There always seems to be lots of ideas and discussion around what great sales people do. I think it’s just human nature to evaluate success and emulate it. Don’t get me wrong, knowing what the best of the best do is noteworthy. We should keep doing it. However, sometimes it’s not what people do that’s compelling, sometimes it’s what they don’t do that makes the difference.
With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to look at what the best sales people DON’T do in order to shed some light on the behaviours you want to avoid in your pursuit to better selling.
1) Don’t procrastinate but don’t move too quickly: Great sales people don’t procrastinate, they always have this sense of urgency that compels them to get things done now, instantly. They are always working with a sense of purpose, never letting an opportunity slip by. They recognise the shelf-life of an opportunity can be a nano-second and they hate missing out on opportunities. No moss grows under the feet of the best sales people. But you have to balance your sales instincts and retention instincts — the short game versus the long. If you’re just paying attention to the short term, you may wind up missing huge warning signs that your prospect won’t be a good customer. Slow down and take the time to delve deeper into your prospect’s situation so they’re completely informed about their decision and don’t churn out of your customer base in a few months.
2) They Don’t Blame: Sales people are notorious complainers. The customer just doesn’t get it. The targets are too high. The product is too expensive. The product doesn’t have the features I need. The list of sales people complaints is endless. Except with the great sales people. Great sales people, rarely if ever, blame others or their surroundings. They take complete accountability for selling and do whatever it takes to be successful in the environment they are in. They accept and embrace the fact that they are in sales and have tremendous control of their selling process, selling time, selling approach and more. It’s with this recognition, they feel no need or benefit to blame others for difficulties or their own failure.
3) They don’t become complacent: They embrace personal development. They are the first to identify and absorb new selling techniques, tools, approaches and methodologies. Great sales people live in a never ending paranoia that convinces them that there is always someone or something trying to outsell them or get a competitive advantage. It’s this paranoia the drives them to always be improving, growing, and never accepting the status quo. The greatest sales people never accept where they are as “good enough.” There is never good enough for the best sales people.
4) Sell scared: Great sales people don’t sell scared. They build enough value into their solutions that they have the confidence and comfort that they are going to win the deal that they aren’t afraid of losing. Great sales people believe that fear comes from being unprepared, lacking a solid understanding of what the buyer actually wants and why. They know that fear gives away their ability to sell on value and exposes them to the whims of their customers. They recognise selling scared increases the chances they cave on price, miss up-sell opportunities and don’t challenge the customer. Great sales people simply don’t sell scared.
5) Have thin skin: The best sales people know sales is a game of averages. Like great sportspeople, they understand that winning happens far less than losing and they’re comfortable with this. The best sales people are not susceptible to the continual onslaught of no and rejections. The best sales people have a rejection anti-venom that makes them immune to the sting of the buyer’s no. Failure and rejection just doesn’t affect them.
6) Quit: If there is one undeniable thing great sales people don’t do, it’s quit. The idea of quitting is absolutely foreign to great sales people. They are undaunted by failure. They see roadblocks, as challenges. They see no’s as yes’s. They see rejections as opportunities. Great sales people never quit. They have an insatiable desire to see things to the end. Great sales people see failure as just a transition point to learn, but keep on going.
7) Go in unprepared: Preparation is critical when is come to the best sales people. They treat preparation as a competitive differentiator. They never go to a meeting or presentation with having done all their homework. They leave nothing to chance. The greatest sales people use preparation as a way to get a leg up. They know, most sales people do very little prep work. The best know that preparation is where you can pull ahead of the pack.
8) Get pushed around: Great sales people are always adding value. They believe in the value they provide to their customers with every fibre in their being. Therefore, they aren’t prone to being pushed around. They know the value they bring and stand by it. When a buyer tries to bully them, they simply become stout, anchored by their unwavering belief that they bring more value than the customer enjoys today.
9) Sell something the buyer doesn’t need: The best sales people become the best because they are better than anybody at solving their customer’s problems. Great sales people never, ever sell something their client doesn’t need. They will tell a client when buying a particular product or add-on doesn’t make sense. They won’t let their clients spend money they don’t need to. They know that selling something to them they don’t need ISN’T solving any problems. It just creates them. Selling is more solution-based than ever before, so you can’t take the lead in sales conversations from the beginning. You have to ask pertinent questions that pull out relevant information and make 100% sure you understand your prospect’s situation before you begin making any sort of recommendation.
10) Focus on themselves: Great sales people learn very early that selling is NOT about them. They know it’s not about their product or target, or their timeline, or their needs. It’s about their customer. ALWAYS. They have an uncanny ability to get into the shoes of their clients and connect on the issues and challenges their customers are facing, not what they as a sales person need or want. The best sales people are very in tune with their customers and don’t let the focus turn to them, their company or their own needs.
11) Try to be the hero: The best sales people know that selling takes a multitude of people to close the deal. They don’t try to take all the credit. They do just the opposite. They share the credit and give as much away as possible. They know the nicer they are, the more kudos they give, they more support they will get on future deals. Great sales people are collaborators not, heroes with egos trying to get all the credit.
12) Cold calling: If you’re still cold calling prospects and think it’s a great way to generate new opportunities, stop selling now. Cold calling is hard, wasteful, ugly, and negatively impacts your brand and potential success – not to mention that it’s not nearly as effective as inbound selling. I speak at events, many times a year, and at every engagement I tell my audience that they should take the hour they use for cold calls to do something that’s not even in their job description: blogging. It’s not even close to a fair fight. My blog articles live forever, so while old style salespeople are cold calling, my content is converting. Forever. Of course, you still need to do call prospecting, and in this scenario, warm calling is the way to go. Do research to offer up a compelling reason for your initial call, work inbound leads that want to talk to you, and provide helpful insights to potential prospects on social media before engaging. Warm calling techniques will always be more effective because they provide more value to the buyer.
13) Ignoring the prospect relationship: There are two laws that govern modern business relationships: Everyone exists online, and your digital reputation is forever. Salespeople either recognize these facts or use them to their advantage, or they don’t. It’s your choice, but if you ignore the reality of modern selling it can have dire consequences. You’re only as strong as your network, so if you ignore what your prospect truly needs and only think of them as a sales target, you’ll steadily lose value as a salesperson. Don’t think that pushing hard to get a deal through won’t come back to bite you. Do it enough times and you’ll have unhappy prospects steering their networks away from you. This isn’t to say you should sell based on relationships alone. In fact, that’s a tactic that’s almost guaranteed to fail. But you should always treat your prospects with the respect they deserve, and never put your needs above theirs.
Selling is a complex profession. It’s hard. To make it, there are a lot of things we can focus on and do. But, there are also a number of things we keep from doing that can bring just as much success. Stop for a second and ask, besides doing stuff, are there some things you can stop doing?
If the answer is yes, then stop! The return could be just as big as what you are doing.
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