(reading time: 3 minutes)

Sales requires positivity since there’s so much adversity and rejection that goes along with it. So it’s no wonder that much of the content aimed at salespeople has a positive or motivational spin. But in an effort to show the whole picture, it’s worth considering some of the more challenging aspects of sales these days. Of course, there have always been challenges, and over time they simply evolve instead of disappearing.

But in this article, we’d like to cover some of the biggest challenges facing salespeople today. Your particular situation might be different depending on your company, position, and industry, but most of these gripes should be familiar if you’re in sales. What do you think? What are some of the biggest gripes and challenges you see in sales these days? Comment below and let us know what you think!

1. Internet price shoppers

The internet has done wonders for the consumer, there’s no doubt about that. You can now research every little thing you need to know and, if you’re able to discern reputable sources from non-reputable ones, you can usually put yourself in a better buying position. That being said, there are some instances where it’s been detrimental to salespeople, especially the not-so-rare cases where a prospect will work with a salesperson to find out every single thing they need to know, even test out a product, and then just go buy it somewhere else online to save a few bucks. Of course, you can’t fault the prospect for looking out for their own best interests but it can definitely sting, not to mention that possibility that whatever they find online won’t turn out to be as great of a deal as advertised.

2. Rapidly changing industries

Another consequence of the technological revolution we’re in is the rapid pace at which products and entire industries are changing. Companies can singlehandedly come in and transform or eliminate entire industries in a span of a few years, and this process only seems to be accelerating. This can pose a challenge for salespeople whose job it is to close deals in a constantly shifting marketplace. There’s no way to stop progress and change, so the best thing to do is to stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening and shift your skills and, sometimes, your job along with where the market is heading.

3. Prospects ghosting

This is nothing new, but it’s no less annoying for salespeople than it ever was. Some prospects hate, absolutely hate, telling salespeople that they’re no longer interested. Instead, they make promises and then disappear, sometimes never to be heard from again. This poses a challenge for salespeople, who spend their valuable time chasing people who have no interest in moving forward. It’s like dating, you’d be much better off being honest about your intentions and ending things directly than by showing interest and then disappearing into the universe. The next time you’re a prospect, try putting yourself in the salesperson’s shoes, rather than ghosting them.

4. CRM

For many salespeople, their CRM is the bane of their existence. Constantly having to check it, update it, and trying to derive any benefit from it can be a challenge. Salespeople have enough to worry about on a day to day basis without constantly having to think about updating an obtrusive piece of software. Fortunately, that industry is changing as well, and new technologies are emerging that are replacing the antiquated CRM, like Spiro’s Proactive Relationship Management software that allows you to spend more time doing the things that help you close more deals instead of updating onerous software.

5. Gatekeepers

Gatekeepers are also not new, but they’ve become much more sophisticated. Gatekeepers know when a salesperson is calling and will often do their best to keep you from getting in touch with the decision maker. The best ways to get through to a gatekeeper are either to spend time building rapport with them, so that they can become an advocate for you and actually help you sell your product, or by going around them entirely. LinkedIn and other forms of communication have afforded salespeople the opportunity to research, identify, and then contact decision makers directly. Just make sure you have your pitch ready and down pat.

6. Lack of respect for the profession

This is possibly one of the tougher, bigger-picture gripes lots of salespeople have, not because we’re so sensitive about it, but because it’s mostly out of our control. The public at large tends to have a negative opinion of salespeople. This is because of a combination of the way salespeople have historically been portrayed in media, their lack of understanding of the profession, and because of bad experiences with unethical salespeople that have tarnished their opinions. The only way to change this perception is to do the absolute best you can for every prospect and customer you work with. Maybe you can’t change how salespeople are portrayed in mass culture, but you can definitely show the people you work with that you’re different.

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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.

One Comment

  • Folks;

    a good quick read, thank you. My comment would be in regard to the last item; RESPECT. Two thoughts on Respect or lack thereof.

    First, we as Sales professionals tend to bring this on ourselves through lack of preparation, lack of follow thru, and our own internal disdain for being “Sold To”. My suggestion here is an Attitude Change. Be proud of our profession, Identify the ‘Noble Purpose’ for which you go to market, and Be a Professional always.

    Second, consider in every Customer/Client/Market ‘ touch’, how to bring some value to the dialogue, not a pitch, but a ‘learning’, an insight, a piece of information your prospect might not otherwise be aware of. An acronym I have adopted many years ago is “AVA” – Adding Value Always, if we bring that to the table we will be respected and called upon more often and the sales will happen.

    Just some thoughts, not a sermon.

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