Raise your pitchforks sales professionals! We’ve been down trodden for too long.
We have an image that is underserved and unwarranted as many of the stereotypes below point out.
Even Google is against us. Look what the ‘autocomplete’ feature suggests when you start typing “salesman” into the search bar –
It’s time to take back the respect we should be given by prospects and consumers everywhere by educating them that the following stereotypes are both offensive and simply not true…
1) Salespeople Are Liars
This is going to be a reoccurring theme down a bunch of these stereotypes but put simply – a salesperson can’t get away with lying for long. Only poor, ineffective salespeople will outright lie to their customers (and they will either get sacked or will lose all their customers if they continue to porkie pies over the long term).
2) Salespeople Never Shut Up Talking
As Deb Calvert points out in her episode of the Salesman Podcast successful salespeople don’t just listen more than they talk, they lead. Highly skilled salespeople listen to problems, create solutions and then guide prospects to success. Every word that comes out of their mouth is adding value to the prospect.
3) Salespeople Are Greedy
There is a huge difference between being greedy and being well paid. Salespeople are often thought of as greedy out of jealousy from those not in the profession. We hold up companies and bring in the revenues that pay everyone elses wages. We’re accountable, responsible and so are commissioned accordingly.
4) Salespeople Can Be Replaced Easily
True there are many “salespeople” on the job market but finding high quality sales professionals is extremely tough task.
There are not many roles in the business world that require tests such as the ones from the Objective Management Group to narrow the recruiting process because finding the talent is so tough.
5) Salespeople Have No Loyalty
Salespeople are often hard done by. A couple of months of missed targets (for whatever reason) and the pressure starts to mount from sales management.
This leads salespeople to change jobs on average more so than people in other careers. However once you match a great salesperson with a company who has an awesome company culture they become very loyal indeed.
6) Salespeople Are Stress-Heads
There is a stereotype of a salesperson who is running everywhere, driving whilst using the phone and just trying to cram as much productive time into their day as possible.
For most salespeople this is their reality however they are calm, collected and may look like they’re under stress to some people but it’s because they have never hustled.
7) Salespeople Only Look out for themselves
Salespeople have to be able to go it alone. They often get minimal help from others within a company and they’re actively incentivised to take their competitions business away from them. I don’t think this shark like stereotype of salespeople is negative, I find it empowering.
8) Salespeople Are Overly Aggressive
There is a change of an ethical dilemma here and anyone who has been on the wrong end of a poor salesperson might have felt the extra pressure sales amateurs often try to put on their prospects to close deals faster.
However a highly skilled salesperson knows when it’s perfectly OK to add a little urgency to the sales process if the prospect is genuinely going to benefit from closing the deal. It often takes a little push to get the buyer over the hump of making a decision.
9) Salespeople All Have Type-A Personalities
Matthew Pollard is a guest of the Salesman Podcast and is great example of a sales/business professional who certainly isn’t a Type-A who kills it. This stereotype has no basis to exist post 2005
10) Salespeople Are Vien In Their Appearance
Salespeople dress, look and present themselves how their prospects want them to appear. It’s as simple as that.
11) Salespeople Are Manipulative
Salespeople who have no idea what they’re doing lean on things such as manipulation to get the job done. Increasingly with a lot of the power shifting into the hands of the buyer and salespeople jumping into the sales cycle later and later the ability to manipulate prospects is decreasing.
Therefore salespeople are being forced to serve and so this is a stereotype that is broken in the real world.
12) Anyone Can Work In Sales
I strongly believe that if someone puts their mind to it they can develop the mindset and sales skills they need to become a highly successful (read: highly paid) sales professional over the course of a few years.
This is where the stereotype fails though – most people are not motivated enough to invest time into themselves, their careers and their lives to really make a success of themselves. It’s a sad shame but for whatever reason, without industry leading coaching most people could not survive a career in sales, nevermind thrive in one.
BONUS: 5 Reasons People Should Love Sales Professionals
Next time someone hits you with one of the above stereotypes feel free to remind them that –
- We keep everyone else employed – We bring in the revenue that allows everyone else to have a nice, cushy, chilled job.
- Nothing gets done without sales – If you’ve ever sat in a meeting without a sales professional present you’ll understand that it’s generally the sales guys that make the decisions and move things forward.
- We might end up being your boss – 20%+ of the fortune 500 CEO’s started their careers in sales (this is second only to those who started in finance).
- Sales is a company’s security – If people are worried about being made redundant in difficult economic times remind them that it’s the sales team, not product features, benefits or promotions that help business survive through tough times.
- We probably earn more money than you – When it comes down to it, you work a job to get paid. Whatever other peoples thoughts are about the profession of sales, don’t worry about it too much. Rest in peace at night knowing you likely earn more than double what the average person earns in your country (UK – B2B ‘profesional sales’ averages £52k a year vs average pay of £24k)