The world of sales can be fast paced and excited, but it also has it's pitfalls. It is easy to get burnt out and find yourself in a rut and even fall into some bad habits that make you lose sales. Recently I was reading an article about A Salesperson's 7 Deadly Sins at Harvard Business Review, and it got me thinking about the mistakes that most of us are guilty of at some time or another.
Here are the 5 worst mistakes that a salesperson can make-
Chatting too much- Many salespeople are guilt of nervous chatter, thinking that the more you tell a customer about a product or service, the more likely they will decide to buy it. It really doesn't work that way, and often you can talk yourself right out of a sale. Ideally, you want to make the sale after having listened to the customer much more than you have talked to them.
Getting Lazy- So you made some great commissions this quarter. What are you doing now to work on next quarter? People who excel in a sales environment typically have fast paced, dynamic personalities. While this can help the make the sale, it is this same strength that can make them not so good at planning ahead and even get them frozen into inactivity. It is a challenge to keep motivated and looking the bigger picture, but it is necessary in order to keep meeting new goals.
Poor product knowledge- If you don't know a product inside and out, it is difficult to overcome objections and show the customer how the product will help solve their problems. One of the biggest complaints that customers have in regards to salespeople is that it is frustrating to try to get information from someone who obviously doesn't know the product and is just talking but not answering your specific questions. If you don't know a particular product well, one of the best ways to handle it is to say “I am not sure, let me find out for you.”. Using this phrase, you can reassure the client that you are looking out for their best interests and instil confidence that you will make sure that they are making the right decision for them.
Making assumptions- This goes hand in hand with poor product knowledge. Making an assumption that you know something, but really don't is one of the worst mistakes a salesperson can make. Don't make your best guess at something, take the time to find out the answer. Making assumptions about your customer, their willingness to buy, their needs or their feelings about a product all can lead you to losing a sale. I am sure you remember the great moment in Pretty Woman, when Julia Robert's walks into Channel and tells the salesperson what a big mistake she made by refusing to sell clothes to her. The salesperson was guilty of making an assumption about the client, and ended up losing a huge sale. Don't let this happen to you. Take the time to find out by asking questions.
Ignorance- This is by far the worst mistake. When you don't know what is going on, you might as well not even be at work. Whatever is going on with your company, whether it is a promotion, a new discount, a mention in the media or a new line of products, it is your job to know what is happening. This mistake also goes for business clients. If you have a business client, you need to figure out a way to be in the know about what is going on with that company as well, so that you can better anticipate their needs and get ahead of the curve when it comes to making the sale.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a freelance writer and regular contributor to several websites and other publications, a volunteer, a full time mom and an active job seeker.