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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lack of standards. People don't respect or want to do business with those who don't have
- 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.
- Convincing and persuading. Whenever you try to convince and persuade someone to do something,
they automatically resist - sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
- Lack of self-respect. No one wants to do business with someone who has no dignity.
- 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.