Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of salespeople come and go. Seems as if everyone thinks sales is an easy gig until they actually do it. I guess that’s a metaphor for life. It’s easier to talk about a task than do it. There are some misdeeds in sales you can’t do, though. I call these the Seven Deadly Sins of Sales.
If you commit one or more of these seven sins, you shall not be permitted into the glorious halls of local strip clubs and you’ll never be rewarded that Lambo you keep dreaming about. No. If you commit these sins against sales humanity, you shall perish in the halls of HR, wondering why you are forced to perform meaningless chores for money.
Avoid these Seven Deadly Sins of Sales at all costs.
#1 Not Following Up: Let’s get the most important sin out of the way up front. As a person working in sales, you should know it takes 8-12 contacts in order to close most prospects. If you don’t follow up after the first contact, you’ll forever starve and have skinny kids. You’ll be plagued with empty bank accounts and a miserable sales existence.
What’s crazy to me, is that all the sinners out there who don’t follow up are the same ones who usually complain about the leads. Look, your prospects just met you. How can you expect them to give you money? Are you a bum? That’s not how this works. You have to follow up. Let your leads get to know you. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Become that person.
#2 Talking Too Much: If you gab on like a chatterbox, you will get banished to the accounting department to spend the rest of your existence in bean counter hell. If you talk too much and don’t make sales, they will put you where you can only talk to yourself. I don’t mean an insane asylum either, but an empty cubicle. Hell. Pure cube farm hell.
If you’re yakking away, you’ll talk your way right out of a sale. Your job is to ask questions, answer questions, uncover the problem and provide the solution. Talking too much complicates the process and confuses (and pisses off) the prospect. When you talk too much, you give your potential client too much to think about. Thinkers don’t make buying decisions. They “think about” making a buying decision.
#3 Not Knowing Your Product: It’s surprising as hell how many salespeople don’t know their products inside and out. Seriously, it’s an overwhelming number. How are you going to sell something without knowledge of every single detail? How does it help your prospects? What problems does it solve? Who’s the best fit for it? Not knowing your product is a sure way to shame yourself out of a sales job.
No one wants to look stupid in front of prospects. Fear of public speaking is the number one phobia in America, due in large part to the fact that people are afraid of looking dumb. If you don’t know your product, you look dumb. If that happens, you’ll be banished to the fiery pits of sales hell for eternity.
#4 Failing To Prospect: If you don’t work every day to fill your pipeline, you are straight up failing at sales. Every deal you close needs to be replaced by at least two more in your pipeline. The ONLY way to fill a pipeline is by prospecting. I always say, “The more hands you shake, the more money you make.” Prospecting means pumping hands with as many people as possible. Online and off.
When you break it down, “sales” translates to mean your future income. Each year, you should be increasing your earnings. Without proper prospecting, you’ll never hit the numbers you want. One of the worst mistakes I see salespeople making is when they have a good month, they’ll slack off the next. Prospecting is not a singular event. It’s an everyday thang.
#5 Not Asking For The Business: You’d be surprised by the amount of salespeople who will conduct a flawless presentation of the product, then fail to complete the most important step. Ask for the business. Not asking stems from fear of rejection. If salespeople don’t ask, they don’t get denied. Seems legit. Truth is, if you don’t ask, you also won’t close.
You can know your product inside and out. You could be the best presenter in your whole company, but if you don’t ask for the sale, you will never be number one. Not requesting the business will result in working for someone who does. Real talk.
#6 Selling Features: Features are nice. They don’t close sales, though. A true salesman knows that selling benefits and results are the way to riches. When you ignore the needs of the prospect and you talk about how cool whatever it is you sell happens to be, the prospect tunes out. They might have a ton of questions, which you can’t answer because you’re too busy talking about features to answer them.
Real Closers sell benefits and results. Remember this: no one wants a mortgage. They want a house. No one wants a drill; they want a hole. Find out what they’re drilling holes for, then sell the result. Sell what matters. The result. Obviously, I can’t say it enough. If you can’t stop selling based on features, you’ll forever burn in the basement of the building in the boiler room of the janitorial department.
#7 Not Having A Clear Offer: One of the main reasons salespeople fail to close deals and earn money is lack of a clear offer. Just because you know what you sell, doesn’t mean the prospect does. When you confuse the prospect, you lose the deal. Humans are leery of uninformed decisions. An uninformed decision is a bad decision and most prospects are one bad decision away from peril.
You’ve gotta get clear on what it is you offer, how the offer is presented, and the result of that offer. I’ll let you in on a secret: keep it simple. Over complicating your offer will shrivel your bottom line. Get clear. Get simple. Get paid.
Now that you know what the Seven Deadly Sins of Sales are, it’s your job to avoid sinning at all costs. You sin against sales and you’ll be losing more than just your tithe money. Let’s be real. We’re all good salespeople, but we can all stand to be better, too. I buy programs, books and seminars on the regular. You should also.
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Now, go forth without sales sin.