Working in sales is like being a professional boxer. You run around everyday, getting beat up by random people until you start winning nice purses, which can make some of the abuse worthwhile. The only difference is that in sales, you might gain weight instead of lose it.
The general public tends to have some pre-concieved notions about salespeople. A picture of a smooth-talking, flashy, overbearing hustler usually comes to mind when someone says “salesperson.” But not all stereotypes are true, especially when it comes to sales, a profession that employs nearly 13 percent of the entire U.S. workforce. Here are the most common stereotypes about salespeople that are just plain wrong:
1. They make a lot of money
Some salespeople make a lot of money, but some don’t. Sales is such a diverse occupation, with such variations in pay, that assuming every salesperson is well-paid is silly. For every salesperson making six figures or more, there five just struggling to pay their bills. Since salespeople’s pay is dependent on so many factors, including their own performance, believing that all salespeople are rolling in dough is nonsense.
2. They have no education
If you think that all salespeople are dropouts, you’re completely wrong. There are plenty of salespeople with college degrees, and many with advanced degrees as well. Additionally, all good salespeople become experts in their respective field, learning everything there is to know about their product and industry.
3. They lie
Just as it’s unfair to say that all “buyers are liars,” it’s also unfair to claim that all salespeople lie to their customers. The truth is that dishonest and unethical salespeople are hated by their honest, hard-working counterparts, because the former make the latter’s jobs that much harder. Of course, like in any industry, there are a few bad apples that give others a bad name, but those are outliers.
4. They’re all outgoing
This is one of those stereotypes that’s very difficult to get past. In fact, many salespeople believe this themselves when first getting into the profession. It’s only when they see how successful many of their introverted counterparts are that this stereotype begins to fade. Anyone who has worked in sales for any significant length of time knows that there are plenty of quiet, contemplative salespeople who are exceptional performers because of their work ethic, knowledge, and an ability to listen.
5. They control the price
You can’t blame customers for trying to get a better deal, but far too many believe that a salesperson has a lot more power than he or she really does. In some industries, a salesperson may have control over what they can charge, but in many other industries, that’s simply not true. Salespeople are usually at the whim of their company’s pricing structures, and even a sales manager may be unable to reduce price, so don’t be so hard on a salesperson the next time you ask for a discount.
6. Their job is easy
This is probably the most entertaining stereotype that salespeople hear because it’s so absurd. It might seem like salespeople make “easy money,” but in reality it’s one of the most difficult paths to a paycheck that you could possibly come up with. The reason why successful salespeople are paid so well is exactly because the job is so hard. Constant rejection, intense pressure, and repetitious hard work is only easy if you’re a robot. For the rest of us, it’s very difficult, but oftentimes worth it.