Even in the best of times, sales mistakes can cost your business. When business is financially tight and during economically challenging times, sales mistakes can really cost your business. But let’s face it: Even the most seasoned salespeople can make mistakes now and then. Sometimes, some of the most embarrassing mistakes salespeople make aren’t done on purpose. It’s when we shift into “autopilot” and fail to give it our best that we can look like newbies and make the same mistakes we made years ago—from which we should have already learned.
Here are the top 10 sales mistakes that will make you look like an amateur, even if you’ve paid your dues.
Amateur sales mistakes
- Acting as if you have all day to take care of a lead. Research has shown that scarcity causes consumers to act. So don’t let on that you have all day, even if you do. Give prospects the impression that you have to fit them in, and it helps you not to come off as desperate—a surefire sales-killer. Letting customers think that you’re busy enhances the scarcity tactic, making your product/service more desirable so they’ll act (or buy).
- Taking your time to follow up on a sales lead. One of the most important steps you can take to convert a lead is to respond right away. Make it a habit of using a three-step process to contact prospects: Call the lead, then follow up with an email and a text. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally acceptable to contact leads until 8 p.m.
- Talking to the wrong person. Don’t waste your time—and your customers’ time—by giving your sales pitch to a person in the household or business who can’t make the decision to purchase. Before you call someone, know who is the decision-maker, and speak to that person only.
- Trying to sell to a non-qualified lead. You’re wasting your time if you try to sell your services/products to a customer that doesn’t fit the parameters of your demographics, or who ins’t a qualified lead. For example, if you sell payroll services, it’s a waste of time to try to sell to prospects with just one or two employees. These people don’t need payroll services. Know what makes a qualified lead before you give your sales pitch.
- Forgetting to follow up after a presentation. When you’re done giving your sales presentation, be sure to discuss with the lead what comes next. Will you follow up by email? Is there a window within which the prospect should make a decision to purchase and qualify for discounts?
- Mixing up your intentions. If all you need to do is make an appointment to talk to a prospect face to face, don’t try to sell your product over the phone during the initial contact. Establish the incentive upfront for meeting with you in person, instead putting all your cards on the table during the cold call.
- Being inefficient with your time. If you’re setting up face-to-face meetings with a prospect, take advantage of opportunities nearby, like scheduling other meetings on the same day with other prospects in the area.
- Haphazardly tracking your daily activity. This is an important task, especially if your sales cycle is a long one. If you don’t track your activity, you’ll have no idea of where you stand with the prospect, or how well the process is going (including how many calls or sales you’ve made). If you use a tool like CallProof that employs an automated system to track your activities, you’ll know instantly where you stand.
- Hanging around with the wrong people. The company you keep can either help or hinder your performance as a sales person. That is particularly true if you spend a lot of time with underperforming salespeople.Jim Rohn famously said “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The same holds true for your income potential: It is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So don’t hang around ineffective, inexperienced salespeople that don’t make any money!
- Failing to ask enough questions. It’s critical that you ask prospects enough questions to get a sense of where they stand and know their pain points. Only then can you offer an effective solution—i.e., your product or service.
Don’t let these amateur sales mistakes bring you down. Boost your income potential by staying on task, giving your best every day, and following best practices for optimal sales results, and leave your inexperienced, unpracticed sales days where they belong—behind you.