9 Mistakes Sales Professionals Commit

While every sales professional commits mistake, the great ones learn from their mistakes faster

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By Sharat Sharma


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Do you see inconsistent results in your sales? Did you miss your sales target again this month? The chances are that you are committing mistakes that most sales professional commit. The cost of these mistakes is not just a lot of money but also your motivation. Often these mistakes are identified too late and you end up feeling that you will never bounce back.

The fact is every sales professional commits mistake but the great ones learn from their mistakes faster. Let us look at nine such mistakes sales professionals commit.

You are prospecting inconsistently

While most sales professionals think that they make mistakes during handling objection but in reality the biggest mistake happens while prospecting. Most sales professionals either prospect inconsistently or are poor at prospecting. As a result their pipelines turn dry which impacts profits. This happens usually because of poor discipline towards prospecting. Prospecting is the lifeline of sales and if you fail at prospecting, the whole sales process suffers.

You fail to handle objections

Handling objections is part of the sales process. While most sales professionals try to escape from handling objections, they show up anyhow. So, either stitching all objections into your presentation or being prepared to handle objections are the skills you must master. Having said that, most sales professionals ignore the important skill and are stumped when customers raise objections.

You are generating leads only from two-three sources

Without quality leads, sales bleed. While quality leads are the key, it is also critical that you generate leads from more than five sources. Relying on two-three sources of leads can create bottlenecks in the future. Imagine that you are relying only through word-of-mouth for generating leads. What would happen if you don't receive enough leads through that for couple of months? You end sabotaging your sales numbers.

You are not listening to the customer

To listen, to truly listen to someone, we must be silent—not only outwardly silent, but also inwardly. Listening to what is said and what is unsaid is the key to closing a sale. Many sales professionals are so busy speaking that they miss out on understanding what the customer truly needs. Often customers have many unmet needs that they want you to understand. If you are not listening, you are missing out on your next big deal.

You are targeting the wrong customer

Not everyone is your customer. Some sales professionals are so busy in chasing numbers that they do not spend time in analyzing whether they are chasing a prospect or a suspect. And in certain cases even if they make a sale, the buyer turns out to be tough. These buyers keep you busy with complaints and never get satisfied. These complains steal your time and you miss focusing on new customers. Next time you must always think twice and qualify the customer early or you will end up losing money.

You are giving up too early, follow-up

Persistence is one of the key virtues of a great salesman. In several occasions, what sales professionals miss out on is consistent follow-up. After several contacts they make that meeting happen. However, they get restless after the first meeting and when the decision is delayed they stop following up. It is said that it takes minimum of five follow-up calls after the first meeting to get the sale done.

You treat every sales cycle as same

Let's get this right, your sales cycle is influenced by several parameters. Like the size of the deal, who is involved and type of need, among others. If you consider every sales cycle to be short and you must close it as early as possible, then you are caught in the weird syndrome called "always-be-closing' (ABC). The fact is ABC does not work in every sales cycle. The new-age sales follow "always-be-consulting'. So, when you find yourself treating every sales cycle in the same way, take a pause and reinvent.

You don't have a well-defined sales process

One of the major challenges that most sales leaders complain about is individuals in the team are not following the sales process. If you ask the team members, they often complain that it is the work pressure that keeps them busy. They feel skipping the process and handling things as they come gives them better results. They often stick to the process that they are comfortable with. This gives nightmares to the leader and also those who are involved in the complete process. In fact it is said that "process works, people don't!'

You don't train hard

When it comes to training, I am always reminded of the quote, "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat."

It is true that sales superstars are made in training rooms. Each of the sales superstars train every day before they set out to close more sales. They understand that things are not always the same and it is important that they constantly learn, unlearn and relearn. There are many sales professionals who think that they can wing it with their customers and get them to close the deal.

Sharat Sharma

Co-founder, IAM Human Capital Consulting

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