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To Err is Human

One of the benefits of being in the sales industry is that we can learn from our predecessor’s mistakes. Here are a few common mistakes that we’ve all made. If you do your best to avoid these pitfalls, you will see improvements in your success rate.

Things to Avoid:

• Arriving unprepared.

Before you pick up the phone or get in your car, set a goal for your meeting and plan how you will achieve that goal. Know ahead of time the major points you want to emphasize during your meeting.

• Being unwilling or unable to listen.

If you’re talking, you can’t hear what the prospect is saying. You need to know what they want if you are going to fulfill a need.

Ask open-ended questions and encourage the prospect to elaborate.

• Failing to ask for the order.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the order. The prospect knows that’s why you are there. You won’t seem pushy or impatient. In fact, if you don’t ask for the order you may seem as if you really don’t want the sale.

• Presenting a “canned” presentation.

Take the time to tailor your presentation to each specific prospect. You don’t need to re-haul or create new presentations for each meeting, as some needs are universal. But you do need to look at every outline item or slide and make sure it 1) pertains to the prospect and 2) can’t be updated/edited to fit their business better. This will show that you care about the prospect’s business enough to invest a little time and effort.

• Lacking patience.

We all know that most sales are finalized after 7, 8 or 9 contacts. Don’t quit. Focus on building a long-term relationship, and building trust and rapport–the sale will follow.

• Failing to follow-up.

Once you have the signed contract, the sale is not over. The prospect can always change his mind. The sale will be final when the customer uses the service or product and is satisfied with the results. Follow-up, see how the service is working and if any changes need to be made. You will ensure a long-term relationship and you might be able to create an add-on sale and a reference.

Good Selling!SM

Paul H. Green


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