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22 Apr 09 10 Everyday Sales Mistakes to Avoid (Part – II)

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As we discussed in the first part, a friend of mine from X-Paper (codified name of the only organization I worked for) was not very successful in selling the ad space despite his glittering MBA degree from a reputed institution, whereas, my bosses, most of whom had just plain vanilla graduate degrees, made a killing out of it. This article will tell you why?

But before going deep into it, let’s figure out the mistake my friend was making. The methods he was employing to woo clients was creating a layer in front of his eyes, which he named professionalism, and the layer was so thick that it hardly let anything other than the works requirements, issues and problems pass through it. Whenever a client started speaking about other things, the salesperson would either shut their mind away from the question, or at worst they will try to cut the discussion short. Anything other than business related problems were prevented to enter seller’s mind.

To a pair of untrained eyes, it looks like utter professionalism: work at the time of work, no small talks, but to a mind that is well-trained in the working of human psychology this step will look utter nonsense. As a human, neither we are capable of, nor can we compartmentalize our thinking, every day we find ourselves sandwiched between our professional requirements, and familial demand. In the context of human relations with his surrounding, this is normal, and everything else is not. My friend did not understand that he was not dealing with a machine made up of blood vessels and synaptic nodes, so pure ruthless professionalism would not fetch any result, instead it would put off the person on the other side of the table.

In the recent time, the scene has changed a lot. People leaving in the post 9/11 world are no longer looking for stark professionalism. Now unlike the 80s, the speech or interaction devoid of emotion is no longer considered the epitome of professionalism. These days, people are looking for human touch in everything they do, as the societal fabric is getting torn and tattered. They want to deal with someone who is empathetic towards their needs, desires, goal and aspirations, so what if it is personal. The dividing line between the work life and personal life is blurring. Every salesperson need to understand that the person on the other side of the table is as human as he or she is, so providing them an audience when they need is not a waste of one’s time, rather it will help the salesperson develop a strong bond with the buyer that will last longer, as the connection is on human level.

As we have discussed the problem one can have if any transaction is devoid of basic human emotion. Now, it is time to talk about 10 everyday sales mistakes that you can avoid while dealing with clients.

  1. Focusing more on the hard data and giving less consideration to soft skills.
  2. Focusing too much on the strength and sporting an ostrich-like attitude on weaknesses, (if you cannot see it, it hasn’t vanished, so burying your head in the sand will not work).
  3. Constant jabbering and not listening to client.
  4. Continue to sell even after client is sold to the product, idea or services.
  5. No follow-ups
  6. Not sweating on doing the required background research for the client
  7. Too self-conceit to ask for referral
  8. Not reading the psychological and behavioral cues let out by client.
  9. No knowledge of where to pull the plug and ask for order
  10. Not enough knowledge about the products and the services you are selling.
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