The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make That Cause Them to Lose Sales

February 3, 2017

Being a salesperson can be a complicated profession, especially since there is so much contradictory information on how to sell, and what techniques work for helping a salesperson make more sales, and the common mistakes salespeople make that cause them to lose sales. In this article we are going to discuss the top 10 most common mistakes salespeople make that can cause them to lose sales.

1. You Allow The Prospect to Lead the Sales Process

It's very easy during the sales process to let the prospect take control and lead the discussion. It can happen due to the prospect's personality or their experience dealing with salespeople. It could also be because of the salesperson's inability to ask the right questions to move the sale forward.

The best way to maintain control of the sale from the very start is to make sure that you're asking the right questions -- quality questions that will provide you with quality answers from the person you are selling to. By asking quality questions you'll have far better control over the outcome of your sales interaction with your prospect, and the number of sales you make will increase. A great book that will teach you the best questions to ask a prospect to move a sale forward is, "SPIN SELLING" by Neil Rackham.

2. You Did Not Do Your Research

It's a cliche, but like many cliches, it holds truth that, "if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail." In sales that's very much the case because inadequate preparation and research is one of the leading causes of why salespeople lose sales.

As an example, when first making contact with a prospect, how much research have you done into their business and into them personally so you can better connect with them during the sales process and understand their needs and how your product or service can best fulfill their needs? Being lazy and not researching your prospect's business and their professional and personal background prior to meeting with your prospect is a common trait of unsuccessful salespeople. With research tools like a company's website and you have no excuse for not researching your prospect's professional and personal background as well as the company they work for prior to meeting with them.

3. You are Talking Too Much Instead of Listening

Passion and enthusiasm for your product or service are some of the most important qualities to be successful in sales, and never let anyone tell you not to be enthusiastic when selling! It's better to be too enthusiastic than to be dull, robotic or uninterested in what you're selling. You can't expect the prospect to be excited about your product or service if you're not excited.

However, sometimes a side effect of that excitement and passion is making the common mistake of talking too much and not listening to the prospect's needs and issues that they want to discuss. The most effective salespeople listen much more than they talk, letting the prospect talk about their needs, lifestyle, concerns, activities, and how they want the product or service to work for them. In sales remember the golden rule of you have two ears and one mouth, and therefore you should listen twice as much as you talk.

So, be enthusiastic but don't talk more than your prospect, and certainly don't drown out the useful information the prospect will be giving you about how they want you to engage with them during the sales process.  The keys are to be enthusiastic, ask good questions to move the sale forward, and LISTEN twice as much as you talk.

4. You are Sharing Irrelevant Information

A similar mistake to talking too much is sharing too much irrelevant information about your product, service, company, or yourself during the sales process. For example, you may sell a low-cost widget, and while making your sales presentation to a prospect you go into a detailed and long winded pitch about your company, their financial data, and other details that are not of interest to someone who is engaging with you on the basis of a simple purchase. Often, by talking too much and sharing too much irrelevant information, you can bore a prospect so much that they change their mind about buying from you and decide not to buy.

We've all been in that situation with a salesperson who won't stop talking and is boring us to death, and we want to say "I want to buy the product now, and I don't need to hear this other stuff!" So, as a salesperson, if you ever hear, "why are you telling me this?" or you see it communicated in their eyes or body language that your prospect is getting bored and/or irritated, stop your sales presentation and ask them if they are ready to purchase now and complete the sale. 

5. You Neglect Your Sales Pipeline

It's very easy to focus only on the hot prospects you are sure will buy now and you neglect building your sales lead pipeline that will bring in future sales. Prospecting often gets neglected: if you're having a great month selling and completing sales with existing leads, you often forget that you need to keep growing your sales pipeline with new prospects to nurture for future sales.

So how do you balance your time between completing sales now and building your pipeline for future sales? The system that many successful salespeople use is they work on prospecting for new leads in the morning and then they meet with hot prospects and close deals in the afternoon. The reason for this is because you want to get your most difficult work done first thing in the morning so you can get it over with. Then, your afternoon is filled with the much more enjoyable part of selling, which is meeting with hot prospects and closing deals. To learn more about how to prospect to fill your sales pipeline with quality leads, we recommend you study these two outstanding sales trainers - Jill Konrath and Grant Cardone.

6. You Fail to Ask for the Sale - You Don't "Close"

One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is they don't ask their prospect to buy, known as "closing." Instead, they just hope the prospect will magically tell them they are ready to buy. This rarely happens. As a salesperson it is YOUR JOB to help the prospect make a purchasing decision now, and that means you need to ask them to buy.  To do this you must ask your prospects to buy at least a couple of times during your sales interaction with them. This can done by saying things like, "it sounds like this XYZ 2000 widget is exactly what you have been looking as it can do everything you said you want it to do. Let's have you sign a couple of papers so we can deliver it to your home/business tomorrow."

If asking your prospects to make a purchasing decision makes you nervous or uncomfortable, or you are just too scared to do it, read "The Closer's Survival Guide" by Grant Cadone. It will teach you step by step exactly how to ask your prospects to buy, and how to do it in a way that feels natural and helps you complete a very high percentage of sales.

7. You Make Promises You or Your Company Can't Keep 

If you make a promise which you or the company you work for cannot keep, your client won’t trust you the next time you promise them something. Always know the features, benefits, prices, and policies of the products or services you sell and NEVER exaggerate or tell lies.  Depending on the type of promise you make, you may even have a lawsuit on your hands if you can't follow through with the things you promised to your client. Nobody wants to be lied to. Nobody wants to be cheated. Nobody wants to spend money based on lies they were told by the sales representative they purchased from. As a professional salesperson you must always be honest with your prospects and clients. This presents you as an ethical sales professional and helps build your reputation as a person who can be trusted and counted on.

8. You Don't Pay Attention To What Your Prospects and Clients are Saying

Your clients want to know that you care about them. They want to know that you are focusing your undivided attention on them. And, they want to know that you are listening to them and you understand what they are saying. Unfortunately, too many salespeople interrupt their prospects and clients, or they simply don't pay attention to what their clients or prospects are saying.  This is incredibly rude and unprofessional, and the customer always knows when you're not listening to what they are saying.  

If you want to make a lot more sales, you need to give your prospects and clients your undivided attention and listen intently to what they are saying so you can understand their needs and empathize with with. When listening, write down and repeat their questions and what they saying to you so you can be sure to understand them clearly. If you are confused, ask them to please repeat what they are saying. This will help you communicate with each other, avoid frustration, and show them you truly care about helping them.

9. You Make Something Up When You Are Asked a Question You Don't Know the Answer to

The worst thing you can do if you are asked a question that you don't know the answer to is to make something up. Instead of making something up, say, "That's a great question. To give you the correct answer I will need to talk to an expert at our company."  Saying this helps gain your client's trust and protects you from saying something that is incorrect and could get you or your company in trouble. Make sure that you find out the correct answer for them and let them know as soon as you find the answer. If possible, make a phone call right there in front of them to show that you have their best interest in mind and you really want to find the correct information they need right away.

10. You Argue With Your Prospect or Client

One of the biggest turn-offs for a prospect or client is when a salesperson argues with them. Many clients already know what they want and they have their mind set. If you try to tell them they are wrong, and they need more product or a different product, this can be a huge turn-off and make them angry.

When your client knows what they want, just listen to them and agree with them. If you argue with your client, they will almost certainly NOT buy from you and buy from either a different salesperson at your company or buy from one of your competitors.

The fact of the matter is, nobody likes to be told they are wrong. As a rule, never disagree with or argue with a prospect or client. If you do not agree with something they say, simply keep your mouth shut or say something like, "I understand where you are coming from." NEVER disagree or argue with them or you can be guaranteed they will NOT buy from you. You will be amazed at how many more people will buy from you if you simply agree with what they say. Agreeing helps you make sales, arguing makes you lose sales.

In summary, know your closing techniques and practice them as much as you can so you are confident and comfortable asking your prospects and clients for their business. It doesn't matter the exact technique you use as long as you are asking good questions and you ask for the sale. If you don't ask for the sale, you won't get the sale, and your career as a salesperson will be short lived and very unsuccessful.

Article References

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