A while back I listed the Top Ten Mistakes Salespeople Make. Of course, those blunders aren’t the only ones salespeople commonly make. Here are ten more. How many of these mistakes have you committed lately?
1. Not greeting prospects properly
Too many salespeople still greet prospects by asking some variation of “Can I help you?” Of course, the answer is almost always “No.” (Although that’s not as bad as the salesperson I encountered once while mystery shopping who walked right past me and, without breaking stride, said, “You didn’t need any help, did you?”)
2. Pre-judging prospects
Just because a person is wearing ratty jeans and an old T-shirt doesn’t mean they can’t afford what you’re selling. Just because a person looks young doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. And just because a person doesn’t have a fancy title doesn’t mean they don’t have buying authority.
3. Not knowing their product/service
The prospect is counting on you to be an expert. An uninformed salesperson does not inspire confidence.
4. Ignoring women
This is one of the biggest complaints of female buyers. Ironically enough, even female salespeople frequently commit this mistake.
5. Not asking enough questions
Whenever a salesperson pushes a product or service that isn’t a good fit, prospects get annoyed, because their time is being wasted. Prospects would much rather you spend a few extra minutes asking about their wants and needs, so you spend less time pitching the wrong solutions.
6. Talking down to the prospect
A triumph of ego over good sense. Prospects don’t like salespeople who seem arrogant, haughty or supercilious. Prospects also don’t like to feel stupid and will avoid buying from salespeople who make them feel that way.
7. Trying to close too soon
Many salespeople are taught to “Always Be Closing.” But trying to close before the prospect is ready to buy leads to rejection. And once they’ve rejected you, you may not get another chance to close.
8. Fumbling objections
Often, when salespeople encounter an objection, they freak out, believing they’ve just lost the sale. In their panic, they fail to address the objection effectively. Ironically, that often leads to losing the sale.
9. Using clichés
Because everybody uses them so often, words like “quality,” “performance,” and “service” no longer have meaning by themselves. Ditto for phrases like “customer satisfaction” and “best value for the money.” If all you’re doing is speaking in clichés, you’re going to lose out to someone who knows how to actually communicate the value and benefits of their offering.
10. Pressuring the prospect
Nobody likes being pressured, but too many salespeople do it anyway. The fear of losing the sale is so great, they feel compelled to apply pressure to their prospects so they won’t “get away.”
If you’re guilty of making one or more of these mistakes regularly (or irregularly), don’t beat yourself up too much. After all, they’re extremely common, so you have lots of company. But do work to overcome them, because they’re getting in the way of your sales success. Read a book, go to a training seminar or get some individual coaching.
If you’re a sales manager or VP and you’re concerned your people are making these mistakes (or the previous ten), invest in some modern, practical sales training for them. (Preferably training that’s customized to your organization.)
Because not training yourself and your team is one more mistake you don’t want to make.