The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling

Have you ever met the perfect salesperson? With only about one third of sales professionals hitting or exceeding targets they’re not always easy to find. So what’s stopping the rest from performing? Sadly it’s often the smallest mistakes that have the greatest effect.  Think you’ve got what it takes to be a Sales Angel? Take a look at our seven deadly sales sins to see where you could make the small changes needed to redeem yourself…

Not following up – If sales is all about building relationships then surely it goes without saying that failure to follow up on any kind of communication is essential to keeping the conversation going.  It’s really no different to social relationships.  If that person you just met suddenly stopped communicating with you, you’d just figure they weren’t interested any longer and that would be the end of that.  Relationships are built upon a series of consistent and positive interactions, so be sure to stay in touch.

Talking more than listening – If you want your prospect to feel you truly care about their needs, you have to take the time to listen.  This is where active listening skills really come into play. If you’re the one doing all the talking, your prospect may start to feel pressured into buying.  If they also think you have little understanding of their position, they’re going to be immediately turned off and you may find yourself with more than a few objections to deal with.

Asking closed questions – Information is the key to closing a sale. How do you present your product or service as a solution to the prospect’s problem?  Be sure to ask open questions, that elicit longer, more detailed answers. By learning as much as you can about their current situation and demonstrating how it will fit seamlessly into their operations, delivering exactly the kind of solution they want.

Listening to respond, rather than listening to understand – If you’re listening to what your prospect is saying but thinking about your response, then you’re just making the conversation all about what you have to say.  ‘Listening to understand’ is a much more beneficial method of communication, focusing on what the customer is saying and usually trying to understand it more fully by asking another question.

Attempting to sell everything, not just what the customer needs – Even if you have listened carefully and have an understanding of your prospect’s needs, rushing to sell everything possible will demonstrate a failure to connect with them and likely break the trust you’ve tried to build. Carefully matching their needs to the strongest parts of your product or service will make them feel like they are buying in to a tailor-made solution.

Selling features, not benefits or effects – Your prospect is seeking the end result, so match your focus to theirs.  Help them see the solution your product or service will provide by explaining how they will benefit.  Features are great but your prospect will have little interest in learning about them if they’re not first assured of the resolution they will bring.

Failing to ask for the business – If you don’t learn to become attuned to the progression of your prospect conversation, it’s guaranteed that you will miss out on opportunities to ask for the business and close the sale. It’s a classic mistake, made by those who don’t want to seen as the ‘pushy salesperson’.  But it’s not about being pushy, it’s about employing the right kinds of questioning and listening skills to build rapport and with these, you will be able to identify those opportunities and make the most of them.

Estadia’s Managing Director Richard recently asked his LinkedIn network what they considered to be selling ‘sins’. Take a look at what they had to say here.