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Top 10 Sales Myths Debunked


Guest articles > Top 10 Sales Myths Debunked


by: Joe Shervell


There is a lot of conflicting information in the sales world about best practices and how salespeople should approach various kinds of customers. While these time-honored practices have their place, some of them could actually cost you valuable sales and repeat business! This is particularly true in situations where a salesperson’s income derives in whole or in part from commissions on sales made. One error in judgment could cause you to miss a big sale while courting a customer who isn’t worth the time. Here are ten sales myths you should forget about!

1) The customer is always right

While the basis of this myth is grounded in good customer service ideals, the reality is that the customer is not always right. The customer’s perceptions about products, pricing, and their own needs may stem from conflicting or faulty information. As a salesperson, it is your task to be better informed about your company’s products and offerings than anyone else. By being able to explain why the product they have their heart set on won’t do everything they think it will, you can guide them to the perfect product…and maybe even a bigger commission!

2) Customers need to be told what to buy

This is true…to a point. An important fact to remember is that no one likes to be on the receiving end of a “hard sell.” With money tight nearly everywhere in the world right now, customers who find themselves dealing with a salesperson who attempts to press them too hard are likely to hang up or walk out. While you can and should correct misapprehensions about the capabilities and costs associated with a product, overly aggressive sales tactics are more likely to result in a lost sale than a fat commission check.

3) Always work toward the close

The “Always Be Closing” (ABC) school of thought in sales works. However, it frequently works to the salesperson’s and customer’s detriment. A good salesperson is more concerned with building a relationship with the customer than immediately trying to hook a sale. If the customer feels that you are reliable, give good advice and information, and are more concerned with their needs than meeting your sales quota, you’re far more likely to make a sale.

4) Be an extrovert

We’ve all seen the kind of salesperson who comes off overly loud, boisterous, and aggressive. While this kind of person can liven up a dull party, there is no empirical evidence to suggest an extroverted personality is more successful at selling than an introverted one. In some cases, an introverted personality may actually perform better in sales, because they don’t “try too hard” to be the customer’s best friend until the deal is done. They give the customer the facts and information they need and then back off.

5) Experience Equals Capability

This is one of the ultimate falsehoods of sales, or for that matter any other form of endeavor. Just because someone has thirty years of experience is a relatively meaningless metric, because this person may have been doing it all wrong for twenty-nine and a half of those thirty years! Even worse, experience has to grow and keep up with new trends and information. Sales practices and concepts become outdated fairly regularly, so something that worked in 1985 may not apply at all today, or apply in a very different manner. Hard work, following best practices, and keeping up with trends equals making sales. Experience counts…but not for as much as many people believe!

6) If you’re not sure how to close the sale, “wing it.”

A passenger on a luxury liner decides, in the middle of an emergency, they’re going to take the wheel and save everyone on the ship. The problem is the passenger has no experience, no knowledge of how to operate a large sailing vessel, and has no idea what the instruments on the bridge are telling him. How likely is that ship to make it safely to port? In much the same way, trying to close a sale without a clear direction or idea of what the customer needs to make the deal a good one by their lights is not only difficult bordering on impossible, but foolhardy.

7) Sales is an easy job

This one isn’t just a myth, but an outright lie. Sales is not the right fit for every person, temperament, or personality. It requires the ability to bite your tongue when a customer is doing something you consider to be foolish and to be able to accept rejection gracefully. Not everyone can walk into an operating theater and tell the patient, “I got this.” Unless you have the right skill set for the situation, chances are you don’t “got this!”

8) Always Stay Positive

While this is a pretty good guideline for life in general, a positive attitude is no more an aid to selling than any other number of acquired skills and learned behaviors. Sales is an “if X, then Y” equation. Your attitude doesn’t have anything to do with it, and people who are always aggressively cheerful tend to come off as fake, a definite turn-off to customers.

9) Be likable

Okay, this one isn’t bad for what it is. However, see Myth #4. Being liked and being able to close a sale are not the same thing. In fact, your customer or client may say, “Who, Bob? Yeah, the guy’s a total shark, but he sure knows how to sell a house!” Your customer doesn’t necessarily have to like you to benefit from your experience and knowledge, and you don’t necessarily have to like them to make your association with them profitable.

10) More sales come from closers.

Nothing could be further from the truth! While knowing how to close a sale is a vital sales skill, sales is a numbers game. That’s why so many neophyte salespeople land huge commissions early on and then taper off as time goes on. Volume plus the ability to close plus empathizing with and understanding the customer’s needs equals more sales. Just being a closer isn’t enough and has little to nothing to do with sales percentages.


This article was supplied by Joe Shervell, a blogger with a big interest in sales and sales tactics. He writes for, UK-based business training specialists.

Contributor: Joe Shervell

Published here on: 02-Jun-13

Classification: Sales



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