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6 Common Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

    • 19 posts
    May 2, 2011 7:09 AM EDT

    Sales Mistake # 3: Talking too much.

    This is a big one. I once worked for a camera shop where the owner considered himself an expert salesman. He would talk non-stop to customers for 45 minutes to an hour trying to sell them on a particular camera. I just watched this with amazement because the customers just wanted to come in for a few minutes and buy a camera and leave. They had already decided to buy a camera before they had entered the store. All he needed to do was to recommend XYZ camera as a great camera and the best value and most of them would have been happy. Most of his customers left without buying because what should have been a simple process, was now a chore. They weren't there to listen to him go on and on. By talking too much he talked himself right out of many sales.

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    • 344 posts
    April 21, 2011 5:57 PM EDT

    According to reports published by the Direct Selling Association, the estimated amount of direct sales made in the US in 2009 was worth $28.33 billion. Moreover, the estimated number of salespersons in the US in 2009 was 16.1 million. Salespersons are everywhere, selling everything imaginable. However, some salesmen make a killing, while others are only able to make average sales. The reason for this is that there are some basic mistakes that many salesmen make.

    Here are some common sales mistakes and tips to avoid them:


    Sales Mistake #1 Neglecting to collect customer data. Every time you make a sale, it's an opportunity to make another sale down the road. Remember that your existing customers are your best source of revenue. But you can only tap them if you have a method for keeping track of them. Sonny Ahuja, the CEO of, learned that the hard way. "Five years ago I had seven stores selling designer perfumes and colognes in all major malls of Wisconsin," he says. When he began losing customers to Amazon and bytrade, Ahuja decided to close his stores and move his business online. But when he launched, he had no money for online marketing.  "That's when I realized that if only all my sales people had collected all the names and addresses of customers that came to my stores for the past eight years — imagine the power of that database! I could have been back in business in no time." Now, he's diligent about collecting and segmenting customer data on


    Sales Mistake #2 Relying too heavily on the Internet. So you've been exceptionally clever with your web strategy and your organic vegan dog food is at the tippity-top of the relevant search engine rankings. The stuff is practically selling itself. Good for you! Until, that is, Google gives you a nasty smack down. That's what happened to Christian Arno, founder Lingo24, an international translation company with offices in London; Aberdeen, Scotland; and New York City. "In 2006, our high Google rankings for key search terms suffered, probably because of Google changing its search algorithm," says Arno. "We suddenly dropped on Google search results for terms we'd always ranked highly for such as translation services and translation agencies. We didn't have any proactive sales strategy in place, so our revenue suffered." Since then, he's hired several outbound sales people who proactively identify potential clients. "And our Google rankings are back up too now, so we have two strong avenues for sales," says Arno.


    Sales Mistake # 3: Talking too much. Too many sales people talk too much during the sales interaction. They espouse about their product, its features, their service and so on. When I first bought carpet for my home I recall speaking to a sales person who told me how long he had been in the business, how smart he was, how good his carpets were, etc. But this dialogue did nothing to convince me that I should buy from him. Instead, I left the store thinking that he did not care about my specific needs. A friend of mine is in the advertising business and often talks to prospects who initially request a quote. Instead of talking at great length about the ad agency’s experience and qualifications, he gets the potential client talking about her business. By doing this he is able to determine the most effective strategy for that prospect.


    Sales Mistake #4 Failing to qualify leads. "When I first started in sales, I was an eager beaver," recalls Jon Biedermann,vice president of DonorPerfect, a CRM fundraising software company in Horsham, Pennsylvania. "No lead went untouched or uncalled — I treated every opportunity as the sure fire next sale." Big mistake. Early in his career, Biedermann got a lead from a large university. He called to assess their needs, customized the software for them, and worked on personalizing the demonstration for days. "The day of the demo came, and I presented our software in front of 10 people from the university. We had everything they needed — it was perfect," he says. But when he asked about the decision-making timeframe, he was crushed.  "Oh, we aren't going to switch software," they told him. "We were thinking about using this for our smaller satellite campus and we were hoping you would donate it to us."Biedermann realized his error instantly. "In my zeal to get the sale, I completely forgot to ask the one crucial question: Do you have the authority and money to make this decision?" more




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