1. Getting into sales for the money. If you don’t love what you do, you will never achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself, let alone the arbitrary ones your company sets for you (also known as quotas). If you’re in sales for the money, get out now and become a lawyer, or worse, a politician.
2. Failure to realize that their attitude is at the core of their success. A big part of selling is thinking that you can, and a positive anticipation of going into a sales meeting. A big part of selling is expecting a positive outcome. You can’t do any of these without a positive attitude before you start.
3. Blaming other people instead of taking responsibility. It’s real easy for everyone else to be at fault when something goes wrong. People not showing up for work. People not keeping their promises. People not delivering the goods. Or people not doing their homework. Major clue: If you are relying on other people to help make your sale, then you are completely responsible to follow up with them in advance to make certain that they have done their part. Most failures are based on poor communication rather than poor execution.
4. Blaming other circumstances instead of taking responsibility. Our computers are down. Our phones are down. The truck broke down. FedEx didn’t make it. Why don’t you just tell me the dog ate your homework? Just go back to the third grade where you made excuses that were equally as silly. But in the third grade it didn’t matter. Blaming outcomes on “things” only makes you look like an incompetent twit. You’re better off with a response that starts out, “You’re in luck. FedEx didn’t deliver the part, so I went to our competitor, bought what you needed, and am personally going to bring it by this morning so you can have it on time.” WOW!
5. Trying to sell instead of getting people to buy. Too many salespeople have to explain who they are and what they do. Failing to realize that the prospective customer has heard the same pitch 20 times. From my perspective, a sales interview (erroneously known as a sales presentation) should consist of 75% questions. The answers derived from those questions will let the customer and the probable purchaser prove to him or herself the degree of their need, the experiences they’ve had up until now, why you are the best choice, and how they can buy now.
5.5 Not having a deep enough belief in what it is you are selling. It blows me away how few salespeople believe in their own product or service. At a 6 a.m. sales training meeting for a car dealership, I asked 30 salespeople how many of them drove the brand of car that they sold. Half of the room raised their hand. I asked the other half to leave because there was no way they could sell something they didn’t believe in enough to own. If you don’t own what you’re selling, go sell something else.
Salespeople make tons of mistakes. I could talk about giving their price too soon, following up incorrectly, trying to use time worn sales techniques, or not being friendly enough. But if you take the above 5.5 answers to heart, it will lead you to more sales than you can imagine. Those sales will turn into relationships if your belief is deep enough.
Can you think of a few mistakes that didn’t make this small list? Add them to the comment section of this Facebook post from my page: