The following seven mistakes made in sales happen to everyone, whether one is a sales veteran or just beginning.
Mistakes made in sales happen to everyone, whether one is a sales veteran or just beginning. The key is not to let mistakes made in sales crowd out your successes by diligently avoiding the mistakes that are easiest to make – and circumvent. The following seven mistakes made in sales fall into this category.
You are most likely using data collection tools to track your leads and sales prospects, but are you putting these tools to work with current customers? Your current customers are not only a source of business but a source of new business as well. Mistakes made in sales with existing customers can have lasting repercussions, so make sure that you are collecting data and periodically following up on the changing needs of your existing customers.
Every sales person loves to land a sales whale, the client who alone can create a record quarter or even year. These are great clients to have but unless the industry you are working in is only suitable for large clients with long sales cycles, small clients are also important. A small deal alone might not help you break any records, but if you have enough small deals the picture enlarges. Avoid the mistakes made in sales when sales people only focus on the record breakers and aim to achieve an even mix of small and large customers.
Electronic communications have made it possible to reach more prospects in less time than ever before. However, overreliance on electronic communication is one of the top mistakes made in sales. In-person contact with your sales opportunities is irreplaceable, especially when there are opportunities for outsized deals. Put in the additional effort to touch base in person to realize the pay off of the personal touch.
One of the cardinal mistakes made in sales is answering questions that a prospect has not even asked. This is likely to occur when a prospect makes a position statement such as “I’m not sure we need to make the switch.” A sales person who answers statements mistakenly reinterprets this as “Do we need to make the switch?” and will jump into the sales script. A better approach to avoid these kinds of mistakes made in sales is to ask a question, like “Referring back to our conversation about efficiency, what might you lose by keeping things the same?”
You can only be sure that your prospect is qualified to buy if he or she is ready and willing to commit to outlaying the necessary capital to acquire your offering. You may make an educated guess beforehand, but unless you have talked to the prospect about price you can’t yet know that he or she has the budget for the acquisition. Don’t let price avoidance be one of the mistakes made in sales that impact your numbers. Bring price to the forefront at the earliest appropriate time.
Calling at inopportune times and calling too frequently are common mistakes made in sales. To be the most effective sales person you can be, try to schedule all of the calls you make to the individual needs of your leads, prospects, and customers. You will make more connections and spend less time in follow up if you simply ask about best times to call up front.
Perhaps because sales people hear ‘no’ more often than they would like, there is a tendency to overcompensate by saying ‘yes’ too frequently. ‘Yes’ is not always the right answer; sometimes there are valid reasons to decline an opportunity. If the prospect is not qualified, not ready, or not equal to competitive opportunities on which you are already working, don’t be afraid to substitute other answers for ‘yes’ if it’s the right thing to do.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.