Despite sales being business critical in an economic downturn, the stereotype is such that many don’t like to disclose their occupation.
A new survey conducted by Gong, the leading revenue intelligence platform, finds that the majority (54%) of enterprise sales professionals don’t want to admit they work in sales.
Reasons as to why many sales representatives don’t like to expose what they do for work, is driven by the feeling that others assume that they only care about sales commission (40%). This was closely followed by misperceived personality traits attributed to salespeople including being untrustworthy and pushy (39%), manipulative (34%) and greedy (29%). Other detrimental misconceptions that hold salespeople back from admitting what they do is the public’s view that a typical salesperson is a poor listener (29%).
While these misconceptions create a negative image that is difficult to change, good salespeople tend to demonstrate the opposite features. Data sourced from interactions between sales teams and customers conducted by Gong’s proprietary data science team indicates that the strongest performers are good listeners as well as empathetic and extremely collaborative individuals. In fact, it was recorded that the ideal ratio of speaking and listening for sales professionals in a pitch is 43:57 respectively. Insights also show that top sales reps use language cues to paint a picture or offer an explanation such as ‘imagine’ and ‘that means’, 31% more often than average performers.
Furthermore, salespeople that understand and address prospects’ challenges and outline a clear solution tend to perform better than their peers. Describing a customer’s problem more accurately than they can leads to increased trust in a rep’s ability to solve it. Some of the most effective professionals use pain/gain words such as problem, challenge, solution, and opportunity 36% more often than others.
“Although good listening skills, emotional intelligence and empathy should be valued highly in light of the economic challenges, these traits of salespeople are not widely known,” said Wendy Harris, SVP of International at Gong.
“Revenue teams, empowered by the right platform, can help identify and solve customers’ problems before they escalate and they remain instrumental in the decision-making process within an organisation. Having valuable insights at hand, sales reps can steer a company’s strategy in a more profitable direction.”
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