Bad sales habits can damage your reputation, impede your progress and put a dent in your earnings. It’s important that sales professionals learn how to acknowledge and overcome harmful behaviors, and subsequently replace them with better, more positive and productive practices.
Avoiding a few common pitfalls below will help you change your mindset, develop the right habits and dramatically increase results.
1. Talk more than listen
Let’s face it: the era of the fast-talking, hard-hitting and adamant sales professionals who rely on aggressive, high-pressure sales tactics is gone. Those who still adhere to outdated and old-fashioned methods fall behind their more progressive peers. Sales professionals who realize that the best way to win trust and ingratiate themselves with a buyer cut down on talking and spend more time listening. In fact, great listening skills will help you better identify needs, solve problems and initiate long-standing professional relationships.
In some of our previous articles, we emphasized the significance of “active listening” and its impact on sales outcomes. While many sales professionals understand the importance of listening, some sales reps still don’t pay enough attention to their prospects and spend too much time enthusiastically praising their services. It prevents them from getting to the bottom of the problem and offering the most appropriate solution. Have you ever found yourself on the other end of this type of sales interaction?
2. Poor planning
Think about planning your next day BEFORE you leave office. Learn now to prioritize and write down the most important tasks you need to perform or the biggest issues you have to address. When you come to the office in the morning, you will know exactly what to do and how to start your day, which will give you the energy and the confidence to accomplish more and achieve your objectives faster. This is a better and more efficient alternative to shifting from one task to another or feeling lost and overwhelmed by the growing workload. Simply put, the way you plan your day and stay organized will influence your productivity and improve results.
3. Pursuing “dead” leads
No matter how tenacious you are, following up with prospects that are NOT in the market for your products or services, is not going to get you anywhere. In fact, it’s a complete waste of time. Instead of flogging a dead horse, spend more time investigating new leads, finding new venues to pursue, and spotting new opportunities. There is no shortage of companies and individuals who might benefit significantly from your input. Your job is to find them. So, channel your energy in the right direction and start exploring more exciting and lucrative opportunities that exist in the market.
4. Failure to ask the right questions
Good questions usually lead to insightful answers. If you are determined to provide each prospect with a customized solution that is ideal for their needs, you should put together a list of probing questions and find a way to get to the core of the problem. Some questions should be developed in advance, while others may occur to you during the course of the meeting. Your specific inquiries will not only help you come up with effective solutions, but also allow you to demonstrate your level of competence. Interestingly, a lot of prospects make judgments about potential vendors or sales reps based on the types of questions they ask.
5. Rushing through the sales process
It is obvious that the goal of every sales professional is to make as much money as possible and increase their earnings. They feel a lot of pressure to keep up with peers, get ahead of competitors, and meet rising sales quotas. In an effort to stay ahead of the curve and exceed expectations, some sales professionals try very hard to make more deals and sell faster, while skipping some crucial steps in the sales process and ruining their chances of success.
Prospects may sense desperation and lose interest, which will invariably lead to disappointing scenarios and poor results. Even when the chips are down and the pressure keeps rising, sales professionals should learn how to deal with stress, maintain their composure and patiently go through the whole process, without letting desperation get the best of them.
6. Juggling too many irons in the fire
Keeping your sales pipeline filled at all times is a challenge. Conversely, stuffing your pipeline with too many complex deals is a recipe for disaster. Spend more time cultivating relationships with a few great prospects, who have the need and the budget for your services and give them your very best, rather than stretching yourself too thin and messing up the process. It’s important to keep in mind that you are not the only one involved; your team’s and your company’s reputation are at stake. Therefore, you should always put your best foot forward and give each potential buyer the full attention they deserve.
It is not always the quantity of leads that matters. It’s the quality of the service you provide that will set you apart from your peers and influence your reputation in the workplace.