5 Biggest Sales Mistakes to Avoid [MUST KNOW]

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Biggest Sales Mistakes #1: Hoping for leads.

This is one of the most common—and obvious—mistakes that salespeople make over and over again. At the time of writing this, we’re in a particularly unstable market where there’s a lot of transition. Much of the business world is in upheaval. During times like these, the huge mistake of hoping for leads is more pronounced than at any other time.

You must have the entire process laid out, from start to finish, in an easily repeatable way. When are you making calls? What does your script look like? What do your emails say? How will you potentially automate your outreach? How ill you use social media? Your prospecting blueprint should answer all of these questions, taking the “hope” out of lead generation and replacing it with a real, hard strategy.

Biggest Sales Mistakes #2: Trying to educate your prospect.

There are a bunch of sales gurus out there who say salespeople should be educating their prospects. I want to be very clear: I strongly disagree with that.

In fact, trying to educate your prospect is one of the biggest sales mistakes you can make.

The best way to get prospects engaged in that conversation is by demonstrating some quick insight up front to get them thinking, “Oh, this person knows what they’re talking about, so I’m willing to talk with them and answer some of their questions.”

But we don’t want to educate.

When you try to educate your prospect, the conversation becomes all about you and what you know. That’s not the point. They are not yet a customer; they are a prospect. You can educate your customers, but you should focus on demonstrating insight with your prospects. No exceptions.

Biggest Sales Mistakes #3: Pitching your offering.

The idea of pitching your offering actually goes back to the year 1887, when National Cash Register (NCR) launched their initial sales training. That first training was all about pitching the NCR cash register—literally a manual cash register, which so few of us ever even see anymore.

However, in more recent years, buyers have become incredibly wary of the hardcore pitch. It’s an automatic red flag for most prospects. And for that reason, pitching is now one of the biggest sales mistakes you can make.

The goal is not to pitch your offering, but instead to demonstrate insight and then engage prospects in a conversation so you can understand what's going on in their world—and how your offering might actually be able to help them.

Biggest Sales Mistakes #4: Going for the close.

It’s crazy to me that there are still salespeople out there who are exclusively focused on how to close their prospects.

Those early sales mistakes are what cause you to fail to get commitment from prospects at the end of the conversation. Perhaps you’re not taking the time to really understand what’s going on in their world, or you’re pitching instead of focusing on engaging them in a conversation. Or maybe you’re failing to demonstrate insight that proves you can solve their problems.

Then when it comes time for you to try to close the sale, the prospect might say something like, "Oh, this was great, but I really need to think about it," or "I need to run this by my partner," or "I need to share this with my team before we can move forward."

Those excuses, and others like them, are really just lies. These objections at the end of the sale are merely proxies for what the prospect really thinks, which is: “I don’t want to do business with you. I don’t find this compelling and I don’t want to move forward.”

Old-school closing techniques that focus on getting the prospect to sign the dotted line at the end of the conversation are just putting tons of pressure on the prospect—and that will only further repel them from ever doing business with you.

Biggest Sales Mistakes #5: Blaming the marketplace for lost business.

Blaming the marketplace for lost business is another one of the biggest sales mistakes that salespeople make. I'm hearing this excuse from salespeople a lot right now, at a time when the market is unstable and there are some crazy disruptions going on in the world.

No matter what the circumstances in the marketplace, though, salespeople have one of two choices. They can either continue to blame the marketplace for lost sales, or they can take control over their financial and selling destiny. 

The salespeople who are blaming the marketplace right now are the same salespeople who will not be in sales one year from now. You must stop blaming external factors and instead focus on what you can control.

There are salespeople in every single industry who are crushing it right now. Don't give into the sorry excuse of blaming your lost business on what’s going on in the world. Focus on what you can control.

Creators and Guests

Marc Wayshak
Marc Wayshak
Founder of Sales Insight Labs | Host of Data Driven Selling Podcast | Sales Data Geek
Cameron Stack
Cameron Stack
Producer | Partner at Podcast Sins Production and Strategy Firm
5 Biggest Sales Mistakes to Avoid [MUST KNOW]
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