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Uncovering The Top Ten Sales Myths

Jan 24, 2008
In the dog-eat-dog world of entrepreneurs, there's a basic truth that is irrefutable: if you have no customers, then you have no business.

Over the years, I've come to notice that most entrepreneurs that I get to work with, tend to fall into one category: they tend to be exceptional at executing their business - they perform their services better than their competition, or they have better products than most people in the market place; but when it comes to getting customers and making sales, they tend to fall a little short.

And in talking to entrepreneurs from many different industries and businesses, I've discovered that there tend to be about ten myths that hold them back from actively selling their products and services. And once you as an entrepreneur, realise that the barrier that's preventing you from more customers is actually just a myth, then it will be THAT much easier to get those customers in the door!

Myth #1: If I build it, they will come.
I've talked to a number of entrepreneurs who share this belief. They claim to offer the best services or the best products at the most competitive prices, etc. But guess what - it doesn't matter HOW good you are at what you do, if nobody knows about it, nobody will buy it. You need to market and sell.

Myth #2: I don't have time to sell.
This one should seem to be an obvious one, but it IS one I hear. Again: no customers = no business. The bottom line is - you always have time to sell. And you should always make time to sell.

Myth #3: I have to be "pushy" to sell.
This is just plain wrong. If you don't believe me, ask yourself when the last time you bought anything from someone pushy was? In today's modern world, successful selling is the result of helping your customer to buy.

Myth #4: I have to "bend the truth" to win business.
This couldn't be more wrong. Over my years of selling and learning about selling one strict truth has prevailed: people will only buy from people they know, like and trust. Bending the truth negates any kind of trust building and your customers can generally see RIGHT through it. It's perhaps the worst thing you can do in business.

Myth #5: I don't feel comfortable "bragging" about my products and services.
Like in myth #4, customers can see right through the BS. Just be truthful and remember: if you have provided some phenomenal results for your customers, then its not bragging, its reporting. People want you to help them buy - they want to feel comfortable with the expected results of their purchase and telling them what to expect isn't bragging.

Myth #6: Sales in my company seems to be like a roller-coaster.
This one is very common amongst entrepreneurs - especially those with little or no staff. Having a strategic approach to sales can even out the feast and famine approach to sales that a lot of people experience. When you have a great strategy and good planning, the roller-coaster is a thing of the past.

Myth #7: The only way to get new business is to cold-call.
Cold calling is one of the least effective means of building business. It's mentally demoralizing and a colossal waste of time. There are a number of ways to "warm up" a call so that you have an effective and useful sales tool. And talking to a warm prospect is ALWAYS more preferable than talking to someone who wants to slam a phone in your ear.

Myth #8: I've tried "selling" but I'm just not unique enough in the marketplace to beat my competition.
While this isn't strictly a sales question per se, it is something that rears its ugly head a lot in the sales process. Just remember, Coke and Pepsi carve up a HUGE market by selling pretty much the same products. The difference is, they've each created very different marketing campaigns and subsequently they sell to different groups and types of people.

Myth #9: The only way I can beat my competition is on price.
This one is similar to the last point, but instead focuses on price. When we're on the selling side of the table, we always think that price is THE most important thing on our customer's mind. However, the fact of the matter is, while it's important, it's rarely a key decision making point. For the most part, price is actually one of the last considerations a customer makes. And generally they weigh price against value. So rather than worrying about discounting price, concern yourself with building value.

Myth #10: I need to be everything to everybody.
Although this is more of a marketing issue, when you've got your sales hat on, sometimes you need to be able to walk away from a sale. Its by FAR, more effective to sell to a pre-defined niche market, than it is to try to sell all over the place. So remember, while you should try to match your communication style to your customer's communication style, you should never try to be all things to all people. It will spread your message too thin and not resonate with anyone.

Avoiding these myths is crucial to success in any industry. Whether you're selling products or services, remember this simple rule: sales doesn't have to be difficult. You job is to simply help people buy products and services that are of use to them.
About the Author
Mark Winder, the Sales Made Simple Coach, helps entrepreneurs and self-employed professionals aim higher and achieve more. Winder is the author of "Mark Winder's Sales & Marketing Bootcamp" and the free audio seminar, " The 20 Sales Secrets of Top Entrepreneurs ".
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