Six Silly Myths About SellingSales are the cornerstone of success in any organization, but there’s often some notoriously bad advice and myths surrounding what makes effective sales people and what works in selling.

In an article for, daily Sales Source columnist Geoffrey James takes on six of the worst myths about selling, and explains why they are such terrible advice.

Selling Myth 1: Friendliness Counts!

An overly friendly sales rep can quickly turn off prospects, and lead to a lost sale. It’s worth remembering what customers want from their account reps: “they want you to help them solve a problem or create an opportunity.”

While long-term client relationships may evolve into close personal friendships, keep a professional distance when selling, and avoid becoming too chummy too quickly.

Myth 2: Fake it Till You Make it

People are remarkably intuitive, and can often sense when someone isn’t being genuine. This is especially true of customers who want honest and trustworthy vendors and suppliers.

If you don’t know the answer to a prospect or customer question, say so. Don’t misrepresent yourself or your company just to land a sale.

“If you’re pretending to be something or somebody you’re not, you’re raising all sorts of red flags,” says James.

Myth 3: Always Be Closing (ABC)

Persistence and sales go hand in hand, but customers dislike overly aggressive sales tactics, or account reps thinking about their commission first and the best interests of the client second.

It’s virtually impossible when selling to help customers make the best decision according to their needs and budget, if you’re focused on closing the sale at all costs.

High-performing salespeople recognize when it’s time to move on and prospect in other areas, and don’t turn on the pressure when someone isn’t ready to buy.

Myth 4: Never Take No for an Answer

Salespeople have long been taught that “no” usually means “not yet,” but failing to recognize the “no” can turn even the warmest prospect ice cold.

“If you ignore that no as if it didn’t exist and keep on pushing and selling, you’ll turn the maybe into a NO,” says James.

Myth 5: Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak

This is another destructive selling myth, and one employed by far too many salespeople.

“What’s meant by this maxim is that you should direct the customer’s attention to the sexy features (sizzle) rather than the product itself (steak).”

Focus on benefits over features, rather than the inverse. Prospects want to know how your product or service will address their needs, rather than what’s part of the features list.

Myth 6: The Customer is Always Right

Customers know when they’re being fed a Pollyanna story, so don’t be a “yes” man when trying to close a sale. Your job as a salesperson is to help your prospects and customers make the best possible decision for them—and sometimes that means recommending a competitor, or a lower priced service.