Common Misconceptions of Sales

Introducing the new Sales Technology Series

Sales is a career path with virtually unlimited potential for growth—both professional and financial. Despite the field’s growing popularity, however, some stereotypes and misconceptions die hard.

Here’s our challenge: Reimagine what it could be to be a great sales professional. Read on for some of the common industry myths and see if you can throw out some of your ideas about what it takes to succeed in the rapidly growing sales sector.

You must be pushy.

Most are well-acquainted with the stereotype of a manipulative car salesman. In reality, though, this is not true. Sales is about creating and maintaining relationships with your customers. Empathy and listening skills are critical. Instead of pushing people away, you will want to establish a meaningful connection.

You must be an extrovert.

Some of the most successful people in sales are introverts. While extroverts are naturally more outgoing and social, introverts have invaluable skills such as self-awareness and observation. Virtanza instructor and Vice President of Local Advertising at the Philadephia Inquirer Tony Cuffie says:

“Successful salespeople are not overtly friendly, loquacious, and charming. Some have all of these qualities, as do many former, unsuccessful sales professionals. Successful sales professionals are listeners that understand the point is to help solve a need, not just make a sale. The goal is to secure an advocate, not just a client. The profession is to help someone make an informed decision that will eliminate or help minimize their need.”

In the new UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Sales Technology courses, taught by Virtanza Career Pathways, a critical part of a four-step sales process is the Needs Assessment. It’s all about listening to the customer. Note, not everyone is a true extrovert or introvert. Most people tend to fall somewhere in between, and everyone has a unique combination of skills that they can bring to the table.

Sales is highly intense and fast-paced.

While this can be true for certain roles, it isn’t always the case. There are many different pathways you can take with this career. In recent years, sales has evolved, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re not interested in transactional sales (which typically entails making many quick one-off sales), consultative sales might be more appealing to you. Consultative sales roles focus less on pitching a product or service and more on a prospect and their needs. Sales cycles also tend to be longer and more complex.

You’ll get pigeon-holed in sales.

Not at all! The skills you learn in a sales role can take you quite far in your career. You can move up the ladder to close bigger deals or change your career path altogether. The communication skills, resilience, and business knowledge you gain from a sales position are valuable in nearly any future role. If you decide to stay in sales, the sky is the limit for professional and financial growth. 

You are born a salesperson, not made.

This is also a myth. Sales skills take a lot of practice and hard work, but they can absolutely be learned. If you want to discover your own unique skillsets and learn the keys to successful selling, you can start by enrolling in one of the new UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Sales Technology Series courses. Enrollment is open!

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