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Top seven most common sales mistakes

I have seen many mistakes salespeople make. The seven most common are:

1) Prefer "MAYBE" vs. getting to "NO".

Prospects are constantly ending the sales call with the -so-prevalent "think it over" line. The salesperson accepts this decision and even sympathizes with the prospect. Why? It's easier to bring back the message to the sales manager that the prospect might buy in the future, rather than saying this prospect is not a candidate for the product or service. Tell the prospect right up front at the start of the call, "It's OK to say no to me if we are not a fit. I don't take no personally and maybes and think-It over's are usually a no in my world."


Salespeople try to tell the prospect the solution before they understand the problem. If salespeople were held accountable for their solutions, as doctors are for their prescriptions, then they would be forced to examine the problem thoroughly before proposing a cure at the risk of malpractice. Ask your prospect right up front, "can I ask you questions to determine if (1) I can or can't help you, and (2) whether there would be a fit there or not for both of us


A statement such as "Your price is too high", salespeople go automatically into a defensive mode. Often they begin a speech on quality or value. "Your price is too high" is not a question...it is a statement. Do not go into "destify" mode. (defend and justify). Ask them, a question about what do they mean by high and does high still mean we won't be working together? High doesn't always mean, I won't buy. It could be a ploy to test you to see if you will cave in to this pressure..

4) Fail to get to get a BUDGET up front.

The amount of money that the prospect sees investing to solve a problem will help you determine whether a solution is feasible, and if so, what approach will match the prospect's ability to pay. Too many salespeople never uncover "early" what budget is the prospect prepared to pursue to solve his/her problems .Have a casual, but straightforward discussion about money "before" you present, not after.

5) TOO MANY FOLLOW-UP CALLS when the sale is actually dead.

Salespeople spend too much time chasing "suspects" not prospects. If the prospect did not have "pain and budget" to solve the pain and the ability to make a decision, they are disqualified! Chasing makes us part of the insect world, "a pest", in the view of the prospect. This is why they hide behind voicemail Going for the no at the end of the call will stop this unprofessional behavior and you can move on to "real" prospects, not "suspects'. Think-It-Over 99 percent of the time is a no!

6) Fail to get a COMMITMENT TO PURCHASE before doing a demonstration.

Salespeople jump at the opportunity to show their product or service. They miss their true goal in making a sale and become "unpaid consultants", often to merely teach their prospect enough to help them buy it from a competitor. Ask your prospects before you present "what's going to happen after I present if you like what you see or hear?" This will require them to give you an answer or commitment of some sort.

7) Work without a SYSTEMATIC APPROACH to selling.

Salespeople find themselves ad-libbing or "going with the flow" to make the sale. Salespeople often leave the sales call without knowing where they are because they don't know where they've been and what is the next step necessary for them. They go straight to what I call, hope-a-hope-a land. Find yourself a powerful selling system that puts you in the control of these seven areas and it will take you to the bank.
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Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com.


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