8 Annoying Misconceptions About Salespeople

stereotypes about salespeople

If you’re like me, you get frustrated when you see the salesman (or woman) as portrayed on television and in movies. Sleazy, fast-talking, wearing a cheap suit, the stereotypical salesperson is not someone you’d ever trust with your money.

But you, and the majority of people you work with aren’t like that, which is why it’s so irritating to deal with people’s preconceived notions about us. These are the most annoying misconceptions people have about salespeople.

1. Salespeople are all liars

It’s incredibly unfair to call salespeople liars because of the bad actions of a few. But that’s what people do every single day. Not only do salespeople have to overcome market forces and their company’s deficiencies, they also have to deal with people who automatically assume that they’re lying.

2. Salespeople control the price

It’s true that some salespeople have leeway when it comes to product pricing, but not every salesperson does, and the ones that do usually have to stay within strict guidelines of what their company will allow. The next time you’re haggling over price, remember that your salesperson usually answers to someone else.

3. Salespeople are uneducated

A large percentage of salespeople have college degrees, and many also have advanced degrees. Of the ones who don’t, salespeople become experts on their products through training and experience. Calling all salespeople uneducated is as unfair and inaccurate as calling all customers greedy liars.

4. A sales job is easy

If you think that sales is easy, you’ve probably never done it. It’s not necessarily complicated, but the hard work and pressure and constant rejection makes it one of the most challenging (but rewarding) careers you could possibly choose. The most irritating thing is when someone who couldn’t last a month in sales makes a comment about how easy it is.

5. Salespeople are all men

While there are more men than women in sales, there are plenty of women who choose sales as their career. Estimates put the number of women in sales roles at between 35 and 40%. This number has also been slowly increasing over time as more and more female sellers have been joining the ranks of salespeople across the country.

6. Salespeople don’t have a “real job”

If sales isn’t a real job, then I don’t know what is. Not only do salespeople have to work very long hours to make living, they’re also doing it in an environment where your pay is determined by your performance, which the majority of salaried employees can’t even relate to. In sales, you get paid what you’re worth, which is as “real” of a job as you can possibly get.

7. Salespeople don’t want to help you

While salespeople only succeed if they can close deals, it doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in helping people. In fact, advances in technology and empowerment of the consumer have made it all the more necessary for salespeople to be able to create value and help their customers if they want to survive in sales. The best salespeople understand that helping people is literally their most important job.

8. Salespeople are all the same

Some people think that if you’ve met one salesperson then you’ve met them all. This is nonsense. Salespeople come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities, interests, political leanings, and motivations. There are nearly 15 million salespeople in the United States, so assuming that all of them are the same is absurd.

Also published on Medium.

About the Author

Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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