After working with countless sales people in the last 17-plus years, I have noticed that many of them have a number of bad habits that they need to give up if they want to improve their results.
Here are 8 bad habits sales people need to give up if they want to improve their results.
1. Opening initial prospecting calls with “Hi how are you?”
This is a lame opening that does little to establish your credibility. It is much more effective to immediately state the reason for your call rather than waste time with this opening.
2. Using too many filler words.
It surprises me how many filler words get used in a sales call or presentation. Words or phrases such as; you know, basically, okay?, as I mentioned/said, plus the inevitable um’s and uh’s. This type of communication detracts from your message and reduces your credibility.
3. Spending too much time trying to establish rapport.
Although it still important to develop rapport with prospects, your busy prospects have very little interest in spending five or ten minutes of their valuable time engaging in small talk. It is better to focus on the reason for your call/meeting; this is often more effective in establishing rapport with a busy executive.
4. Opening sales calls, demonstrations and presentations by talking about their company, their clients, their products, etc.
Regardless of how important you think this, your prospects don’t actually want to hear this type of information, at least not right away. What they really want to know if how you can help them solve a pressing business problem.
5. Talking about aspects of your company that have little or no relevance to your prospect or customer.
Many sales people—and their managers—feel compelled to discuss details about their company that simply bore their audience. For example, you may be a global leader in a particular industry but if prospect is a small regional company, your global presence probably doesn’t mean anything to them.
6. Chasing a lead that has little possibility of turning into a sale.
You only have a limited number of hours in a given day, week or month and spending them trying to close a deal when the other person lacks any buying interest or motivation is not the best use of your time.
7. Shooting from the hip.
Practising your sales call, presentation or demonstration is not a glamorous activity. However, a few verbal rehearsals or run-throughs of an important presentation can mean the difference between “Let’s do it!” and “Thanks, we’ll think about it.”
8. Relying on closing a “whale”.
Every sales person wants to bag a whale. The big account that will ensure they meet their sales targets. While it’s a lofty target and one that every sales person should strive for, it is a mistake to rely solely on closing that big deal because it can lure you into a false sense of security. I have seen many big deals take a turn for the worse at the eleventh hour leaving the sales person empty handed at the end of the month or quarter.
Giving up these habits can be tough. After all, they’re habits. And habits develop…gradually… over time. However, if you want to achieve better results and increase your sales you need to work at giving up these bad habits.
One way to tackle this challenge is to focus on one habit at a time. Rather than attempt to eradicate every bad habit at once, which is a recipe for failure, it is much more effective to concentrate your efforts on eliminating a single habit.
One sales person I recently worked with needed to reduce his use of filler words during his online demonstrations. It sounded like an easy task but it took him almost 3 weeks of concentrated effort and constant reminders from his colleagues to improve his approach.
Good sales habits are important if you want to succeed in sales. However, it is equally important to give up your bad habits.