The sales profession doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation. The industry is fraught with sales people who will say or do anything to close a deal and this includes companies who condone such behaviour. Unfortunately, you might also be guilty of some bad sales habit—habits that could be affecting your reputation.
Here are seven sales habits that might be giving you a bad reputation.
1. Pitching too soon
The vast majority of sales people pitch their product or service too soon. As a result, they end up pitching the wrong solution or they fail to effectively position their solution because they haven’t taken the time to conduct a thorough discovery to determine if the prospect actually has a need for their solution.
2. Opening your pitch by talking about your company
I’m flabbergasted by the number of sales people (and company executives) who still believe this is the best way to open a sales presentation. They use valuable time talking about their company and its achievements instead of focusing on what is important to their prospect…a solution to a problem.
3. Failing to listen
Too many salespeople don’t listen to their customers or prospects and that means they fail to address the key issues that their customer has stated as being important. It sounds simple but it is a common occurrence in the business world. One of the easiest ways to connect with a decision maker is to carefully listen to what they tell you.
4. Not understanding key business issues
In today’s highly competitive business world, sales people are expected to have a strong grasp of issues that are affecting their prospect’s business and/or industry. Bringing new insights to the table can help you stand out from your competition and improve your reputation as a sales professional.
5. Not asking enough high-value questions
It still amazes me how many salespeople think that telling is selling but your prospect or customer should be doing most of the talking in a sales conversation. The key is to ask high-value, thought-provoking questions that get your prospect thinking.
6. Delivering a generic presentation
The objective of a sales presentation is to demonstrate why your prospect should buy your product, service, solution or offering. Unfortunately, very few sales people craft a presentation that is tailored to each prospect. Instead, they use the same slides, the same information and the same approach with every prospect.
7. Failing to follow through
A prospect asks for a particular piece of information and the sales person promises to deliver it by a certain date. The deadline passes and the prospect has to call and remind the salesperson. Because the sale has not been finalized, warning signals sound in the customer’s mind. After all, if the sales person is this slow to respond BEFORE the sale is made (the courting stage), how long will it take him to respond AFTER the sale?
Selling is an honorable profession. Improve your reputation and gain your prospect’s trust and respect by avoiding these bad sales habits.