Are Any Of These Misconceptions About Sales Holding You Back?

​This week on Agencies Drinking Beer, Kevin and Kyle interview Chris Spurvey, VP of Business Development at KPMG in St John’s, Newfoundland. Chris also works on a personal passion project to empower people to embrace their inner salesperson. Chris talks about his belief that we are all natural born salespeople, and about the misconceptions people have about selling and the sales process. You’ll also hear about how the Electrolux vacuum salesman who visited Chris’ house when he was a child almost scarred him for life.

Agencies Drinking Beer Episode 19: Are Any of these misconceptions about sales holding you back?


Chris Spurvey is on a mission to help salespeople and entrepreneurs get over their fear of sales. Chris believes that we are all natural born salespeople but as we grow up we experience things in life and we develop a vision of ourselves that moves us away from our natural born skills. Chris wants to change all that.

“Most people think it’s below them to be a salesperson. Then you’re into the pushing mindset. No one wants to be pushed or be pushing. We want to be doing sales in a way that is aligned with our personality types and not pushing at all.”

Chris’ day job as VP of Business Development at KPMG in St. John’s, Newfoundland involves mentoring consultants and managers in the area of BD and sales, with his main focus in IT advisory. But according to Chris, sales wasn’t always easy for him. In fact, when he first started he fell flat on his face.

But Chris has spent the past 15 years honing his skills and now he has a blog and a podcast dedicated to helping people sell better, plus he’s writing a book called It’s Time to Sell: Cultivating the Sales Mindset.

Scarred by Slimey Sales

At one point Chris realized that one of the things that was holding him back from success in sales was an incident that happened when he was a child. One Sunday evening an Electrolux vacuum salesman knocked on the door and his parents let him in (cuz Newfoundlanders are very friendly, if you didn’t know already).

Once the guy got rolling on his pitch there was no stopping him. Chris remembers how the salesman had an answer for every question his parents asked, that he was slick and slimey, how he prevented his parents from communicating with each other one-on-one to discuss the purchase, and how tense his parents were.

The tragedy was that Chris’ parents ended up buying a $2,000 vacuum, which from a financial perspective they did not want to buy, because it was the only way they could get rid of the salesman. Then Chris watched how this unwanted purchase caused arguments and tension between his parents for the next few months.

That experience had such a profound effect on Chris that he never wanted to be in sales or be like that salesman.

And Chris believes there are many experiences that happen to us throughout our lives that influence our vision of ourselves that can ultimately hold us back from achieving success.

According to Chris, you need to create an ‘inner game’ of sales whereby you change early beliefs you have about yourself and others, and develop self-motivation through creativity, enthusiasm, and visioning. This self-motivation helps you push forward with consistency on a daily basis.

So how do we create this self-motivation?

For Chris, the key to self-motivation lies in creating a vision for your life that is something more than you currently have. Without this, you’re going to continue to waffle and look at your current situation as ‘good enough’.

You need to create a new vision of yourself that includes reprogramming beliefs that sales is something you have to push on people to get them to change their minds. The vision should be more of a partnership scenario where you are of service to your prospective clients.

Over time, this mindset will start to change your activities and move you in that more positive vision you have for yourself and your life.

The myth of introvert vs. extrovert in sales

Chris talks about how most people think effective salespeople have to be uber extroverts but this just isn’t true. Turns out the most effective salespeople are closer to introverts.

Chris says he’s more of an introvert and that he’s not naturally good at getting out to meet new people in large groups and talking to them but he has a system called FORM that gives him a framework.

FORM stands for family, occupation, recreation, and motivation. Chris choses one of this avenues to strike up a conversation with someone that has nothing to do with sales. FORM gives him a framework to be more natural and personal in his approach and helps get over any fears.

What’s Chris’ best advice to being great at sales?

If you want to be truly effective at sales, you need to be listening first. Become a better listener.
  • What are your best tips for being an effective salesperson?
  • What are your best tips for being an effective salesperson?
  • How have you overcome misconceptions about selling?

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Are Any Of These Misconceptions About Sales Holding You Back?

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