You’re a sales professional. You haven’t set foot on a used car lot since you turned 16. You don’t have a thick gold chain and you don’t have a cutlery set in a briefcase. Yet, research shows the sleazy salesperson stereotype still exists and is impacting the industry’s ability to attract and hire top talent.
Three ways you can help change the perception and better the sales industry overall:
- Study Up – Very interesting research has come out in the past few years about the impact of the stereotype and the sales space. Begin with short reads that introduce the history of the stigma to help address the real roots of the problem. There’s value in understanding how the problem has evolved over time and it’s always nice to have a few stats to drop at the water cooler. The Impact of Stigma: Negative Stereotypes of Salespeople and Student Perceptions of Sales Careers: Implications for Educators and Recruiters are both very insightful reads.
- Advocate Sales to Students – As highlighted in the Student Perceptions of Sales Careers piece, research found students to be especially susceptible to negative sales perception, something that hurts sales recruiting overall. However, being at a more impressionable age and hungry for advice, students are generally open to guidance and flexible in their views. Even one conversation about career opportunities can make a meaningful mark in reversing the door to door vacuum sales misconception.
- Be Proud – We first touched on this topic after sales guru Jeff Hoffman shared some wisdom on a common industry problem – we’re our own worst critics. Since then we’ve been dropping Jeff’s advice at every chance, “Stop pretending you aren’t in sales and embrace it.” Many sales leaders like Jeff are helping change the perception of sales one blog, tweet, or keynote speech at a time. Other thought leaders and sales evangelists include Anthony Iannarino who’s piece, Sales is Meaningful Work highlights the fulfilling rewards of a sales career. We’ve even created our own top five Best Things About Being A Salesperson, a quick reminder of why we love what we do.
How have you experienced the sales stereotype over your career? How do you fight it?
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