mind of some prospects, they may be thinking, “I hate salespeople, all they do is swindle people with their fast talking techniques.”
Ouch! You certainly don’t want your prospects thinking this about you! What’s worse is, you think the same thing and don’t like selling for fear of being labelled as a “salesperson!” Not the right attitude to grow your business.
Unfortunately, some salespeople give selling a bad name therefore selling can be seen as not being a very honorable profession.
Buyers aren’t stupid. They know if you are trying to make a sale because you have a quota or budget to meet. They also know if you are genuine and want to help them buy what’s right for them.
Here are some popular myths about selling and what to do about them.
Myth 1. You have to have the gift of the gab!
Perception is reality. Many people think that in order to be a good sales person, you have to have the gift of the gab. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, it’s the complete opposite. If you talk too much, you are more likely to talk yourself out of a sale.
Instead of talking too much – you need to actively listen. No one ever listened themselves out of a sale.
Having the gift of the gab and being able to communicate effectively are two different things. Communication is not just about the words you use, in fact words only make up 8% of your communication skills. Your tone makes up 37% and your body language 55%. Prospects instinctively know if you are out the ‘sell them something based on your terms’ or you are out to ‘help them buy what’s right.’
People with the gift of the gab often make terrible sales people because all too often prospects feel pressure, lack of concern and insincerity in their approach. Putting pressure on prospects to buy works against you. You might land the sales but you end up with a customer who resents you.
Some of the most effective salespeople in the world have a very important skill and it’s not the gift of the gab. What they have is the ability to ask relevant questions and listen carefully to the answers to uncover a buyer’s dominant buying motive. A good listener will outsell a rapid talker any day of the week particularly if they have the ability to instill trust and confidence in the prospect.
Myth 2: Sales is about winning the sale at any cost
The second myth about selling is that you have to win the sale at any cost – after all, it’s good for business.
Oh no no no no no! One of the worst things you can do in sales is sell a product or service that isn’t right for your customer. Yes, there are sales people out there who are unprofessional and unethical and sell their products or services at any cost which is also what gives selling and salespeople a bad name.
When you think of winning, you think about a winner and a loser. Think about a time you have bought something and when you got it home, it didn’t do anything like what you were promised, you naturally feel ripped off and rightly so. Perception is reality. Or perhaps there was a time when you felt ‘sold to’ and afterwards you regretted the sale for it wasn’t right for you.
In both these cases, there was a winner and there was a loser. Taking this approach you might make a single sale – what you don’t get is a customer for life or one that will refer you to others therefore, ultimately you lose.
With a win-lose approach, as a salesperson you might have closed the sale but you also lost the trust and confidence of the customer. What happens when a salesperson wins and the customer loses, you lose because of the power of word of mouth and referral business. When a customer feels conned or ripped off, naturally they tell their friends or leave negative comments on social media.
One of the best forms of advertising (and the cheapest) is a business referral because people trust their friends and family more than an advertisement. It pays to ensure your customers go away happy with their decision to buy from you.
There are plenty of sales people who are ethical and professional at what they do. When you make sure that the product or service you are providing is right for the customer, they will come back to you and you get to keep them as a customer. On average it takes six times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. It makes economic sense to do the right thing, sell the right products or service for their circumstances and make sure you look after your customers once they have bought from you.
Myth 3: Customers know what they want
There is a difference between want and need and very often customers might think they know what they want – but don’t understand that may not be what they really need.
Customers are not the expert in your field or the expert in whatever product or services you provide. If they were, they would have gone off and got their own certification or degree or unique set of experiences. They come to you because they have a problem they want to resolve or they want to gain the rewards when they pursue an opportunity.
As the sales, product or service expert, your role is to diagnose what the customer’s real needs are and to provide a solution that meets that need. They way to do this of course is to ask the right questions and listen to their answers.
Don’t be afraid to point out to your prospects how your solution will help them gain what they need and not what they want. That way you continue to build the prospects trust and confidence in your expertise.
Myth 4: Selling means you have to have a good sales pitch
No no no! And I can’t stress this enough. When you push too hard and launch into a sales pitch too early in the sales process, you push buyers away because the customer instinctively knows that you are coming from the need to sell them and not help them buy.
Would you ask someone to marry you on a first date? No of course not. You naturally want to get to know each other first and find out if you are going to be a good fit together.
Selling is no different. Never try to sell someone or launch into a sales pitch when you first meet them. When you push too early in the relationship that’s when you push people away. It’s because customers are also victims of sales myths. They are afraid of being conned by salespeople.
Have you ever met someone for the first time and your instantly have a connection? You feel like you have known them for all your life because you have so much in common. That’s Rapport! What is critical when you meet a sales prospect for the first time is to build that connection, instill trust and confidence and get into rapport as quickly as possible, not launch into a sales pitch.
Myth 5: You have to be outgoing and an extrovert
Says who? Some of the best salespeople in the world are not outgoing, what they have is empathy and the ability to solve problems.
Think about children, they know how to sell regardless of their personality type. Why? Because they know what they want and how to get it. For instance, “Mom, can I have an ice cream?” When mom says no they go to dad. “Dad, can I have an ice cream?” When dad says no they go to grandma. “Grandma can I have an ice cream…. Pleeeeease…?” They are instinctive problem solvers and one of the hallmarks of great salespeople.
When you interview for a job, what you are in fact doing is selling yourself and how you can add value to the organization you wish to work for. When you ask someone for a date, you are selling yourself hoping the other person will enjoy your company. Your success has nothing to do with personality. It has to do with the ability to build trust and confidence and find a solution to a problem.
Even if you haven’t been formally trained in sales, anyone can successfully sell their products or services. It comes from a place where you believe in what you have to offer and you genuinely want to help people buy from you the solution that is right for them.
On a final note
Be genuine and approachable and focus on building a relationship with a prospect if you want to successfully sell your products or services
In a Nutshell
- You do not have to have the gift of the gab to successfully sell your products or services. You need empathy and the ability to build trust and confidence.
- To build a sustainable business, you have to enter into a win-win relationship with your customers. Successful sales is not about winning at any cost.
- Customers do not always know what they need even if they think they know what they want. What they want may not be the right solution.
- Launching into a sales pitch too early in the relationship can work against you.
- You do not have to be an extrovert or outgoing to successfully sell your products or services.