ARE YOU CUT OUT FOR SALES? That is the all-important question which every prospective or current sales person should ask himself/herself. If your answer is “yes,” you can make good money in sales. However, if your answer is “no,” you’ll waste much time and have much frustration in sales. Unfortunately, there are some huge misconceptions concerning the correct answer to that question.
FIRST MISCONCEPTION. The most common misconception is that extroverts are cut out for sales because they can easily make people like them. However, sales involves more than just making people like you. That talent IS very helpful during prospecting. Thus, the misconception is a dangerous one. An extrovert will assume he/she is good at sales and will go into the field or on the phone with great expectations, only to find he/she doesn’t get sales. Succeeding at sales isn’t about getting people to like you. Rather, sales is the process of three vital actions on the part of the sales person:
- Gaining respect
- Earning trust
- Convincing someone to say “yes”
Consider the following questions. In social settings, do people generally respect you? Do they generally trust you? Do your family members trust you? Are you good at convincing people to come around to your way of thinking? In a debate, are you the person who can often convince people to agree with you or at least get them off their side a little bit? Do you enjoy the competitive urge to bring people into agreement with you? If you answer “yes” to these questions, then you are cut out for sales. Understand that although being an extrovert is a good and helpful quality, it won’t make you necessarily good at sales. That is a most important distinction to realize.
Perhaps you are thinking, “People don’t always initially respect or trust me, and I’m not particularly good at convincing people. Does that mean I could never be in sales?” Although you could still pursue a sales career, you would have your work cut out for you! You would need to read a lot of books and work on your self-confidence. Those areas would need your most diligent effort; those will make or break you in sales.
In management you need to recognize this misconception when hiring. Don’t hire employees based solely on their ability to be friendly and outgoing. Your employees won’t get sales unless they can gain respect, earn trust, and convince people to say “yes.”
SECOND MISCONCEPTION. This is the flip side of the first misconception. Some people who would be good in sales don’t take advantage of the opportunity. If you are generally successful in the three vital actions mentioned earlier – gaining respect, earning trust, convincing people to say “yes” – there are two more important traits to consider in evaluating yourself for sales. Are you also a thinker and a problem solver? If you fit into all those categories, you might be very good at sales.
THIRD MISCONCEPTION: There is one fear which will paralyze your ability to excel in sales – fear of talking to strangers. Unfortunately, unless you overcome this fear you can’t sell. You must be willing to walk into businesses and/or pick up the phone and talk to people cold to try gaining their interest. The misconception here is that you must ENJOY the process of prospecting. You don’t have to be excited about doing it or enjoy doing it, but you must be WILLING to do it! Be careful not to over-think situations. Although you need to be a thinker and problem solver, you must find a solution to the problem and implement it for the benefit of the prospect.
HOW TO KNOW FOR SURE YOU’RE GOOD AT SALES. This may surprise you…go try to sell something and see if you make any sales! Try for two or three months. Of course, there are always going to be times of struggle, times you choose the wrong product or service to sell, or times when you don’t understand the sales process yet. Consider this as an example: After three months of talking to three hundred qualified prospects, you should make more than two sales. Even if trying to sell something which is a complete scam, I’m sorry to say, a real sales person would have sold something! If you are in sales but not selling anything, you are not cut out to be a sales person.
FINAL TIP: For someone who says, “James, I’m not ready to give up on my sales dream. Even though I didn’t sell anything, I really want to do this,” here is one little trick you can try. You have probably kept working toward a sales career because you feel people like you as mentioned earlier. Perhaps the time has come for you to push people further; you must get prospects to a decision point. Tomorrow get ten people to the point of a solid in-your-face “no.” Then you will learn how to convince people to have a point of view; get them to a decision. In your situation, getting “no” would be good for you!
I hope these little tips will help you to understand whether you are cut out for sales.
My name is James Shepherd. Thanks for reading.