There’s no faking it in sales. Either you hit your sales goals or you don’t, and everybody you work with always knows which one happened. Successful salespeople are the envy of everyone on the sales floor. People might not envy their personalities or lifestyles, but they definitely envy their results.
But there are some common misconceptions about great salespeople that seem to pervade the industry. They are myths that have developed because of movies and pop culture which give people the wrong impression about who tends to succeed in sales and why they tend to succeed.
Here are six myths about great salespeople that need to be debunked for good:
1. They are all natural born salespeople
Contrary to popular belief, not all great salespeople were born that way. Many of them struggled for a long time before finally developing their skills enough to become successful. Natural ability is great, but there is so much more that goes into succeeding in sales, from product knowledge, to process, to discipline, to grit, that no amount of natural ability can possibly compensate for a lack of any of these things. “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” – Calvin Coolidge.
2. They make great sales managers
You might assume that if someone is exceeding their sales quota year after year that they would be able to teach others to do the same thing. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Great salespeople don’t always make great sales managers. It takes a completely different set of skills to be a top sales producer than it does to get results from a group of people, so while management may want to replicate a top producer’s success, sometimes there’s a lot more to gain by keeping them in their sales role.
3. They don’t have ups and downs
If you see great salespeople at the top of the board, then you might assume that it’s always smooth sailing for them and that they never experience the rollercoaster ride that every other salesperson does. In reality, the top performing sales reps do experience the same pressures, rejections, and disappointments as everybody else. The difference is that they keep so many deals working at once that losing one deal doesn’t crush their goals. They move on from rejection almost immediately instead of wallowing in it, and they keep their emotions on an even keel no matter whether they’re up or they’re down.
4. They are all outgoing smooth-talkers
Movies and TV shows have created an image of successful salespeople as confident, fast-talking alpha personalities who can bend people to their will. In reality, there are plenty of introverted and contemplative salespeople who are wildly successful despite not fitting at all into the stereotype. Sales is all about listening, understanding, creating value and solving problems for customers, and doing it at a steady and consistent pace day in and day out. Few of these things are determined by how outgoing someone is. It might help in some circumstances, but it’s far from the most important factor in sales success.
5. They were good at everything else they did
While there are certainly great salespeople who have turned everything they’ve ever touched into gold, lots of people only found success in sales after failing at countless other things. This applies to people who were terrible students before finding what they could excel at, to others who were once poor sales performers and found the inner strength or motivation to become the best version of themselves that they could possibly become. Your past failures may be part of a pattern, but when it comes to sales, it’s a pattern that’s in your own power to break.
6. They just get lucky
It’s easy to point to the top of the board and say that the person who got there simply got all the breaks. You can attribute their success to a good run of leads, or their relationship with someone important, and in some cases you might even be right. But no one simply gets lucky month after month, and year after year, and there are plenty of great salespeople who seem to rise to the top of every sales organization that they join. It’s only when you realize that it’s your daily actions that determine your outcome, and not simply luck that you can become one of the greats yourself. (Using an AI-Powered CRM, like Spiro, can help you keep track of all your daily actions and help provide intelligent sales reports that can help forecast your outcomes. )