S*les. The dirtiest word in the dictionary.

It’s sad, so sad, It’s a sad, sad situation, And it’s getting more and more absurd. It’s sad, so sad, Why can’t we talk it over? Oh it seems to me, That sales seems to be a dirty word. The perception of sales hasn’t really changed much since the days of knocking on doors with […]

It’s sad, so sad,
It’s a sad, sad situation,
And it’s getting more and more absurd.
It’s sad, so sad,
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh it seems to me,
That sales seems to be a dirty word.

The perception of sales hasn’t really changed much since the days of knocking on doors with a suitcase of Encyclopedia Britannia. When you tell someone you work in sales, you’re usually confronted with a look of disdain, as if you’ve said you eat roadkill.

But the reality is that the industry has continually moved with the times and the clichéd views of the past are far from accurate. A good modern sales team are the lifeblood of any thriving business and the art of selling is extremely complex to master.

These negative views seem to stem from when selling on fear was a popular technique. When people were being told that their current car didn’t meet the latest safety standards or that without ten different creams, your face would resemble a tired Yoda.

But it’s 2017 and sales has matured to become a fully credible profession which is awash with neuroscience and emerging technologies.

Myth #1 – We’re all pushy

It’s not The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s ultimately just a dialogue between two people. Trying to push a product or service on to someone who has no need for it is a wasted endeavour. Smart sales teams take a consultative approach and try to unearth a potential customer’s frustrations. Rather than talk, we listen and our recommendations are based on expert product knowledge, not a list of random features.

Myth #2 – We’re entirely driven by targets

Analytics are a vital part of the sales process, but the days of aggressive selling for short-term gains are gone. The majority of sales teams nurture each prospect and aim to build trust, rather than focus on their own digits.

Myth #3 – We don’t take no for an answer

All of the professionals I know are fully committed to understanding the products and services they offer. Only through proper training are they able to identify ways to solve a particular problem for a specific customer. But equally, they can also spot when a product isn’t a great fit and they quickly move on.

Myth #4 – We’re robots reading off scripts

With a trained team, scripts just get in the way of a natural conversation. Not only are they too regimented, but they also don’t allow a sales professional to express things in their own way. At Xcel, we use psychometrics to build smart call structures which encourage discussions to flow.

Myth #5 – We’re all the same

Many of us choose this career because we enjoy helping and salespeople can’t be stereotyped. In fact, some of the most unlikely personalities turn out to be brilliant at selling because they truly believe in what they’re offering. Take Mark Zuckerberg for example, he’s an introvert at heart, yet he sold his vision to the entire world.

So honestly, enough is enough, the next time you meet someone in sales, rather than rolling your eyes, ask them about their expert product knowledge. You never know, they might just have something you need.

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