As most people who read this blog already know, sales is a uniquely rewarding yet challenging career. There are few other professions with as many opportunities for advancement – or pressure. There are also few other professions with as many members. Some estimates put the percentage of salespeople that make up the total workforce as upwards of 15%. This means that almost everybody knows a salesperson (or is one).
Maybe this is the reason salespeople tend to hear a lot of the same things from their prospects, friends, and even families on a regular basis. Not all of the things they hear, however, are pleasant. There are lots of common sentiments that range from misguided to just plain rude. So we’ve put together a list of the things that salespeople are sick and tired of hearing. If you work in sales yourself, you’ll definitely be able to relate to at least a few of them.
1. “I’ll definitely call you back”
If salespeople had a nickel for every time they heard this, they wouldn’t need a sales job. The problem isn’t people telling you that they’ll get back to you because they’re busy – everybody gets too busy sometimes. The problem is when somebody tells you this with zero intention of actually responding. On behalf of salespeople everywhere: we would rather have you just say you’re not interested than to string us along. It would save us both precious time.
2. “Just give me your lowest price”
It’s natural to want the lowest price off the bat when speaking with a salesperson, especially if you’re truly only concerned about how much you have to pay. But in the overwhelming majority of businesses, especially in the complex world we live in now, there are lots of factors that influence price. It’s not like buying the cheapest banana you can find. Features, timing, credit, multiple options, and a whole host of other things can influence price. So don’t become frustrated if a salesperson wants to ask you some questions before giving you a quote.
3. “Why don’t you use your degree?”
Not every salesperson has a college degree, but many do. There’s nothing more irritating than having somebody ask why you’re “not putting your degree to use” in your field. Not only do the majority of salespeople make that decision consciously, but it’s a rude thing to say on its own. There are salespeople with advanced degrees, and others who have made the switch to sales after spending years doing something completely different. So if someone has decided to work in sales, there’s no need to question them.
4. “I’d be great at sales”
This is more amusing than anything, but almost every salesperson has that one friend (or even coworker) who likes to tell them how great of a salesperson they’d make if they were to try it. Of course, it’s possible that they would make a good salesperson. But unless you’ve done it – unless you’ve spent hours making calls, losing deals, putting out fires, overcoming self-doubt, and pushing through the daily obstacles that sales throws your way…you don’t know if you’d really be able to do it.
5. “If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen”
CRM is often the bane of a salesperson’s existence, getting in the way of doing actual work and hovering every-presently over our every move. Time that could be spent selling is instead spent updating mindless software that oftentimes fails to add any actionable value. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Spiro’s Proactive Relationship Management platform works for you, instead of against you. It can actually help you spend more time selling and making sure you’re focusing on the right activities instead of worrying about whether or not you’ve added that contact to your software overlord.
6. “You guys have it easy”
Not every salesperson hears this, but many have. This usually comes from another department or even sometimes from sales management that minimizes the contributions salespeople make. Maybe there are some sales jobs out there that are “easy,” but the majority are not. Sure, in the big scheme of things, compared to our ancient ancestors who had to literally hunt for food to survive, we might have it easy. But in comparison to all other professions, salespeople put in a huge amount of effort and deal with quite a lot to keep the economy humming along for everybody else.
7. “Technology is going to make your jobs obsolete”
This comment is usually well-intentioned, but it is often misled. Smart salespeople are tired of hearing this. There are certain sales jobs that might be made obsolete by technology, but new ones will be created in their place. After all, who is going to be selling the displacing technology to the company that will be replacing their coworkers. Technology has always made certain industries obsolete, and people adapt and move onto newer ones. However, it’s much more likely that technology will serve to help salespeople sell more, rather than replace them altogether.
8. “Salespeople are dishonest”
Unfortunately, there have been people over the years who have given salespeople a bad reputation, and mass media has done its part to stereotype salespeople as smooth-talking con artists just out to make a buck. This categorization is unfair to the overwhelming majority of salespeople who are working-class folks just trying to make an honest living. Perhaps over time, this perception will change as more and more people recognize the fact that every industry has its unsavory characters.