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We are going to be talking about the five critical mistakes that people make in their sales. I heard sales referred to, by a business person that I have a lot of respect for, as a moving target. It’s ever-evolving. It’s always changing. Markets are shifting.
The strategies that worked 5, 10, 15 years ago don’t necessarily work today. There are principles of human influence at the core which remain the same, but the way that these principles need to be executed to remain effective is constantly changing.
The first mistake you need to avoid in sales is talking too much. Years ago, a good talker and a good salesperson went hand in hand. To some extent this remains true; a good talker with no structured sales approach will come across enthusiastic, but enthusiastically boring.
To be great at sales, you need to know how to string a sentence together. In my experience, the best salespeople are often the best listeners, not the best talkers.
Being able to listen intently, place yourself in another’s shoes, and emotionally relate to your client’s position, is infinitely more powerful than simply being a good talker.
The second mistake is in too much prescribing without enough diagnosing. It is always noticeable when a salesperson jumps the gun to tell someone about their product or service. I have heard it referred to on occasion as premature elaboration. The best salespeople quickly and effectively diagnose before they jump into a product presentation mode.
The third mistake you can make is selling to someone who isn’t a great fit for your product. They simply won’t yield good results, becoming dissatisfied with your product or service and going on to potentially write a bad online review. They’ll go around telling others about their negative experience as well, damaging your word of mouth reputation.
The fourth one is using clichés that put people off. What comes out of your mouth can win someone over or throw them away. Years ago, I had hired a colleague who used to say, “Let’s talk Turkey.” It used to drive me nuts.
I don’t know why that’s an acceptable term because what’s the general connotation of the word Turkey? It’s not that positive. I just couldn’t understand that with the abundance of words available in the English language, there wasn’t a better way of describing the act of chatting to someone about business.
Words are either used constructively, adding to the experience, or destructively, subtracting from the experience. Clichés are worth avoiding. If you’ve got clichés in your industry, then avoid them. It makes you sound like everybody else, use words that distinguish you.
The fifth mistake is lying or not being genuine. This one will be the most detrimental to your sales if left unaddressed. Regardless of how good your sales system is, if you aren’t being yourself and don’t value your product and company, you will lose sales. You need to understand what you sell and be perfectly clear on your own value.
There is certainly a bigger list of mistakes a salesperson can make, but these are definitely some of the biggest ones. So remember, to be a great salesperson, you don’t have to be a great talker. Listen to your client, place yourself in their shoes, and diagnose the problem, before even thinking about prescribing a solution. Using your emotional intelligence to grasp the client’s situation is more powerful than any cliché driven pitch you can deliver.
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