Is the stereotype of the boisterous, money-grubbing, underhanded salesperson mere myth or reality? PROFIT's group of sales specialists delivers the truth.
1. All salespeople are extroverted: Conventional wisdom holds that all salespeople are not only blessed with the gift of the gab, but that they're able to use it to close deals.
"The reality is, most people's sales tactics are not like that at all," says Herb MacKenzie, author of Selling Today: Building Quality Partnerships. "You have to have good verbal skills, of course, but there are a lot of sales jobs, particularly in technical fields, where extroversion is not very important at all."
It's important that sales reps love working with people, says Andrew Case, managing director of Caliper Canada, a Toronto-based sales-recruitment consultancy. "But the view that the really gregarious person is going to be great out there with your clients is a superficial one."
Read: How to Win the New Sales Game for our award-winning story analyzing why it's so tough out there these days for sales reps and what they need to succeed.
2. All salespeople are motivated by money alone: While it would be naïve to suggest that sales reps aren't interested in earning a decent income, it's far from the promise of riches alone that drives their behaviour.
"Really good salespeople don't just crave the thrill of the win for themselves; they love creating win-win situations," says MacKenzie.
Besides, adds Jean-Sebastian Leroux, president and CEO of Toronto-based recruiting firm Proex Inc., greed is a major turnoff for customers. "If salespeople are looking out only for themselves, the client will see that, and it's a red flag."
Read: How to Create a Super Salesforce for what Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies do to build and support high-performing sales teams.
3. All salespeople are manipulative: The notion that all salespeople are sneaky, lying scoundrels couldn't be further from the truth, says Anna Fredericks, manager of the Canadian Professional Sales Association's Knowledge Centre. "If you have a manipulative personality, and that's your approach to sales, you're not going to establish trust with key decision-makers."
Matthew Cook, president of Toronto-based sales recruiting firm SalesForce Search Ltd., admits that he has seen a few examples of CEOs seeking salespeople who know how to lie. "That behaviour feeds into the perception that salespeople are out to get you," he says. "But on the whole, that's just not the case."
Read: The 5 Most Essential Sales Skills to find out the most important—and teachable—skills that salespeople need in order to be great.