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The Five Cardinal Sins Salespeople Commit

We have very candid conversations with the sales professionals who come to our seminars and through those discussions we’ve discovered five critical errors that most salespeople make. Of course, we help them correct those mistakes, but it’s somewhat surprising as to how common they are. Here are the mistakes, see if you commit them in your own sales career.

1. Failure to maintain a constant presence in the minds of prospects or customers. Quite simply, this is a failure to prospect consistently both outside and inside of existing accounts.

2. A tendency to focus on process over results. The consequence of this is a poorly executed system of prioritization that virtually cripples the salesperson from delivering effective, bottom line results. In short, they are focused on activities rather than results. As a consequence they believe they’re busy (and they are). They are just busy doing all of the wrong things.

3. Me too thinking. Salespeople fail to be creative and innovative. As a consequence, they don’t differentiate themselves, their products or their organization from everyone else in the pack.

4. Failure to listen. This is, perhaps, the most classic and common error. The salesperson who hears but doesn’t listen. The salesperson who interrupts prospects, delivers solutions that are off-target, or simply overwhelms prospects and customers with verbiage that clearly communicates a failure to have really listened to anything the other person has said.

5. Failure to anticipate. A failure to foresee problems in an account. Missing trends, potential problems, needs or necessary solutions that could forestall problems or head off the loss of accounts. Identifying the problems is one thing. Solving them is, often, quite another. The good news is that awareness is a lot more than 50% of the battle. Are you suffering from some of these maladies? Let’s take a look at a simple quiz that could yield some valuable information for you. - Do you feel that your prospects or customers are driving hard on price? - Do your customers ever buy products or services from other suppliers that you could have provided them? - Do you find you have to revise or redo proposals for prospects? - Have you had prospects reschedule important meetings with you? - Do your prospects submit requests for proposals that you hear about at the last minute? - Do you ever miss out on additional requests for customers? - Have you missed your sales forecasts for at least 2 of the last 4 quotas? - Do you feel that your customers or prospects are looking for deeper, better solutions than what you have been providing them? - Do you feel your prospects or customers get frustrated by errors? - Do you find prospects failing to involve you in their future plans? Any "yes" answer means you may have a problem. You need to go about the business of resolving them to the very best of your ability. Recognition and awareness are essential components of sales success.


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