Debunking Sales Myths

July 26, 2019 | by: Nica San Juan | Sales Tips

As a salesperson, you may have received well-intentioned advice that simply does not seem to make sense. In this article, we expose some of the most common sales myths to help you arm yourself against these non-existent roadblocks.

If you have spent a considerable amount of time in the sales career, you have probably heard everything about how to be the ideal salesperson and so much more. But just like in any other career, not everything that you hear or read is gospel truth. 

Some are inaccurate generalizations while others are simply assumptions or misconceptions with no real facts to back them up. Let us analyze some of the most popular sales myths that need busting before they hurt your career:

Popular Sales Myths Debunked

Customers can only spend as much as their budget allows

This is one of the worst sales myths as it tends to limit the potential of both the salesperson and the customer. To illustrate why it is a myth, consider a scenario where your AC system breaks down in the middle of summer. 

You might not have any budgetary allocation for repairs or replacement. But you might have a contingency fund set aside for maintenance. If the fund only contains $300 yet you need $500 to fix the AC, will you not find a way to cover the difference?

So similarly, a customer’s spending capacity is not as closely tied to their budget as it is to their sense of urgency. Find a way to make a customer perceive what you are selling as urgent and their budgetary constraints will vanish.

“No” is the worst thing a customer can say

While it is true that you do not want to get a “no” from a prospect, it is not the worst answer. “No” opens up a new door of opportunity as it begs for a response to the question, “Why not?” The moment you get an answer to “why not” you can start thinking of viable alternatives.

Furthermore, keep in mind that not every prospect is a good fit for your product or service. They could have a need for it but the timing might be off. Or it could be that they do not need what you have to offer. In both cases, the sooner you get a “no” the sooner you can redirect your focus elsewhere.

Cold calling is dead

Various publications, authorities and platforms have penned down obituaries for cold calling and prospecting. Admittedly, cold calling is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks for a salesperson. But it yields a lot of results in relation to the costs involved.

Moreover, with advances in technology, cold calling is not as cold as it once was. Though it might be your first interaction with a prospect, you could gather insights about them beforehand.

Without prospecting through cold calls and other approaches, your sales well might run dry. Additionally, by evolving your tactics to keep up with changing times, you can have as much success with this method as you can with any other.

Using spreadsheets is the same as using a CRM

It is true that spreadsheets are easy to use in organizing sales data and that they can help track customers, sales data and create reports. But they have numerous shortcomings too, hence the need for a CRM.

You cannot track customer relationships on spreadsheets and you need multiple spreadsheets for tracking different kinds of data. Another weakness is that when using spreadsheets, data is spread across different salespeople and devices.

Spreadsheets do not allow for real-time collaboration while CRM tools do. They require that you manually generate reports by creating graphs and pie charts while CRM automates the process.

With a CRM, you can access a chronological history of your relationship with customers. You also get to save all customer data in one place and get proactive reminders of follow-ups. It also enhances accountability and automatically backs up customer data. The two are clearly worlds apart.

A great salesperson can sell ice to an Eskimo

Basically, the premise of this myth is that a good salesperson can convince a prospect to buy something they do not need. What makes it one of the worst sales myths is that a good salesperson will do the exact opposite.

The best salespeople look out for the best interests of the prospect. For them, it is more about building a lasting relationship than getting a one-off sale at all cost. It is possible to have temporary success when you sell items that customers do not need. But in the long-term, the strategy will backfire.

Good salespeople work with integrity and honesty as their core values and try to make every sale a win-win so as to ensure long-lasting success.

The customer is always right

When Harry Gordon Selfridge, Marshal Field and John Wanamaker pioneered the above phrase, they did not mean that the customer is right in all situations. The idea behind the phrase was to treat the customer as if they were right, even when they were not.

Keeping that in mind, a good salesperson will remember that customers do not always have all the information they need to make the best decision. A salesperson’s job is to educate the customer, help them make decisions on the basis of facts rather than assumptions.

Customers look for the lowest price

The misconception that price is the only consideration a customer makes before a purchase is one of the worst sales myths of all time. Salespeople who adhere to this misconception tend to base their pricing on competitors’ prices.

This makes sense in businesses like electronics but if you offer a unique service or product, your value is also unique. Price is always secondary to value and a good salesperson can justify price perception by adjusting a prospect’s value perception.

When customers exhibit price resistance, a good salesperson will focus on value and not attempt to justify the price. If a customer understands why a product or service is worth the difference, they will not hesitate to pay for value.

Good salespeople thrive on referrals

Another common misconception is that a great salesperson will attract referrals. While it is true that good salespeople get referrals, these are usually few and far between. No business can realistically count on referrals as their primary source of prospects.

However, it is important to ask for referrals as these constitute an extra stream of prospects and potential customers.

Build and they will come

In the realm of sales myths, none is quite as misleading as the belief that if you offer a great product or service, customers will come looking for you. Having a remarkable product or service is just the first step to success. 

You need to create awareness for the sales to come trickling in. And almost always, success in sales is directly proportional to the amount of effort a salesperson invests.

Sales is not a game of numbers

There has always been a constant debate on whether or not sales is a game of numbers. The truth is that success in sales, as in everything else, is not all about a single parameter.

On one hand, logic dictates that the more people you reach out to, the higher the amount of business you will do. But of course, for this to succeed, there has to be quality behind the quantity.

At the same time though, if you treat prospects like mere numbers, you may not go far. Rather, you need to create a personal relationship with every prospect to initiate a lasting relationship.

All in all, successful sales is about striking the balance between quantity and quality.

Find out what works for you

A look at all of the above sales myths reveals one important truth, sales is not all black and white. There are no hard and fast rules that guarantee success. But rather, success is hinged upon applying general sales principles uniquely to every different situation.

Always take time to analyze the one-liners you come across and know when to use them and when to ignore them. Over time, you will find out what works best for you and delivers the best results. Sales is an art that requires time and practice to master, and with the right amount of research and preparation, you can make a success of it.