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What do you think is the worst mistake one can make in sales

In my opinion, I feel the biggest mistake I can make from a sales/relationship perspective is getting someone's name wrong. Not just calling them the wrong name, but spelling it incorrectly in a correspondence, or completely forgetting it in person.

I have a HORRIBLE memory. But the one thing I've learned to concentrate and focus on is getting people's name right. At the very worst, if I DO forget someone's name, I find I normally forget it after the first or second meeting. I've found it's still early enough to apologize and ask the person for his or her name again. I make it work by pointing out that I want to get it right, because it's so important to do so.

What do others think is the worst thing one can do from a sales/relationship perspective? - by Coda1108
I would say "Not Listening" is the worst. - by SpeedRacer
I think both of those things that have already been mentioned are pretty bad. Another thing I think of is acting like you are in a hurry. In my opinion that's a real turn-off for a sales person. I've had people act like that to me in stores and it cause me to want to go elsewhere with my business. - by ozzie
I agree with the points made above. I also am turned off by a salesperson who seems to be giving me a rehearsed pitch. I feel that it's impersonal. - by Ricardo
I agree Ricardo. I think if a person knows their products well enough, they won't need a rehearsed speech. I believe it's much better to just talk about your products in your own way.

I look through my Avon brochures every evening while watching tv in an effort to know all the products we offer. At my age that's a hard task because there are so many different products! - by ozzie
Another thing I think of is acting like you are in a hurry. In my opinion that's a real turn-off for a sales person. I've had people act like that to me in stores and it cause me to want to go elsewhere with my business.
That's a great point, Ozzie. I remember a number of years ago, I was in a shoe store. I was deciding between two pairs of shoes... and they were fairly expensive shoes at that, so I was giving the decision quite a bit of thought. It was about 10 minutes before the store was expected to close, and the salesman tapped his watch and said "Tick Tock... Tick Tock"

I told him I would go to a different store later in the week, one that wasn't going to rush me :) - by Coda1108
I agree with all the blunders mentioned already, but I would say the biggest mistake a sales person can make is not understanding your customers needs and selling them something they don't need. Not only are you not doing your job as a sales person, but also failing to provide your customer with the service they came to you for in the first place. - by MarkS
Mark,

Very well said. I totally agree!

Pam - by LadySmith
I agree with all the blunders mentioned already, but I would say the biggest mistake a sales person can make is not understanding your customers needs and selling them something they don't need.
And the only thing worse than not understanding your customers needs is knowing what they are looking for and selling them something that does not meet their needs anyway. I believe trust is the most important factor in a sales relationship. Nothing undermines trust more than intentional dishonesty. - by rlabston
I reckon the biggest mistake you can make is to try to sell someone anything before you know what they want.

I've tried to do this in the past... - by Tony Dunne
The all time biggest mistake you can make in sales is working with prospects or clients when you're in a negative mind set. - by Marcus
It's a skill that I learned when I first started.
If you are selling to a NEED then when the client has agreed to buy

SHUT UP!
Take the order
Thank them and leave

I used to get so excited that I would go on to tell them a hundred other things the product could do only to open up a load of objections they had never thought of. - by John Shenton
In my experience the biggest sales mistake it’s not identifying and understanding one’s critical Core Competencies that are inter-related to one’s sales results.

For instance, the most successful businesses — and certainly, sales departments — have identified their Key Performance Indicators (KPI); individual gateways that directly effect the outcome of a particular process. Then they measure the competency ratios in line with them.

A good KPI example in the sales process might be how many times you advance the first sales appointment to the next phase, whether that’s a demonstration, a site visit, a survey or a proposal.
Another KPI is how many times you gain a new customer once the first gateway is passed. And when you do gain a new customer, what’s the average revenue you achieve? That’s certainly an important KPI. Because if your average revenue per sale is 40% less than the average peer KPI, you might want to find out why and take focused action to improve it, as you’re leaving money on the table.

And what about the length of a sales cycle in days? Is that conditional or do you have a degree of control over it? If you have a team member that has an average sales cycle 30% shorter than the peer group, uncover and assimilate those best practices out to the rest of the sales team. Less time, more results. That makes ‘Sales Cycle’ a valuable KPI.

On a practical level, KPIs can provide management prospect reactions to their service offering for feedback to marketing and product development, detect problem areas in sales performance and signal the need for strategic or tactical modifications — even an all-out intervention through pinpoint sales performance training.

Perhaps the most overlooked KPI is the individual ‘Magic number’; how many new weekly sales opportunities must be generated based on neighboring KPI’s. Think of the magic number as the fuel in your gas tank needed to get from point A to point B. It’s directly proportional to how far a distance, how fast you drive and your average miles per gallon. Your sales process ‘Magic number’ is a derivative of your average revenue per sale, 1st appointment to proposal ratio, closing ratio and revenue goal.
It’s your ‘Activity barometer’ and it should be at 100%.

Good Selling. X2 Guy - by X2 Guy
A customer has to know that the MAIN REASON THEY CAME TO YOU is being addressed....I can list you every customer I have EVER helped, and they would say the same thing. I have gotten sooo many peoples names wrong, but if this is REALLY your hang-up as you may have implied, than maybe RELAXING...and HAVING MORE FUN at what you do will put both YOU and YOUR CUSTOMER at ease.....a name slip up is HUMAN....we ALL do it, and NOBODY expects you to be PERFECT, just to GENUINELY CARE and LISTEN to their concerns.....that IS why they came to you FIRST right?;wi I used to be in your shoes as well......but I just learned through experience that there are MUCH bigger things to worry about in a sales presentation, when most ALL of your issues can be solved simply through:LISTENING WITH SINCERITY, PROVIDING A CUSTOM TAILORED SOLUTION FOR YOUR CUSTOMER, AND MAKING IT FUN!!! I find most sales professionals forget about that last one;co .

I hope this helps you in some way,
it is an understandable concern....just don't let yourself get distracted from the IMPORTANT things by the small ones, and you should be fine.

Sincerely,
-David - by truesaxman
In my opinion, the most income-limiting mistake a salesperson can make is guessing. Bidding on a project where the selection criteria is unknown. Engaging in any deal where the information needed to develop a solid solution is not made available to you (no access to power, etc.). Guessing what steps are taken to actually get a contract signed. Mahan Khalsa addresses guessing in great detail in "Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play".

The second biggest mistake is demo-ing anything. Never demo. Never demo. A demo is giving your prospect a tour of the product, leaving them to guess how what they are seeing will actually impact thier business. Use your product to tell a story of how your prospects specific needs will be met. Even in the most complex software sale, I feel that less than 10% of your presentation should be spent on the "points and clicks". Any presentation that isn't telling that prospects very specific story is a wasted effort. Someone with a tailored story will win that business.

Justyn - by Justyn
Coming to work without an attitude of service gets my vote. If you're not here to help go home. - by Sensei
As I first heard on The Benny Hill Show, don't assume because when you assume, you make an *** out of you and me.

The most frequent mistake I've run across is when the seller thinks that silence implies assent on the part of the consumer so the seller goes ahead to sign him up when the prospect didn't agree to it (this includes all terms of the deal - when I got professional, I've never ran into this problem because the prospect would be saying to go ahead and sign him up after I confirm that he understood the deal). - by Wonderboy
Although the spirit of the majority of responses lends the question to mean "what is the worst thing a salesperson can do while trying to make a sale," my experience is that the worst mistake a salesperson can make--and the one most frequently made--is spending too much time on non-income producing activities.

The average salesperson works one week a month. The average top producer works three weeks a month. It isn't that difficult to see why top producers make so much more money when they are working three times as hard as the average salesperson.

Not being disciplined and spending too much time on non-income producing busy work is the biggest mistake a salesperson can make because it sabotages the rest of their business and their career. - by pmccord
IMHO the worst mistake I make, and it's a tendency I fight, is to be an "order taker."

It's an easy habit to fall into when you see 500 customers a week and I have to remind myself when I find myself walking into shops and up to mechanics and saying "Anything I can do for you this week?" without showing them a Shiny Objecttm. (Mechanics are like ferrets, they love Shiny Objectstm., I should know I once was myself.)

I have to remember that I order Shiny Objectstm. in order to increase sales and get customers interested.

Pat - by toolguy_35
I see sales people go through all the motions of the sale, and make no attempt to close. It you don't close, you are really not a salesperson. Selling without asking for the order is really just giving a tour of your product or service. Sure there are a lot of mistakes salespeople make, such as not prospecting correctly, not following up effectively, managing their time poorly, but if they don't do all those things right, but they do close properly and effectively, the company still gets the business. - by Jon on Maui
In my opinion, I feel the biggest mistake I can make from a sales/relationship perspective is getting someone's name wrong. Not just calling them the wrong name, but spelling it incorrectly in a correspondence, or completely forgetting it in person.

I have a HORRIBLE memory. But the one thing I've learned to concentrate and focus on is getting people's name right. At the very worst, if I DO forget someone's name, I find I normally forget it after the first or second meeting. I've found it's still early enough to apologize and ask the person for his or her name again. I make it work by pointing out that I want to get it right, because it's so important to do so.

What do others think is the worst thing one can do from a sales/relationship perspective?
I once saw a colleague mistake one prospect for another at a trade show - got his name, company, everything wrong. He bowled up to him and said "I have got a contract for you, waiting for you to sign!". The prospect just looked so confused. I suspect he thought it was some kind of ultra aggressive close. It was awful... - by Ed McLean
I agree with the points made above. I also am turned off by a salesperson who seems to be giving me a rehearsed pitch. I feel that it's impersonal.
Great point there Ricardo - by Snowboy
A conjunction of all the things that have been listed are all good points to mistakes that Sales people can make.

I think though some emphasis needs to be made on the positive points. Let us all strive not to let these things enter into our style of selling and all the best with your careers.

thmbp2; - by Snowboy
Prejudging your clients is one of the worst cardinal sins - by redrover
In my opinion, I feel the biggest mistake I can make from a sales/relationship perspective is getting someone's name wrong. Not just calling them the wrong name, but spelling it incorrectly in a correspondence, or completely forgetting it in person.

I have a HORRIBLE memory. But the one thing I've learned to concentrate and focus on is getting people's name right. At the very worst, if I DO forget someone's name, I find I normally forget it after the first or second meeting. I've found it's still early enough to apologize and ask the person for his or her name again. I make it work by pointing out that I want to get it right, because it's so important to do so.

What do others think is the worst thing one can do from a sales/relationship perspective?
lol I just forgot someone's name yesterday! It's harder for me to remember a name when a couple comes in, or more than one person at a time... I usually have to introduce my manager to the customers for the "numbers/negotiation" time, so what I do to not forget is bring a sheet of paper with their information on it, to my manager's desk, and glance at it on the walk back to my desk.

But the worst thing to do in a sale is pick out the exact opposite vehicle they were wanting, which leads to listening. - by MissJackson
I agree with the points made above. I also am turned off by a salesperson who seems to be giving me a rehearsed pitch. I feel that it's impersonal.
Yes Ricardo, I agree! Or being pushy. Difference between persistent and pushy. - by Susan
The worst mistake is not asking for the business. Just do it! - by Jolly Roger
The worst mistake is not asking for the business. Just do it!
Amazing that some people don't ask. Like they have forgotten why they came... - by Susan
Amazing that some people don't ask. Like they have forgotten why they came...
yeah, there's no explaining why people have the thing closed and just don't ask for the stinkin' sale.

and then complain that they're not selling.

of course, you can get what happened to me last week
closed the deal, asked for the sale, got a yes, did paperwork and they backed out at the last minute, and nothing I said could get them back on board.

I was TICKED, three hours I could have spent doing something productive down the tubes.

Pat - by toolguy_35
Alot of good points here but I think of the ones mentioned the two most important ones would have to be not searching for ability. (Your just waisting your time if the prospect can't buy your goods in the first place) And you have to ask for the order (Close, overcome, recover and close again) as mentioned so many people forget that they are there to sell.

~James - by Mr. Cesario
I think the worst mistake one can make is "Fear of Failing". I have probably made every mistake listed within this thread but continued. I made the sales pitch on the wrong person one time thinking he was the owner. The correct owner let me know in a heartbeat that he was the owner. I felt like an idiot! It became the best account I ever had and we still chat on a frequent basis although neither of us are in that business. Oh yeah, we still laugh about that day! - by mcaldwell
Speed Racer....Good Call on the Not Listening.

The worse thing I could do is not to follow up properly and regularly. The prospect I do not follow up with will become someone else's client.

Success,

Rory Wilfong - by rwilfong
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