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5 mistakes every salesperson makes

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Jesse Huylebroeck
Sales Representative

Okay, maybe not all sales reps. But whether you have a few months or many years of experience, I'd like to draw your attention in this article to the 5 most common mistakes made by sales reps, so you can avoid them in the future.

Article en français - Artikel in het Nederlands

Shut up and listen

It's a bit of a cliché to say that a good salesperson must have the gift of gab. But I've often noticed that most salespeople don't know when to shut up... to put it politely. Wanting to talk too much thinking it's the right way to hook your prospects is the most common mistake made by salespeople. So, shut up for a moment and listen to what your customers or prospects are telling you instead.

The most effective sellers listen much more than they talk. They let their prospects talk about their needs, their concerns and how they want the product you're selling to work for them.

Since we all have two ears and one mouth. The golden rule in sales is to listen twice as much as you speak.

The icing on the cake? By asking the right questions and listening to your clients, you get them to do all the work for you. They will reveal their main problems and tell you how you can solve them. This approach is particularly effective during the prospecting phase.



Follow-up, follow-up, and follow-up some more

If they don't feel the sales opportunity, many sellers throw in the towel after one or two contacts only. Big mistake!

In my experience, less than 5% of conversions are achieved after only 3 contacts with a prospect. On the other hand, salespeople who contact their prospects at least 5 times are the ones who ultimately win 80% of the business.

Persistence is key to selling. But be careful not to appear desperate. If your prospect realizes that you absolutely need this sale, he will easily get the upper hand on you. He knows that you will do anything to close the deal, even lower the selling price excessively. 

So, if your client or prospect needs some time to make up their mind, simply ask them to set a follow-up date and... call them.

Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.”
- Michelle Moore

Do your homework

You're probably familiar with the saying, "If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail." This is especially true for a salesperson.

A sales meeting is just like a job interview. If you arrive poorly or unprepared, your interlocutor will see it. And it's even more embarrassing if he knows more about you than you do about him.

Good preparation will not only allow you to ask the right questions, but also to personalize your offer and touch the heartstrings of your various prospects.

Also, don't hesitate to look into the personal and professional background of potential clients. This will allow you to establish a relationship of trust. Personally, I have never bought something from someone I didn't trust.

After all, in the age of the Internet and professional social networks like LinkedIn, you have no excuse for not doing your homework properly. So, let's get cracking! 


No false promises

Have you ever over-promised something in order to close a sale? That's not a good idea. If you fail to meet the expectations you have created with your customers, you will create a lot of frustration among them. Consequently, you will lose your credibility, and your clients will surely turn to your competitors.

As a salesperson, it is essential to know all the features, benefits, policies of the products or services you are selling inside and out. Also, NEVER exaggerate or lie about the products or services you are selling.  

If you manage a sales team, make it clear to your salespeople how far they can go when discussing your product with prospects.

In short, it is better to sell nothing than to make a dishonest sale. Because if your customers later discover a problem that you "forgot to mention", you will not only lose that customer, but also your reputation and future sales.


Keep on learning

I know it's easier said than done to find time to develop new skills. But even seasoned salespeople know that there is always room for improvement.

How? Learn from your peers, talk to your sales manager, subscribe to sales newsletters, podcasts, etc.
You can also analyze your past performances and ask yourself what worked, what didn't, and why? Introspection is the best way to learn.


If you can avoid these 5 frequent mistakes in the future, I assure you that you will have many successful years of sales ahead of you.

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