Were you discouraged from pursuing a career in sales because you’re an introvert?
Have you delayed pushing out a product because you think it can only be successful if it’s perfect?
Sales myths are powerful because they are often half-truths taken out of context. Unfortunately, they create misconceptions that lead to some of the harmful practices we see in modern sales today.
To help you figure out which ones you’ve been misled by, we're debunking 12 of the most common sales misconceptions based on real-life experiences from industry leaders.
12 common sales myths debunked by industry experts
This isn’t just a list of sales myths vs. sales facts.
Drawing from decades of experience, these B2B sales experts debunk common sales myths and provide insight into what’s true, what’s false, and what you really need to understand about each one.
Myth #1: The best salespeople are natural-born closers
Sales is a frontline role that involves interacting with a lot of people.
As a result, one of the biggest sales myths out there is that a salesperson has to be an extrovert with a lot of confidence and natural skills that help them close deals.
The truth? Being great at sales requires training, no matter your personality type.“Some of the best salespeople I know aren't ‘natural-born closers.’ In fact, many of them struggle with closing,” says Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl.
"The reason this myth persists is that people often mix confidence with skill. Just because someone is confident doesn't mean they're good at sales."
“I would argue that being too confident can actually be a liability in sales. The best salespeople are usually the ones who are humble and coachable. They're always looking to learn and improve. And they're not afraid to ask for help.”
Myth #2: Closing is all that matters
Closing is the desired outcome in sales, but a lot of factors — both pre- and post-sale — need to be in place to make that happen.
“The truth is the sale is only one part of the equation. In order to be successful in sales, you need to focus on the entire process, from the initial contact with the lead all the way through to post-sale follow-up,” explains Yang.
“It's important to build relationships with your leads and establish trust so that they feel comfortable doing business with you."
“Once you've closed the sale, don't forget about your customer — follow up with them to make sure they're happy with their purchase and offer assistance if they have any problems.”
Myth #3: Low pricing is everything
“When it comes to making a sale, price is certainly a factor — but it's not the only factor,” adds Yang.
“In many cases, customers are willing to pay more for a product or service if they feel like they're getting good value. The best salespeople are able to position their products in a way that highlights the value for the customer so that price becomes less of an issue.”
Focus on differentiation when selling your product. As in, emphasize how your product is stands out from your competitors and better aligns with your customer’s pain points.
Myth #4: Discounts win customers
Ian Wright, Managing Director at BusinessFinancing, has heard the big sales myth that discounts and special deals increase your chances of making sales many times.
“The reality is often quite different. Research has shown that offering discounts or special deals can decrease the likelihood of closing a sale,” says Wright.
“Discounted customers are less likely to stick around, as they tend to seek out the next ‘big discount’ or deal, and so the churn rate for these customers tends to be higher.”
He adds, “Discounting has been shown to decrease the perceived value of a product or service, which is likely to impact long-term sales as well negatively.”
Myth #5: Buyers are too busy to speak to salespeople
Ever heard the common sales myth that prospects don’t have the time to talk to salespeople anymore?
“The truth of the matter is, every potential client has a problem that needs to be fixed, and sales teams should have a solution-oriented mindset. A good salesperson will make it worthwhile for a client to carve time out of their day to have a genuine conversation,” says Carley Congdon, Sales Manager of Team Building.
“At Team Building, our Client Advisors take the time needed to connect with clients, do a thorough discovery session, and then work with the client to find the best solution to fit their needs.”
“[Client Advisors] have found success in reassuring our clients that our team is committed to taking the stress out of their planning process.”
“One of our Client Advisors recently reached out to a client at a large tech firm who only had five minutes for a call,” Carley says. “That client advisor is now in the process of closing a virtual holiday party deal for the entire company, ultimately taking the burden off of that client and allowing them to focus their time on other tasks.”
Myth #6: Don’t reach out too soon after sending a proposal
If you want to close more deals, you need to be more proactive.
“Don’t be patient,” says Steli Efti, CEO of Close. “Reach out and ask the decision maker (not just your internal champion) what the process is going to look like between receiving the proposal and closing the deal.”
Efti advises you “Spend more time understanding their needs and offering value wherever possible to increase the likelihood that they will fight for you and your product internally. Refuse to sit on the sideline in limbo. Refuse to play the guessing game. Help your prospect to help you.”
“Of course, I don’t recommend you taking the approach of “just checking in” with your follow-ups, as that’s a very self-serving approach,” says Efti.
“Instead, you should follow up with your prospect and deliver additional value, whether in the form of some useful (related) content on your blog, a video testimonial from a similar customer in their industry, or otherwise.”
“What matters most, is that you're being a proactive problem-solver on behalf of your prospect, not just sitting back and waiting for them to sign a proposal."
Myth #7: You need to be an extrovert to succeed in sales
“This assumption kills me,” says Stephanie Sanders, Head of Sales (Americas), at ContractBook.
“A huge part of success in sales is based on adherence to the sales process, which has nothing to do with personality,” she explains.
“Any sales professional needs to be comfortable speaking with different people and able to connect with them to uncover information, but some of the best sellers I have known have not been what most would describe as an ‘extrovert’.”
Hence, to Sanders, “Building rapport isn't about chit-chatting, it's about showing prospects that you understand their world and can connect their problems to the solutions you're selling.”
“Sellers who focus on building a repeatable and scalable process for their deals are much more successful in most cases than the ones who spend their energy on socializing.”
Will Yang of Instrumentl agrees that introversion can be a valuable asset in sales.
“The best salespeople are usually the ones who are good at listening. They're patient, and they allow their customers to talk. They understand that the sale is about the customer, not about them,” he says.
Myth #8: Cold outreach is dead
Stephanie Sanders, Head of Sales (Americas) at ContractBook, agrees that even though reaching prospects on the phone has gotten harder, that doesn’t mean cold calling is dead.
“Even the very best cold emailers are getting responses only a small percentage of the time, while a mediocre BDR or AE can convert 20-30% of their cold conversations into next steps,” Sanders explains.
According to Paige Arnof-Fern, Founder and CEO of Maven & Moguls, timing is key to getting results from cold outreach.
“The worst time to make a cold call to prospects in any region is 8-10 am when everyone is rushing to work and preparing for the day but the worst time to call is the best time to e-mail,” she says.
“Once employees are at work, the first hour is generally spent checking e-mails and organizing the day. During this hour, your email has a higher chance of visibility.”
“Sending an email during their transit period places your email on top, and would be among the first they see as they open their inbox. Emails that are sent late in the evening or early morning have a chance of being buried/missed.”
Myth #9: Sales scripts don’t work
“I agree that you do not want to follow a script too closely, so the conversation sounds unnatural or forced in any way,” says Paige Arnof-Fern, Founder and CEO of Maven & Moguls.
“In my experience, scripts should only be used as a guide and cheat sheet to keep the conversation flowing and address their specific questions while covering all the sales points. For best results, there should be two-way communication, and when the prospect shows interest or wants more information, sales reps can address it in real-time.”
While you may not always want to follow your sales script word-for-word, using it as Paige suggests will help you to avoid awkward silences and have answers ready as the prospect asks questions.
Myth #10: You have to have a sales script to be successful
On the other hand, Krittin Kalra, Founder of WriteCreams, adds that a sales script is also not the key to success in sales.
“You can use a script as a guide to help you share information and ask questions,” he says. “It is a great way to reduce the time spent getting the prospect comfortable with the sales professional and the information they're trying to convey.”
Even without a sales script, having a tip sheet or note on your customer can help to create a good conversation flow. As an added bonus, you won’t forget the key points you need to share with them.
Myth #11: Prospects need a ton of information about your product
“A common sales myth is that you need to give your prospects a lot of information about the product,” says Krittin Kalra.
“It’s more important to be able to sell your product in a way that is easy for the client to understand.”
“Show your prospects how your product will solve their problem and how it will benefit them. And it’s even better if you can convey the necessary information in a short amount of time.”
Here’s the basic info you want to get across:
- The relevant benefits of your product or service that apply to the prospect’s work or their company’s situation
- The price of the product
- And what the prospect needs to do to close the deal or move to the next stage of the sales process.
Myth #12: The best product wins
A big sales myth is that the best product always wins.
“Having a superior product certainly gives a sales team an advantage over the competition, but even more important, is properly addressing the points of your lead,” says Paul Chesterman, Sales Director, EthOS.
“If the sales team with the superior product comes in just talking features and functions — leaving how to leverage those capabilities up to the lead — then they are setting themselves up for competition with inferior products to move in.”
“The sales team that best paints the picture of how their product will solve the lead’s problem is the one who will walk away with the win.”
Focus on learning about your prospect and add personalized context to your communications. This will show you truly understand their needs and set you ahead of your competitors.
Exposing common sales misconceptions
Which debunked sales myths made you breathe a little easier? 😄
Letting go of common sales misconceptions helps you figure out what you should be focusing on to get better results in your sales career. It also allows you to grow and develop your skills.
But, most importantly, it gives you a chance to focus on providing value to your customers. Because, ultimately, that’s what the best salespeople do — help make their prospects' jobs a little easier.
A sales fact that shouldn't be overlooked is that warm leads are more likely to buy and accelerate deals.