You read books about it, attend webinars on it, and even spend money learning how to leverage the latest resources and tools to make it easier, but one fact still remains — you need sales to build profits for your business. The problem is that the market is flooded with myths about what makes a good salesperson and what strategies it takes to connect with your leads and turn them into valuable — lifelong — customers.
5 COMMON SALES MYTHS
MYTH #1: Sales people must be aggressive
We’ve all been on the receiving end of this myth. A cold caller that won’t take no for an answer, a door-to-door salesperson who won’t leave your porch, or a sales vendor that is so sure their product will solve all your problems… if you ignore all the evidence that points to it doing the opposite. Being aggressive won’t get you the quality leads that you desire. Instead, you’ll either push opportunities away or force a sale that isn’t right and will result in short-lived profits.
The truth is that salespeople must be diligent and perceptive. It means recognizing a need and reminding your lead that you offer a product or service that fits that need. The difference is the value that you’re able to provide. If your lead doesn’t recognize the value in your product, your salesperson will appear aggressive or pushy.
MYTH #2: All you need is one sales process
Processes are meant to streamline capabilities and create efficiency. So, once you’ve nailed down a sales process that works — you’re done. Or, are you? Think about it. How could a single way of doing something work 100% of the time now and forever?
It won’t. That’s why any good salesperson knows that the sales process is an ever-evolving form that must change and adapt just as your business does. You introduce a new product or service, your messaging changes, you adjust your process. You open up your business to a new market… same result, your sales process changes. Your audience will grow, and your sales process must grow with them.
MYTH #3: You should always be closing
This myth kind of goes along with the aggressive salesperson one. It’s long been believed that as a salesperson, you should always be closing. If you’re not starting every conversation with your elevator pitch, then do you even have a chance? How will potential prospects know about your product if you don’t bring it up the first conversation you have with them?
While it’s important to introduce your product or service into your conversations with prospects, you should first listen. What are their pain points, what solutions have they tried, and what are they actually searching for? Your prospect may say they want a custom solution, but what they need is a solution that is implemented properly. Listen until you’ve identified their problem, and then continue listening and asking questions until you believe that you have the entire story. Then, you plan your angle.
MYTH #4: You are your lead’s best friend
Part of selling and creating lasting business relationships is getting to know your leads and becoming like their best friend. You take them out for drinks, you talk about their pain points, you brag about your service team or your product’s capabilities, and you stretch the truth to seem more impressive. Anything to get a sale, right? While these are all tried and true tactics for landing a lead, they won’t always provide you with a happy and long-lasting customer.
The problem with this type of sales myth is that it tends to result in promising the world and setting up your services or product for failure. You know — or should know — the features, benefits, and capabilities of what you’re attempting to sell. While you want to flourish a little bit on some of the rough edges, you don’t want to do so much so that your lead becomes disappointed by the expectations you’ve set. Sometimes part of building a trusted business relationship is being honest about the pitfalls, and driving home the benefits that make up for them. By setting the expectations early, you can prevent disappointment and frustration later.
MYTH #5: Sales is a numbers game
You hear it all the time, I’m talking to 5 different prospects, at least one is bound to lead to something. Playing the odds game may result in small victories, but a thousand unqualified leads are still unqualified whether some convert into sales or not. The result is a short-lived success — and sometimes a negative online review.
Always remember quality over quantity. Three solid leads that are likely to become sales because they meet criteria and are a solve match. That’s always be better than 20 unqualified leads that don’t quite fit the bill. Desperate people will try desperate things — and sometimes that desperate thing is trying to do business with you when the fit isn’t right. Don’t go solely by the numbers and focus on the people you’re trying to help.
Technology has made finding leads easier than ever. However, starting a conversation that leads to a sale will still take work. By identifying your lead, listening to their pain points, and determining how your product or service can help solve it, you’ll be able to position yourself strategically. But, your leads must be open to hearing it. That’s why to find quality leads, you should look at:
- Tradeshows and events — online or in-person, one on one conversations are what you strive for. This is the most immediate interaction to answer specific question, introduce specific solutions, and demo your product or show examples of services.
- Form fills — whether from website traffic or lead generation campaigns
- Existing customers — ask for referrals, and proactively identify similar companies in that vertical to target
- Past customers — even if they left once, it doesn’t mean they found something better; reach out and at least update your records
- Social media — most valuable are people who have inquired about your product or service, or social influencers with whom you can create relationships
By understanding these myths and identifying actionable strategies to generate leads, you can begin building revenue for a more profitable future.