Common Mistakes People Make in Sales

When people enter sales, they usually know it’s not going to be a cakewalk. Selling can be a difficult task. Often new salespeople will develop a plan of attack when they start and dive headlong into the business of getting a sale. The problem with rushing headlong into anything is it often leads headlong into mistakes. Here are some of the most common reasons new salespeople run headlong into “NO”.

  1. Talk AND listen.

When you know your product and you know what you want to say about it, it’s easy to start talking and not stop. You’re a little bit nervous and the words just start tumbling out of your mouth. In a Yahoo article about The 5 Worst Sales Sins, Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec has this to say:

“Every sales meeting has a natural dance to it, a cadence” Herjavec says. “To understand which way it’s going and what you’re trying to get out of it requires listening more than talking.”

While talking about your product is important, the best way to learn about how you can help your customer is to listen to them. It’s a balance that can be hard to find, but once you do, you’ll find making the sale much easier.

  1. Focus on Your Goal

With everything a sales-person has to keep in mind going into a meeting or in talking to a customer, the one thing they have to make sure not to lose track of is their goal. Is it a sale? Is it the promise of a follow-up? Whatever your goal is, make sure that before the meeting is over you’ve asked for it. In an article for Inc. Jeff Hoffman points out that:

“Mediocre sales reps are happy with, ‘Thanks for your time, and I’ll be in touch,'” says Hoffman. “If you don’t ask for anything, you won’t get anything.”

While it can feel more important to make a good impression and have a good chat, there’s one reason you’re engaging the customer. Always keep that in mind and make sure you’re ready to make the ask.

  1. Be Prepared

You can never be too prepared. Not only do you need to know what you’re going to say, what questions might be asked of you and what you’ll wear; you’ll want to know everything you can. Take this short tale from

“I remember calling a prospect expecting to receive his voice mail. That meant I was completely unprepared when he answered the call himself. Instead of asking him a series of qualifying questions I simply responded to his questions, allowing him to control the sale. Unfortunately, I didn’t progress any further than that initial call.”

Being prepared means not only knowing all you can about your own product or service, but everything you can learn about your prospective customer. Be as prepared as possible before heading into the conversation.

  1. Fixing Your Mistakes

If you recognize these things as mistakes you’re making, don’t worry. If you are making them, chances are it is a common mistake and other people are making them too and likely easy to fix. Remember to focus on your goal, and to listen to the customer. Make both of those things easier by being as prepared as you can possibly be. Fixing these common mistakes will help you make more sales and more contacts before you know it.

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