THE 12 DUMBEST THING SALESPEOPLE DO…..
THE 12 DUMBEST THING SALESPEOPLE DO…..
2005-04-30 at 10:16:00 am #9273
The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do . . .
We all make mistakes…but some of us, salespeople included, keep making
the same mistakes over and over again.
We all make mistakes and some salespeople seem to make a lot of
What scares the vinegar out of me is that most salespeople keep making the
same mistakes over and over again. Now in my book – that’s just plain
Maybe this list will serve as a helpful reminder. Maybe it won’t. But at
least you’re curious to learn what these blunders are or why would you
keep reading this? Okay – maybe you just wanted to subscribe to my
No-Brainer Selling Tips newsletter, which you’ll start getting with the
very next issue.
In any case here’s my list of the 12 Dumbest Things
1. Relying on one relationship to protect your account. Why in the
world would you put all your eggs in one basket? Excuse me – with one
person. It doesn’t make any sense and the bigger the account is the more
vulnerable you become. There are five reasons why you should develop
more than one relationship in all your accounts, especially the major ones:
First retirement – people do retire. Second is death – yep some people
actually die at their desk. Sure it’s not common, but it does happen. Third
is resignation – people do leave for better opportunities and that happens
more than you might imagine. Fourth is termination – some people actually
get fired. Finally – and sure this is a long shot – some people win the
Action-step. Build and cultivate a network within every major account
you have. The biggest Rolodex usually WINS!
2. Putting your fate with mid-level managers instead of starting with the
top gun. The worst thing you can do is to follow your instincts on this one.
Your instincts tell you to start at the easiest point of entry in any
organization. Why – because it’s easy! Once you gain access at this point your
instincts continue to give you bad advice. Soon you’ll be thinking you can’t go
over the head of the person you currently have the relationship with.
Here’s my advice and it works. Your first call should be to the CEO or
president of the organization. Simply ask them, or their assistants, for their
help in directing you to the right person. If you’re doing this over the phone
you should also ask them to transfer you to this key decision maker.
Action-step. Make your first call to the CEO. It’s easier to let him
direct you down the organizational chart then to have some mid-level manager try
to take you up the same organizational chart.
3. Telling prospects/customers that you’re NEW. I know this is a big
one because I hear it all the time. Sad to say many years ago I even used this
same mindless introduction. Imagine walking into an account and telling your
prospect/customer that you are the new sales REP for your company. For a moment
let’s switch gears.
Imagine boarding an airplane scheduled to fly from Chicago to San Francisco.
Imagine also hearing the pilot welcome everybody on board and announcing that he
is new at flying the 757 you are seated on. Also imagine your dentist refers
you to a specialist for your very first root canal. And imagine that the
specialist lets you know he’s a recent Dental School graduate and you’re his
first patient. Now, how does that make you feel? That’s how everyone feels
when they’re working with somebody who announces they are “NEW.”
Action-step. If you’re new to sales or are an experienced sales REP
just getting started with a NEW company give some thought how you will introduce
yourself. Just don’t say that you’re “NEW.”
4. Doing price-driven quotes instead of value-structured proposals.
If you’re in sales you’re likely to get requests on a daily basis for
product quotes. Somebody wants you to quote on a particular product or a
particular service. So, like someone following the Pied Piper you do exactly
what they ask, namely you send them a quotation. Then you go ballistic when you
lose the deal because you did not have the lowest price.
Look Bubba – when you send somebody your quote all you are really doing
is sending them a price to look at. If you don’t like that approach get out
of the quotation business. Do sales proposals. Load them with value. Make your
sales proposal scream value and always include a benefits page. Your benefits
page should be positioned ahead of your pricing page.
Action-step. If you don’t know anything about sales proposals I
strongly suggest you do a search on Google.com and Amazon.com using the keywords
“sales proposals.” This is too important to be flying by the
5. Making sales calls like a tourist. Anytime you show up on a
prospect’s/customer’s doorstep without written sales call objectives you are
nothing more than a well paid tourist. I think you’ll agree most people most of
the time are too busy to waste their valuable time. When you show up planning to
touch base, catch up, check up, and see what’s going on – that’s called “Wasting
time.” To get you started in the right direction, here’s an example of a written
sales call objective for an account you’re calling on for the very first time.
Simply stated your sales call objective could be written as follows:
“My objective for this sales call is to establish rapport, build some
credibility, ask 3-5 open-ended questions, attempt to identify one common
interest we have, and if the person is qualified to secure a confirmed
follow-up appointment. Note how numbers make this objective even “More
Action-step. Never leave home without written sales call objectives.
The key word is “Never!”
6. Getting mugged by your own mouth. This is a very easy trap for a
salesperson to collapse into especially if you’re extroverted and talkative.
If you’re not careful with the language you use, you run the risk of
sounding like the “Mediocre majority.” For example, you should avoid using
these phrases: I think, can I be honest, can I ask you a question, I know
you’re busy so I won’t take up much of your time, how soon do you need it, I
agree with you – But, what do I have to do to earn your business today, so –
what do you think, I was wondering etc. I hope you get the picture and
that these phrases aren’t inherently sinister. They are however
over-used by the salespeople who are in the “Mediocre majority” category.
Avoid them like the Plague!
Action-step. The more you prepare what you’ll say and how you’ll say
it during a sales call the less likely you’ll end up getting mugged by your own
7. Making the sales call a virtual “Improvisation.” The way my twisted
mind works is there are only two types of sales calls. One is prepared and the
other is a total improvisation. Let me concede right out of the chute, it’s
inconceivable to totally prepare for a sales call – the way I define the
word prepare. It should also be inconceivable to you from this point on,
that your sales calls should be a 100% improvisation. In this example, when
I use the word prepare, I mean in writing.
Here’s a short list of what I recommend you thoroughly prepare – in writing:
- Prepare how you call for appointments.
- Prepare your elevator speech.
- Prepare at least 12 open-ended questions.
- Prepare how you will segue
into your presentation.
- Prepare how you will deal with the price
- Also prepare how you will ask for the customer’s commitment to
order your product/service.
Action-step. Prepare in writing the words you will use in each of
these key steps in your selling process. Preparation always sounds better
than improvisation. Always!
8. Forgetting to develop the “Brand Called You.” One of the cardinal
sins I observe salespeople making is your complete reliance on the
branding of your products and your company. Please remember this. Most
people don’t buy the product. Most people don’t buy the company. Most
people buy – because they buy the relationship with the sales professional
working with them.
I just ordered the autobiography written by PT Barnum. I can’t wait to get
my hands on this book. If you want to be remembered you have to be
memorable and PT Barnum wrote the book on this topic. Marketing will win
more sales than selling ever can. To be a success today, and in almost any
business, you have to be an extraordinary marketer! You might want to buy
Peter Montoya’s book, “The Brand Called You.”
Action-step. I believe everybody is unique. Discover your uniqueness
and parade it around your sales territory. Forget about being boring, bland, and
benign. Blending in is out! Standing out is in! Do everything you can to be
different in a memorable way!
9. Playing the win-lose instead of the win-win game. This point is
easy to say and hard to do because it involves a dramatic change in your
thinking. In some cases, it may involve a lobotomy! Never offer a price
concession without getting a concession from your prospect/customer. To do so
means he wins and you lose. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned game of
What happened to it is quite simple and very easy to fix. When ever someone
asks you for a better price – ask them for a better deal – which could mean a
larger quantity, something else added to the order, an extended contract
Action-step. This one takes courage. Do you have what it takes to do
what it takes to make your selling game a win-win game?
10. Putting your families on the veritable back-burner. Most people
don’t think bad things can happen to them. I think it’s called the theory of
self-exception. Maybe it’s because you’re so optimistic. You think you’ll live
for ever. You think your families will live for ever. Take it from me it doesn’t
always work out that way. Now rest assured, I hope it does for you and your
I just don’t want you to bank on it. You see stuff happens: My first wife
Louise died when she was 34 from cancer. My brother John died when he was 46
from a brain tumor. My brother Ray, a New York City firemen, was killed on 9/11
a the age of 46. Enough said!
Action-step. When you put your family on the back-burner you’re
risking life’s biggest regret – “I wish I had spent more time with my family.”
To avoid this potential tragedy make your calendar the centerpiece of your life
and make sure every member of your family is on your calendar.
11. Living life in the multi-tasking lane. This thing called
multi-tasking isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Sure it looks impressive to a
casual observer to see you driving your car with a headset on and nibbling on
your morning egg McMuffin. How many tasks can you do at the same time and do
them equally well? Some people, notably researchers writing on the subject, are
now saying that tasks completed by the multi-taskers are losing out in the
Hey – it’s a No-Brainer – how many things can you do at the same time and do
them all exceptionally well? Go figure! Two months ago in the men’s room of one
of my major clients I heard someone behind that closed door, and presumably in a
seated position, talking on his cell phone, munching on what sounded like potato
chips and flushing at the same time. How do you explain that to a customer?
Would you actually say you’re passing through Niagara Falls, thus accounting for
the noise in the background? I think you get the point and I’ll leave the rest
to your imagination.
Action-step. This one is so easy it hurts! Start every day with a
written list of what you want to get done during that day. Using numbers, be
sure to prioritize your list. Do one thing at a time. Do the most important
thing first. Don’t do anything else unless it’s more important than the next
most important thing on your list. I told you this was easy – easy to say and
hard to do.
<>12. Giving a “Gazillion people” your cell phone number. Man do I get
a lot of heat when I talk about this in my No-Brainer Selling Skills Boot
Camps and sales training programs. I’ve heard all the reasons why
salespeople give every body their cell phone number. I know why people
print their cell phone number on their business cards. I know why
salespeople do this but I’m not sure it makes any sense.
Well it does make some sense if you’re the kind of salesperson, who
giving 50 or more prospects/customers your cell phone number,
immediately to a tattoo parlor and has 24/7 tattooed across your forehead.
Maybe it would make some sense if you had the only cell phone in your sales
territory. That would be a clear advantage for you. Whenever you give
somebody your cell phone number it becomes the default number which people
use to call you. The more people you give your cell phone number to, the
more people will dial your cell phone number every time for every minuscule
reason they want to talk to you.You may like it this way but I sure don’t. I have two cell phones- one in my
car and one in my briefcase and I use them exclusively for making outbound
calls. Until you experience this – you won’t realize how much control over
your life you give up every time you give someone else your cell phone
<>Action-step. Here’s a suggestion. Get a stamp that allows you to print
on the back of your business card the times during the day you check your voice
mails and e-mails. Tell your customers, except for two or three of your biggest,
you’re disconnecting your cell phone number because it’s taken over your
life. My guess is you’ll get some well deserved empathy and sympathy.
Well – it’s agreed then – we all make mistakes. The good news NOW
you, is you don’t have to make the “Dirty Dozen” any more.
Now that I think about it, there probably should have
been a #13.
Let’s just say most salespeople don’t ask good questions. You
think you do but you probably don’t. Here’s a quick test. On a blank sheet
of paper write down your 12 best open-ended questions. You’re leaving so
muuuuuuuch money on the table – if you can’t do this blind-folded and do
it within 3 minutes.
What are your 12 Best Questions?
If you’d like to know what my 12
Best questions are use this link to find out. It
might change your life. These questions changed mine. These phenomenal
questions have helped me earn millions of dollars over the last 17 years. If
they work for me, I’m certain they’ll work for you as soon as you adopt and