We fear what we don’t understand. Let’s debunk the myths and find the truth!
Selling. I can’t think of another behavior that crosses most businesses and is, to an incredibly great extent, so integrated into all different types of professions. In fact, “integrated” may not be a strong enough word. The success of most professions is dependent on selling skills, especially the eyecare professional.
This fact isn’t lost on any of you. You know this! You do. You know how vital sales skills are for our profession and yet, as important as they are, it is the most misunderstood and least practiced skill you have.
Think about it … think about the hours, days, weeks, years, you’ve spent studying and learning your optometric or opticianry skills. Now, think about the years you’ve spent practicing what you’ve learned to apply all that knowledge. Now, compare all that time to the time you’ve spent learning and practicing sales skills. Pretty infinitesimal, isn’t it? Pretty illogical, too, considering how important selling is. Don’t you think?
So, if you actually know selling skills are important to the profession, why haven’t you invested any time in becoming good at it? Because it scares the hell out of you!
Why? Because you’ve bought into some, or all, of these myths about selling:
MYTH: Some people are just natural born salespeople and I’m not, so why bother?
TRUTH: This is patently false! Like anything else, sales is a skill that can be learned. The key is to learn from professional trainers.
MYTH: It is about persuasion.
TRUTH: It’s not at all! This isn’t a myth, this is an out and out lie. But most people buy into it. No wonder you’re scared. No one likes to be persuaded and most people push back, sometimes hard, when confronted with someone trying to persuade them. Thankfully, true selling isn’t about persuasion at all. It’s about helping someone acquire what they need.
MYTH: Good salespeople are good talkers, with snappy comebacks and can tap dance around objections to avoid dealing with them.
TRUTH: Nope. Good salespeople learn how to ask great questions and listen for the answers. Great salespeople listen more than they talk.
MYTH: I don’t need to learn selling skills; people will just recognize my expertise and buy.
TRUTH: Oh, dear sir or madam … you are in complete denial. I don’t blame you. You’re scared outta your mind, at this point.
MYTH: Good salespeople need to be pushy.
TRUTH: Yeah, no. Bad salespeople need to be pushy.
MYTH: If I come off as a “salesperson” it will lessen my credibility as an ECP.
TRUTH: Well, based on these myths you’ve believed for so long, I agree. But, the thing is (I repeat), good salespeople help their customers acquire what they need. That’s a lot easier than trying to persuade or push someone into buying.
MYTH: It always comes down to price, anyway. So, why do I even need sales skills?
TRUTH: This is hardly ever true. What it comes down to, always, is the customer’s needs. Most of the time they have no idea what they need so sales skills, here, are of utmost importance to help the customer uncover those needs.
Think of it this way … like optometry and optics, selling is a science that requires constant study and evaluation in order to improve its success. It’s time to get over the fear of selling, don’t ya think?
This article originally appeared in the November-December 2017 edition of INVISION.