Conventional 'wisdom' about selling is frequently dead wrong. Here's a reality check.
The business world is full of conventional wisdom that gets passed from office to office. Sometimes that so-called wisdom is, well ... unwise. (And occasionally it's really stupid.)
Here are the five dumbest beliefs that people have about "how to sell":
1. The Customer Is Always Right
This myth has been repeated so many times that many people think it's a law of nature. In fact, though, customers are frequently unreasonable and overly demanding. A big part of selling is educating such customers so that they have more realistic expectations. This means telling the customer he's wrong when he actually is.
2. Customers Know What They Want
In fact, customers frequently often have bizarre ideas about what they want and need–and, consequently, about what they ought to buy. Don't cater to these whims. It's up to you, as a responsible seller, to figure out what’s actually needed and provide your best opinion about how to satisfy that need.
3. Every Prospect Is a Potential Sale
If you think that everyone is a customer, you'll end up pursuing fictional opportunities. (This is called "chasing garbage trucks, not Brinks trucks.") If you're selling something, your No. 1 job is to eliminate prospects that don’t have enough money to buy your offering or don't have enough need to justify the purchase. That will let you focus on your actual prospective customers.
4. You Should Never Take 'No' for an Answer
When prospects have all sorts of objections to buying, you're probably wasting your time trying to sell to them. Sales opportunities are like buses; another one comes along every 15 minutes. Don’t obsess on any one deal–and always remember that if you hear "no" more than once, it means "no."
5. The Best Salespeople Are Extroverts
Many (even most) of today's sales situations are best suited for people who are a little bit introverted, and better at listening than talking. In fact, some of the best and most effective sales training programs available today are based on listening techniques originally developed for psychologists and counselors–who aren't known for being extroverted.
GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter. @Sales_Source