My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Thursday 21 June 2012

Sales myths

There are  many myths and preconceptions about sales. Today we'll cover some of the more common ones.

Myth #1: “Sales is about having the gift of the gab”
Professional sales is not about coercing people into buying. People love buying if they want to buy.
Extroverts are usually confident and they tend to talk a lot. Fast talkers rarely do well in sales. The buyer will sense the pressure and confident buyer will push back losing the sale.

The diagnosis is incorrect. Confidence is the important personal quality not having the gift of the gab. Confidence is critical in sales. If you say “this is the best solution for you” but your body language and voice lack conviction, then you probably wont get the sale. Listening to the customer and letting them talk is far more likely to get you the sale. Confident introverts are well placed to be sales superstars. Introverts are naturally good listeners and will outsell a fast talker any day of the week.

By listening to the customer, you learn about them, the company, the things they are struggling with and what's important to them. If you're too busy talking, you wont learn any of this. You wont build a relationship, wont understand their problems and your chances of making the sale are greatly reduced.

Myth#2: “Sales is for those that cant do anything else”
Some of the highest paid people in the world work in sales. It is not unusual for top salesman to be paid more than the CEO. Sadly there is some truth to this myth. Some of the lowest paid jobs are in sales too. However these poor unfortunates are given no training and sent off knocking on doors.

By adopting a proactive approach to learning how to sell, you will be at the top.

Myth#3: “You have to be thick skinned to be in sales”
Why would you need to be thick skinned? Presumably because of all the rejection. Sure you will hear “No I don’t need that” a lot more in sales than other jobs.

Nature has built in a “fight” or “flight” response into our bodies. Both are bad news in sales.

Firstly don’t let rejection lead to a macho tough guy persona. Developing an aggressive attitude will lose you sales. I've certainly come across testosterone fuelled sales guys talking about “going into battle with the customer”. If you start to become aggressive or confrontational when you suffer rejection then the sale is lost. The customer is not obligated to buy.

Equally the “flight” response can be dangerous. You'll be thinking “let's get the hell out of here” and afterwards become introspective as your mojo takes a hit – losing confidence in yourself is fatal. You'll fear future encounters which will lose you further future sales.

Fact. You will suffer setbacks in sales. You need to have the strength of character to accept the rejection. The rejection should not be considered personal – the customer doesn’t need or want what you are selling. In your head say “yes” - I accept the rejection. Then in your head say “and here's what I'm going to do next”. Things change. You might move companies. They may need what you're selling in the future. The best possible outcome from rejection is that you stay in touch with this person and you learn from the rejection.

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