When someone says they “hate sales,” you can be confident they don’t work in sales. Those who work in sales don’t feel that way about selling. The reason people suggest they have a strong emotional feeling about sales is that they believe things about sales that aren’t true, had negative experiences, or are struggling to sell successfully. Here are the ten reasons you hate sales and some ideas about reframing sales.
You Believe You Are Harming Someone
If you hate sales, it is likely because you believe it is something you are doing to someone, instead of for someone and with someone. You think that selling requires you to convince someone to buy something they don’t want, don’t need, and can’t afford. None of this is true.
In professional sales, there are not many people who try to force people to buy things they don’t want and can’t afford and doing so would be a waste of their time. What is true is that you are helping someone obtain a result they couldn’t create without you. You are helping them make an informed decision about what they need to do and how to do it.
You Believe You Have to Be Self-Oriented
There was a time when companies hired gregarious salespeople, people with a smile on their face and a shine on their shoes. They wanted people with charisma and who could use their charm to get what they wanted (as opposed to helping the client get what they wanted). Salespeople were taught tactics to manipulate their prospective clients.
In the last couple of decades, evolution has mostly weeded out these behaviors. They don’t lead to success in a world where there are too many choices to have to work with a self-oriented, smart, back-slapping, glad-handing salesperson.
The people who are most successful now are more other-oriented than self-oriented (although there will never be any profession without its bad actors). There is no requirement that you be self-oriented, especially when it isn’t helpful to your results.
You Believe You Have to Be Aggressive
If you have watched movies about salespeople, you have no doubt seen “the hard sell,” or what is also described as a “high pressure” sales. If you have witnessed this type of sale, you can imagine how bad it feels. There are still laws on the books that allow the person who falls prey to these kinds of tactics that provide the right to rescind a deal within three days. The law provides for a “cooling down” period, the name is a perfect description, not because you were too hot on buying something, but the fact that you need to cool down after a salesperson took advantage of you.
No one teaches or trains the hard sell. No one uses high-pressure tactics. Most of the salespeople who sell professionally now have never seen anyone be aggressive and apply pressure to convince their prospect to buy. If you have to use force to win a deal, you are not a very good salesperson.
You Believe It Can’t Be Taught
You might believe that salespeople are born, not made. There is some truth to salespeople being born, as some of them have incredibly fast rapport skills, high emotional intelligence, and the ability to provide their clients an experience that creates a preference to work with them. These people, however, are more the exception than the rule.
Even some with slow rapport skills and take a little longer to warm up still have other attributes that allow them to sell effectively. You can find a food doctor with an excellent bedside manner, and you can find a good sawbones with a lousy bedside manner.
You can learn to sell. It is a skill set that can be taught, trained, and developed. Like any other human skill, if you are willing to do the work, you can learn.
You’ve Had Bad Experiences
My first experience with a salesperson ended up with his sales manager blocking the door and telling me I wasn’t leaving the dealership if I wasn’t driving the car he was trying to sell me. As you might imagine, I left in the car I drove onto the lot. Because a lot of us have a negative first sales experience, that is how we think about salespeople.
You have also likely had good experiences, but because there is nothing harmful in these interactions, there is nothing worth noting. But you have made purchases where the salesperson helped you explore your choices and come to the right decision. If you’ve had a great experience, you’ve had a salesperson prevent you from buying something that wasn’t going to serve you.
In sales, there is no benefit whatsoever from providing a bad experience. It only results in your losing.
You Have Been Exposed to Bad Examples
Movies and television shows often portray the worst people in sales as a sort of anti-heroes (this is why the connotation sticks). If you spend time on the internet, you will still see a few bad examples. If you wander around long enough, you will find people who embody all the reasons you believe you hate sales.
You have never thought about the people you know who work in sales. You have friends that sell, family members that work in sales, and you may even have a parent that sells. Good examples of real salespeople surround you.
It Feels Difficult to You
Selling can feel challenging, especially at the beginning. More especially when you have to ask for the commitment for time (i.e., prospecting). Everything feels awkward when you don’t what you are doing. Until you sell for a little while, it can be difficult. However, like anything else you in which you are competent, over time, you get better—and your results improve.
You Are Unaware of the Mechanics
If you don’t know how to make a cold call, it will feel dreadful. If you don’t know how to have a conversation in which you trade value for time, you might feel as if you are being personal rejected (you are not). When you don’t know how to open a sales call or control the process, you struggle to lead the conversation, and you have a difficult time creating value for your prospect.
There are a lot of mechanics to selling. Once you know how things work, it starts to fell a lot less complicated. Your competency grows, as does your confidence.
You’ve Never Been Trained
A lot of us had training that consisted of being given index cards with the five most common objections we could expect and a list of phone numbers (or in my case, the most leads you have ever seen, all in alphabetical order in what was called a phone book). You may have been cast into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim, in which case, you weren’t given the best start.
Because selling is critical to any enterprise, we know how to train and develop people on how to sell successfully. If you are lucky enough to get a job where you get excellent training, you will spend a lot less time struggling against the water, taking into mouthfuls, while you doggy paddle to the side of the pool. You will feel a lot different after training.
You’ve Never Had a Good Mentor
Many of us in sales had excellent mentors. We had people who cared about our growth and development. They modeled the right beliefs and behaviors, and we modeled them. We also shamelessly mimicked their language choices for client conversations. If you haven’t had a good sales mentor, you missed one of the greatest accelerators possible and one that would have had you feeling very different about sales and selling.
None of the beliefs, or experiences, or lack of skills are fatal. You can try on some new beliefs, ones that might fit you better. You can have new experiences, including the satisfaction that comes from helping people get what they want to need. You can also get the training and development that would allow you to find greater success.
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Filed under: Sales