Truth behind 12 big (and very believable) sales myths

Truth behind 12 big (and very believable) sales myths


Cold calling is useless. Social selling is the only way. The more leads, the better. Buyers know everything.



Chalk those claims up to some of worst myths in sales.

They may seem true at times – especially when no one answers your cold calls or buyers say they know all about you.

But research and experience prove the biggest and most believable sales myths wrong.

Here are 12 myths and the research that debunks them:

1. Cold calling is dead

Myth:Cold calling gets you nowhere fast.

Truth: Cold calling is more effective than cold emailing. Salespeople using the phone to reach out converted 8.21% of the time, while salespeople who used email to reach out converted just .03%, according to a study.

2. Buyers don’t take meetings

Myth: Even if prospects take calls or open email, they don’t agree to meetings from cold calls.

Truth:82% of buyers agreed to meetings with sales professionals who reached out to them, according to research from the RAIN Group. But note: Cold calling works best when it’s coupled with other efforts. More than half of the prospects said they agreed to meetings after they received several email and phone calls.

3. ‘More’ is the only path to success

Myth: Sales is a numbers game. More leads. More calls. More visits. More presentations. More everything leads to more sales.

Truth:Sales success is based on quality – not quantity. When leads are researched and nurtured, customers end up making 47% larger purchases, according to research from Annuitas.

4. Never give up on leads

Myth: You have to make 10 or more calls to reach a good prospect.

Truth: Stop pursuing leads after about the sixth cold call. Leads that require seven or more calls just to make a first contact are 45% less likely to convert, according to researchers at Velocify.

5. Customers don’t want to deal with salespeople

Myth:Customers do most of their purchase research alone and online and have practically made their final decision by the time they connect with a salesperson.

Truth:There is research that shows nearly 60% of their purchase decision is made before they talk to salespeople. But – and this is a big but – even the researchers behind that finding say it’s deceiving. In their words: “Just because buyers spend time online doesn’t mean sales is not involved at all stages of the buyer’s journey, including the early and late stages.” Buyers still need more information specific to them and have a desire for a human relationship.

6. You’ll hear ‘no’ 5 times before ‘yes’

Myth: It takes five touches – and five “nos” – before prospects say “yes” to something (a meeting, a trial, your solution, etc.)

Truth:It takes eight touches to get agreement, according to research from the RAIN Group. And that could be eight touches to get the meeting, another eight to get them to look at a contract, another eight to sign a deal, etc. Researchers note: Top performers often get the “yes” after hearing “no” five times.

7. Keep asking questions

Myth: As long as prospects answer, ask as many questions as you can during a discovery call.

Truth: Ask 11-14 questions, and then wind up a discovery conversation, say researchers at Ask more, and prospects will feel like they’re under interrogation. Ask too few, and you won’t get enough information to move the sale forward.

8. Social selling is ‘it’

Myth: You must be social selling to win sales.

Truth:Social selling is valuable, but it alone won’t win sales. Nearly 64% of sales teams report sales increases using social selling. Still, 42% of organizations that aren’t social selling report increases in sales, a consortium study found. Bottom line: Social selling is a powerful tool for salespeople, but it needs to be coupled with traditional sales tactics.

9. Dropping names sells

Myth: You’ll close more deals with more “social proof” – testimonials, big client name-dropping, endorsements, raving online reviews.

Truth:Salespeople who use social proof in sales calls have a 22% lower close rate than salespeople who don’t, researchers found. Use it in early sales calls and the close rate drops to 47%!

10. The average buyer …

Myth: “The average buyer” does this or doesn’t do that.

Truth:There is no “average buyer.” There are teams of buyers, with about seven people on them, Gartner researchers found. Salespeople may only talk to one decision-maker at first – or even over the course of the buying journey. But there are almost always others from an array of roles and authority behind the scenes involved in the buying decision.

11. Don’t talk about the competition

Myth: Don’t bring up your competitors and prospects won’t even consider them.

Truth: When salespeople talk about competitors in the sales cycle early stages, they achieve a 32% close rate. If they don’t bring up the competition at all, it’s a 21% close rate, according to the research. Caveat: Whether you talk about the competition or not, never trash-talk the competition.

12. Only ‘big boys’ can and should do webinars

Myth: Only big companies with more leads and bigger prospect lists can and should host webinars.

Truth:Webinars are a powerful lead generation tool: 72% of prospects are willing to give their contact information to attend, a CFE Media survey found. Handheld technology and expertise is all it takes for nearly any small group or individual to put together a webinar and gain sales.


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