How Your Non-Sales Colleagues See You
There are many myths surrounding the sales profession. Because the majority of companies need strong salespeople in order to compete in highly crowded markets, countless hours of speculation, behavioral analysis, and observations have been devoted to the sales profession.
We'll debunk many of the popular myths surrounding today’s sales professionals.
Here are the five we encounter most often:
1. Money is everything to salespeople.
Most great sales professionals care about their customers more than their commission checks. Yes, that’s right! High performing salespeople have been known to leave jobs not because of money. Because they don’t feel what they are selling is the best product in the market to meet their customers’ needs.
2. Salespeople who work from home are lazy.
This myth is starting to die down as more and more employers get comfortable with a remote or virtual sales force. Employers are starting to notice productivity gains when employees don’t have to commute. Work from home employees tend to work more hours and take shorter breaks. Nicholas Bloom conducted a productivity study and concluded telecommuters on average are happier and more productive than office workers.
3. With free trials, online shopping carts, and self-service business models, salespeople don’t really do much. With an informed customer, salespeople are overpaid, and less needed than ever before.
No matter how great your product is, you will lose business if you can’t envelope your solutions and customers with high quality professionals. Products that sell themselves may do so for a small window of time. But eventually a competitor or two will step in and you will lose market share overnight.
Salespeople are not only necessary, but essential to your products survival. Yes, they can make a good chunk of change, but don’t be bitter, instead rejoice! When they make money, you make money, clients get outstanding products, and everyone wins!
4. Great salespeople don’t make strong leaders.
Leadership requires more than top sales skills. But top sales professionals can become great leaders, with the right support, environment, attitude, and motivation. Leadership is a craft and not unlike sales; it takes constant work, improvement, and dedication. Top salespeople are accustomed to obsessively working on their skills, and once in a leadership role, will immediately take the initiative to acquire and develop new skills.
Over time those who have made the transition from sales to sales leadership, some will find leadership a truly rewarding path. Others will decide they prefer individual contributor roles and will eventually make their way back into a field sales position.
5. Having a dynamic extroverted personality means you are a natural born salesperson.
Sales professionals can go pretty far on a dynamic personality, but so can accountants, lawyers, and news broadcasters. In the long run, charisma or a fun personality simply won’t be enough to sustain any career, not even for sales professionals. Great salespeople who make life long careers out of sales are unique.
Look inside any sales team and you will find a broad range of personalities. There is no “magic personality” that will pre-determine success. Great sales people need drive, sales skills, and above average levels of sales activity on a consistent basis. They are obsessed with becoming successful and are committed to continuously improving themselves and their skills.
Like other highly successful professionals, salespeople value a sense of purpose. They seek out companies with solutions that make a difference in their customers’ lives. The top 10% of any sales force contains a broad spectrum of personality types, backgrounds, and experience.
Yet top salespeople across industries share one common trait—a strong devotion to help customers find solutions to their most pressing and demanding problems.