Err Not

By Cindy Waxer

You can learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from other people’s mistakes. Maura Schreier-Fleming, author of Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results (1st Books, 2002), describes six easily avoidable mistakes that might otherwise cost you business.

1. Thinking you can do it all yourself.
Selling used to be a numbers game. In the past you could spend your time smiling and dialing and that might have worked. Today, too many people are too busy to listen to a pitch. Salespeople need colleagues, friends and clients as sources of good solid leads and referrals to meet new customers.

2. Talking too much.
The best sellers are great listeners and use silence well. Use silence when you want your customers to talk more. Silence is appropriate when you are listening so you don’t interrupt your customer. It’s also appropriate to use when you think about what your customer is saying. This will enable you to give a thoughtful response.

3. Doing the same things in all situations.
Some salespeople start their sales calls the same way and act the same way with every type of customer. Customers are different and salespeople need to take those differences into account and respond appropriately.

4. Expecting things to happen now.
Some things take time. If you want a piece of business badly enough, you might need to be persistent and try to make contact over a period of months. Be patient and don’t give up if the account is worth it. Negotiating may take time, and being impatient to close a deal can cost you money.

5. Avoiding the truth.
Salespeople need to be honest not only with customers, but with themselves as well. Some salespeople fool themselves into believing that a sale is going to happen when the odds are it’s not. Be honest with yourself. Let go and move on to the next prospect.

6. Failing to take care of good customers.
Selling shouldn’t be about addressing objections and beating your customers into submission. If it’s not a reasonable fit, forget the sale. Find prospects that appreciate your benefits and value.

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