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In today’s point and click society, the art of thinking and questioning is starting to become a thing of the past. Many people read or hear something and accept it as the truth without really questioning the validity or business case behind such information. I have found that many sales organizations believe in three myths that make no sense to me. As a result, their sales results are average at best. Here are the top three sales myths that I frequently hear. Stop, think and ask yourself if you are buying into these myths.
Myth #1: Job Tenure
Business owners and sales managers are told by the experts that the alphabet generation, X, Y, and M, (millennials), are different than the boomers. The pundits predict that this group will experience about 14 different jobs in their lifetime. When the two-year itch sets in, this employee will move onto perceived greener pastures.
This short stint of employment for a salesperson just isn’t a profitable business model. Do the math. You hire a new salesperson and even with the best on-boarding and training processes, it takes about six months to get a new salesperson up to speed. She must learn the business, fill the pipeline and close business. Now, you are looking at only one and half years for that salesperson to produce revenue for your company before moving on to their next “fourteener.” Does this formula make sense to you? Most top sales producers really start hitting their stride after two years. They have built relationships, referrals are coming in and repeat business is in place. Here’s a tip: let your competitor waste their time and money hiring this travelling sales group. Focus on finding job-committers not job-hoppers.
Look at some of great success stories from business. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg. Did they switch “jobs” every two to three years? Would Mark Zuckerberg be enjoying one of history’s biggest IPO’s if he had become bored after two years?
Sales managers and business owners--don’t lower your expectations or standards. There are salespeople out there, of all generations, with longevity in their resume. Stop listening to the experts and start applying common sense. (How many of the experts have ever led a sales force?)
Myth #2: Buyers are liars
Yes, there are still sales organizations and sales trainers shouting this mantra from the mountain top. Keep in mind these are the same companies that also stress the importance of building relationships. So how does a salesperson build a relationship with a prospect he has profiled as a liar?
Prospects aren’t liars; they are just tired. They are tired of outdated selling techniques that prevent truth telling conversations. If a potential client is honest and tells a salesperson “no,” the salesperson moves into overdrive and applies the archaic sales technique of overcoming the objection. Salespeople have been taught that the first objection is not the real one so press on. In fact, many have been taught to overcome the objection three to seven times. Now that’s a fun meeting. So instead of telling the salesperson the truth, prospects are forced to lie and say, “I need to think it over.”
Don’t make your prospects lie to you. Ask for the truth and accept it when you hear it. Not everyone deserves or needs to be your customer. This mindset eliminates practice proposals and allows you to fill you pipeline with real opportunities.
Myth #3: ABC – Always Be Closing
I’d love to know who thought this concept was a good idea. Is it any wonder that salespeople have a reputation for being pushy and self-centered? Here’s a typical sales meeting. The “ABC” salesperson hears a problem and translates it to a buying signal. She jumps on the challenge like a sumo wrestler and does a trial close. “Wouldn’t you agree that some of the solutions we offer would solve this problem?” (Does anyone talk like this at home?) The prospect recognizes that the question is a set-up for the big close and shuts down.
The skilled sales professional knows that trial closes like, “Wouldn’t you agree…” create a biological reaction in the prospect. There is a part of the brain called the amygdala. It is often referred to as the old brain. When this part of the brain senses danger, it puts a person into fight (hostility), or flight (end the meeting early) mode. Neither response leads to business. Top sales professionals avoid the “ABC” method. As a result, there is not a fight or flight type of response from prospect. Instead, a collaborative and smart conversation occurs with both parties treating each other with respect.
Get rid of outdated sales myths that are hurting your results. Hire salespeople with commitment, stop making your prospects lie to you and avoid the “ABC” method of selling. Your prospects will thank you and better yet, want to do business with you.
About the Author:
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc., a business development firm specializing in sales and sales management training. Colleen is a monthly columnist for Business Journals across the country, author of 'Growing Great Sales Teams' and co-author of 'Motivational Selling.' Her new book, ‘Emotional Intelligence and Sales Success’ will be released in fall of 2012. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-708-1128.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.
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