Make more sales by avoiding some common blunders

April 25, 2011
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Think about the last 25 sales you didn’t make. What happened? Why didn’t you make them?

Did you study the problem, or just blame the symptoms? Symptoms like: Couldn’t get an appointment, unreturned phone calls, deleted emails, lost to competition — and the worst symptom of all, lost on price.

Typically, salespeople blame circumstances rather than take responsibility when a sale is lost. I have never heard a salesperson say, “Jeffrey, I didn’t make the sale, and it was all my fault.”

Wake up and smell the Pop-Tarts! You didn’t make the sale because the prospect wasn’t interested in doing business with you for one of two dozen or more reasons. Your job is to identify those reasons, take responsibility for them, figure out a better way and master correct responses.

I’m about to share common mistakes that salespeople make. You make them, too. I am listing as many as possible so you can pick out the ones that apply to you, specifically. But I promise you will overlook some. Reason: You think I’m incorrect to list them. Hint: Those are your biggest mistakes to include, improve and study.

1. Using closing techniques. Why would you use time-worn, awkward phrases that manipulate the customer and make everyone uncomfortable?

2. Asking the same questions everyone asks. Why are you asking questions you could have found the answers to online? Why aren’t you seizing the opportunity to engage more intellectually and emotionally?

3. Asking questions (the answers of which are none of your business) about money to try to “qualify” the buyer. You have accomplished nothing and have failed to understand that the buyer is also qualifying you.

4. Comparing yourself to, rather than differentiating yourself from, the competition. No memorability anywhere.

5. Downing the competition. Makes you look bad — and suspect.

6. Trying to “find the pain” rather than building rapport and finding the pleasure. Pleasurable things build rapport and help establish a relationship.

7. Meeting with a non-decision-maker. Why?

8. Trying to go over someone’s head to the “real” decision-maker. Too late, you should have started higher in the first place.

9. Talking about your personal life or prejudices. Not good, ever.

10. Blaming the prospect for your issues. Issues like: wouldn’t make an appointment, didn’t respond to an email, didn’t return my call, blah, blah.

11. Not knowing the difference between you’re and your. Misspelled words and poor grammar make you look stupid and lazy.

12. Delivering your sales message, not their buying message. Why are you making a “sales presentation” without understanding why the prospect may want to buy?

13. Making excuses for what went wrong. Not taking responsibility for what you could have done to change it.

14. Failure to talk about outcome and ownership. You sell for a few hours, they buy and use for months, maybe years. Talk about that. Sometimes outcome is misunderstood because you’re focusing on negative issues.

15. Having boring slides. Where’s the engagement in your presentation? What’s different on the slide than I could have found online?

16. Trying to “type” the prospect. Don’t “type” anyone, just like them and find a few things in common.

17. Trying to “mirror” the prospect. Welcome to the 1950s.

18. Offering no perceived value. When value is missing, all that’s left is price.

19. Believing price is the issue. Price is in your mind way more than it is their mind. Price is only the issue 30 percent of the time or less. Where’s the value?

20. Making dumb, or even worse, insincere follow-ups. Trying to disguise the fact you’re just asking for the money.

21. Thinking you’re smarter than the customer. Don’t flatter yourself.

22. Failure to Google yourself. Your customer is.

23. Failure to provide proof that you are what you say you are. Testimonials are the only proof you’ve got. Why aren’t you using them to make sales?

23.5 The opposite of blame is responsibility. The more you blame price, circumstances and other people for your inability to make a sale, the more your income will suffer. The first step to mastering salesmanship is to accept responsibility for what happens, learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

What to do next? Well, the above 23.5 issues contain clues about what to do. But the following 2.5 things will help you understand the bigger picture:

1. If you make a sale, you earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune. Build relationships and you’ll build wealth.

2. Dale Carnegie’s immortal book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has a two-word core message that tells you how to win as a person and as a salesperson: Be yourself!

2.5 There is a more obvious strategy for conducting yourself in the business world: Do the right thing all the time.

Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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