It’s hard not to make assumptions about the sales industry. If you were to ask a group of individuals to write down the first thing that comes to mind when you say the word “salesperson,” here are some of the things you’d get: greedy, pushy, talk too much, aggressive, money hungry, egotistical, annoying – and that’s just to name a few.

But, really. I mean, come on. These clichés are offensive and unfair. Stubborn sales stereotypes prevent both colleagues and customers from seeing the very real value that professional salespeople continuously add. Here are the top 5 sales myths debunked.

Salespeople are born, not made. Some people are just naturally good at connecting with other people.  They can talk about anything to anyone at any time.  But, in no way does that mean they would make a good salesperson… While people skills are important for a sales professional, becoming a truly great salesperson requires training and knowledge. Salespeople aren’t born. They’re made.

Salespeople need to be aggressive. Maybe at some point in the past, salespeople could make more sales based on how aggressive they got with their prospects.  Nowadays, that just doesn’t work.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  The more aggressive salespeople get with their clients, the more likely it is that those clients will go running for the hills.  Yes, you should be persistent. However, there’s a line, ladies and gentleman.  Respect the line.

Salespeople don’t need industry knowledge. People like to think that they can skate by on baseline knowledge of whatever it is they’re selling. That is certainly not the case. To sell things in the modern world, you need to know more than the consumer… and these days, the consumer knows a lot. Ever heard of Google? On top of that, if you truly want to help a person and sell them what they actually need, you need to know what you’re selling. You need to know what’s relevant. You need to know what’s working. And you need to know what you’re doing.

All anyone ever needs is a hard close. If you think a sale is ever in need of a hard close, then something went wrong or it just wasn’t meant to be. You can’t expect to win everyone over just because you had a really good close. To sell something properly, you must first build a relationship. Get to know them, go on a couple of dates and then you can go in for the sale. Don’t expect to always get lucky with those one-night stands.

Selling is a verb. Actually, selling is the end result of many different actions that happen across an entire organization. It is not a verb. It involves research, time, fine-tuning, and preparation. It’s an art and a science that not everyone can master.