1. THE 10 BIGGEST SALES
MISTAKES TO AVOID
Following are the ten most common mistakes made in sales. You can
learn from these mistakes so your journey to success in sales can be
shorter and much more enjoyable.
In some cases, the primary contact a business has with the outside
world is through its sales and service people — and the only reason
those companies have salespeople is for them to sell the product or
service. How this is evolving with technology is that everyone in the
company is involved in selling the brand and its products. Everyone
who does anything that touches buyers is technically in sales.
Everyone needs to know the demographic audience for the company’s
product and work to understand what they really want and need — not
necessarily new features, but the benefits derived from those features.
THINKING YOU’RE A SALES NATURAL
Sales skills are not a gift of birth. They are learned skills that anyone
can master with a little study and work. Start watching others in
persuasive situations wherever you go. Ask yourself why some
persuaders are good and why some are bad.
2. You will find that identifying why they are bad is much easier — when
persuaders are bad, you can usually tell that they’re incompetent, that
they don’t know what they’re talking about, or that they’re just making
mistakes in general. But when salespeople are well trained and highly
skilled, things seem to move forward so smoothly that spotting the
sale happening is almost impossible. That’s why you tend to think of
these people as naturals.
Even though they may be naturally comfortable talking with others, the
actual skill of persuading must be learned, just as the ins and outs of
the product or service must be learned in order to succeed.
TALKING TOO MUCH AND NOT LISTENING
Most people think that you have to be a good talker in order to
persuade others. A typical “good talker” thinks that he can tell the
customer enough about the product that he will automatically buy it.
But the truth is just the opposite. When you’re talking, you’re only
telling what you already know. You’re learning little about the buyer.
Ask questions, and you discover what your potential clients want to
own. Then, you can start selling them on the benefits of your product.
Professional sales training involves more questioning and listening
techniques than it does speaking skills. It’s knowing the proper
questions to ask, not just talking, that leads to closed sales. A
salesperson who has been trained to ask questions leads the buyer
down the path to the sale. He doesn’t push him down that path.
3. USING WORDS THAT KILL SALES
In any presentation you make, your words paint pictures. And a few
wrong word pictures can ruin the entire portrait you’re trying to paint.
How many presentations do you suppose are made daily that don’t
succeed just because of the sales‐killing pictures that the presenter’s
words paint, like referring to a “contract” someone has to “sign” to
have a product installed? By using the wrong words, salespeople
create negative pictures in the minds of the people they strive to serve
— giving them more reasons not to go ahead than to get involved.
NOT KNOWING WHEN TO CLOSE THE
Most customers who leave a place of business without owning a
product or service are shrugged off by untrained salespeople as being
“just lookers.” or “be‐backs,” or any number of other euphemisms that
hide the basic fact that the salesperson did not do the job as well as it
could have been done. A professional salesperson, however, prefers
to see such customers as what they really are: lost sales.
Ask for your prospect’s decision when you recognize his buying signs,
such as asking more questions the answers to which he needs to
know when he owns it or using language that shows an attitude of
ownership, such as, “Yessir, that Van Gogh original certainly will
enhance our living room.” Your prospect may ask questions that refer
to delivery, such as “Is it in stock?” or “Is there a delivery charge?”
When you see such signs, yes is usually right around the corner.
4. NOT KNOWING HOW TO CLOSE THE SALE
In many cases, all you have to do to close the sale is ask. If a
customer asks, “Do you have it in red?” and you say, “I believe I do
have a red one,” what do you gain? Nothing.
Why not ask this instead:
If I have the red one, do you want to take it with you today, or shall I
Let me check on our color selection. By the way, would you like it gift‐
In other words, ask a question that moves the prospect into a position
of having to make an either/or decision about ownership.
If you’re trying to persuade someone else to adopt your point of view,
to own your product, or to start an account with your service, you must
first help him to see that you’re talking with him for his benefit, not
Never let greed get in the way of doing what’s right. If you don’t
sincerely believe that what you have to offer is good for the other
party, yet you still try to convince him to own, one of two things will
5. He’ll recognize your insincerity, not get involved with you, and tell
at least 11 other people how terrible his experience with you
was, thus ruining your reputation.
He’ll be persuaded even though what you’re selling isn’t good for
him, perceive you as nothing more than a con artist, and take
every measure possible to see that you’re punished as one.
FAILING TO PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
When you wing it on your presentations, skim over details, and ignore
important cues from others, you also skim over big potential wins for
yourself. Lost or misplaced information and orders, correspondence
with typographical errors, and missed appointments or delivery dates
all ruin your credibility with your clients.
They also take away from the high level of competence professionals
strive so hard to display. If your clients don’t have the impression that
you’re doing your best for them, they’ll find someone who will —
maybe even someone else in your own office. Ooh, that would hurt,
LETTING YOURSELF SLUMP
Getting out of a slump takes a lot out of you, both mentally and
physically. Why put yourself through hard times when with a little bit of
diligence you can keep things on an even keel instead?
NEGLECTING TO KEEP IN TOUCH
6. Most people who switch from your product, service, or idea to another
do so because you’re being apathetic and someone else is paying
them more attention. Someone else is keeping in contact on a regular
basis and making them feel important. When all it takes is a bit of
regular contact to keep people doing business with you, why would
you ever get so lazy as to let them go?
All you need to do is schedule two or three quick phone calls to say,
“Diane, this is Tom from ABC Company. I’m just calling to see if you’re
still enjoying the increased productivity and cost savings with your new
software. If all is well, I won’t keep you. I just wanted to touch base
with you and thank you once again for your business.” These words
take about 12 seconds to say, and that 12‐second investment is well
worth it if it keeps a client happy.