Given the hugely important role they play in the profitability and success of most businesses, sales professionals should always be working hard to maintain high standards and improve their performance.
However, it’s all too easy to fall into bad habits, particularly if you’ve been in a particular role or with a certain company for a long time and complacency is starting to creep in. Take our quiz to identify your bad sales habits:
Sometimes it's difficult to maintain and improve sales performance. But once you identify your bad habits, it'll become easier what to do next.
Not doing your research
Careful research is one of the most important things any sales professional can do before going into a meeting or calling a lead.
If you fail to do your background research and don’t learn as much about the individual or company as possible, there’s a risk you’ll end up asking completely irrelevant questions and coming across as uninformed. This gives a negative impression that drastically cuts your chances of making the sale.
Chasing lost causes
Regardless of the claims the most confident salespeople like to make, not everyone is a customer-in-waiting. Some prospects simply won't need or want what you're offering.
Being too pushy and refusing to take no for an answer could sour the relationship for good, ruining your chances of having any dealings with that customer now or in the future. Tenacity and determination are valuable qualities in any salesperson, but it’s also important to know when to quit and direct your time and energy elsewhere.
Taking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach
If they’re going to do business with you, prospective customers want to feel confident you understand their unique needs and objectives. They don’t want to feel that they’re receiving the same generic communications and pitches that are given to every other lead.
Doing plenty of preparation, putting yourself in the customer’s position and anticipating their needs will help you go into every call or meeting with a bespoke and focused mindset. Simply knowing you’ve made some effort to understand them could be enough to make the customer feel at ease and get them on your side.
Focusing on your own interests
Sales should be all about the customer and how they can benefit from choosing to buy from you. Personal priorities such as the commission you might receive from the sale, or how much it would benefit the business to bring in some extra revenue, should be off your radar in any sales meeting, call or pitch.
Rather than asking questions that are essentially focused on your side of the transaction - determining if the end result of the sale will justify the time you need to spend on it, for example - try to frame every conversation based on what the customer wants and what they stand to gain from the purchase.
Promising things you can’t deliver
It’s always tempting to promise the things the customer wants or needs the most if you think it will close the sale. In the long run, though, there’s very little to be gained from offering services or results the company is simply unable to deliver.
Committing to unrealistic deadlines or overly ambitious orders, for example, will simply cause stress and resourcing problems for other departments, as well as dissatisfaction for the customer and possibly serious operational issues for business clients.