Overcoming Negative Sales Stereotypes

Overcoming Negative Sales Stereotypes | The Brooks Group

Salespeople are no strangers to the stigma associated with their profession. But it can be difficult for even the most successful salespeople to brush off the outdated and negative sales stereotypes that some people still hold today.

I know (or can assume) that sales professionals are still sensitive to these negative sales stereotypes by analyzing the traffic that we get to this blog. A particular blog post we published several years ago titled “The World’s Most Complete List of Job Titles for Salespeople” consistently gets a TON of traffic from Google.

Why are people searching for a list of job titles for salespeople?

I’m hypothesizing that most of the visitors to that post include salespeople, sales managers, etc. who are looking for job titles other than “salesperson” that they can use either for themselves or for their sales team members.

If that’s true, what does it tell us?  

That there are many people involved in the sales profession who want to dress up the fact that they’re a salesperson.

My position on that issue is simply to ask, “Why try to hide it?”

I submit to you that most B2B buyers in today’s marketplace know that “Business Development Professional,” “Relationship Manager,” or “Sales Executive” all translate into “Salesperson.” So, for those interested in downplaying the obvious, this isn’t a tactic that is going to go very far. Using these titles 10, 15, or 20 years ago might have helped someone seem like something other than a salesperson, but today, that’s old news.

So, if the intent behind using a job title other than “Salesperson” is really a desire to more favorably position yourself (or your team), then the best way around the cliché old-school impression that the word “Salesperson” (or worse, “Salesman”) isn’t through adding a different title to your business card.

Instead, it’s by adopting habits of successful salespeople, such as:

  • Upgrading your strategic questioning skills
  • Improving the way you approach prospective buyers
  • Becoming a sought-after problem-solver, not an interruptive product-pusher
  • Identifying those buyers who you can genuinely help; asking to meet with them in a professional, respectful and valuable way; and helping them understand how your advice, products and services will be beneficial to achieving their business goals
  • Recommending solutions that may (or may not) include your offerings
  • Following up with prospects and customers in the way and within the timeframe you’ve committed to
  • Staying on top of industry trends and sharing these with your customers and prospects

End Negative Sales Stereotypes 

Leaving the sleazy car salesman persona in the past, today’s professional sellers can rebrand the job title of “salesperson” by the way they interact with customers and prospects every day. Selling is a noble profession—as long as you and your sales team are committed to bringing true value to your clients.

Successful selling isn’t about using gimmicks or persuading a prospect to purchase something they don’t need. It’s about using a consultative approach to identify their challenges, and uncovering their wants and needs in order to recommend an appropriate solution.

Salespeople who genuinely understand how they can make a difference for customers consistently outsell those who are only concerned with making quota. Be sure that you (or your team of salespeople) are using a buyer-focused sales process like IMPACT Selling with every prospect.

The stigma attached to the title of “salesperson” can make finding and hiring a new generation of sales talent an especially difficult task. To keep ahead of the competition, you need a strategy for attracting millennial talent that can grow your organization into the future.

View our briefinar to learn tips and best practices for finding bright young candidates who will be loyal and motivated to succeed in your sales organization.


NOTE: Our sales training tools are designed to make your life easier. Use them to your advantage.

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Will Brooks

As the CEO of The Brooks Group, Will draws on his leadership, marketing, sales, sales management, and operational experience to help develop and execute the company’s overall growth strategy. Having been in the human capital development industry his entire career, helping organizations reach their full potential through transformational change is a part of Will’s DNA. By putting his name on every single engagement, Will assumes a personal commitment to the success of every client.

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