The 10 Mo
 Common Sal

es Errors

by Jim Pratt       

HIGH PROBABILITY, INC., a Philadelphia area sales training and consulting firm, surveyed over 500 business professionals. Based on that information, the firm compiled a list of what were considered to be the most common errors people make in sales.

  1. Not choosing prospects carefully. Too much energy is wasted on people who aren't ready, willing or able to buy. Salespeople need to clearly state, up front, what they're selling and find out whether what they're selling is what the prospect wants.
  2. Evasive or deceptive prospecting tactics. People won't reveal their buying intention to someone they don't trust. Evasive and deceptive prospecting tactics are transparent to both sides and are sure to immediately trigger distrust. If you state your offer truthfully, prospects will usually consider whether they want what you're selling instead of responding with knee-jerk resistance.
  3. Talking too much and not asking questions. The sooner you start asking questions and finding out whether you or your product meet the potential buyer's needs, the more successful you're likely to be.
  4. Insincerity. Too many people fool themselves thinking they can fool others by acting falsely excited or impressed. Dishonesty glows in the dark. It's always sensed by the recipient at some level and it fosters indelible distrust and ill will.
  5. Focusing on the product too much and forgetting you are dealing with another human being. Since most buyers have difficulty weighing the merits of competitive offerings, they look for someone they trust and respect to guide their choice.
  6. Lack of standards. People don't respect or want to do business with those who don't have standards.
  7. Not being able to say "no" or hear "no." Being willing to accept "no" is probably the most difficult thing for a salesperson to do. Yet one of the things that prevents customers from buying is the salesperson's overbearing need for the buyer to say "yes." You have to let people know that if they don't want what you're selling, it's all right to say so.
  8. Convincing and persuading. Whenever you try to convince and persuade someone to do something, they automatically resist - sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
  9. Lack of self-respect. No one wants to do business with someone who has no dignity.
  10. Creating an adversarial relationship. The way to avoid this is for salespeople to change their agenda from "getting someone to buy" to "discovering whether there's a mutually acceptable basis for doing business." As soon as people sense that the salesperson is not there to get them to do anything, they start to trust and the adversarial situation disappears.

Jim Pratt is the CEO of the Pratt-Daly International Sales Consulting firm based in San Diego, CA. Jim's experience includes leading sales forces of one to 4,800. You may reach Pratt-Daly at 800.374.0300.