10 Essential Selling Principles That Most People Get Wrong

Sales people the world over still continue to commit sales suicide through common blunders and mistakes. While many learn from those mistakes, others fall into the same selling traps continuously. Lets have a look at 10 blunders and how NOT to make the same mistakes:

1.       Assuming the problem that the prospect communicates is the real problem. 
It’s normal to assume this; however, it’s important to look deeper into each situation. Like a physician, we must ask ourselves “is this the prospect’s real problem or is it just a symptom?” Before diagnosing and offering how we can address their challenges, we have to ask more questions to make sure we’ll be getting at the root of their problem, and bringing value to the prospect by supporting their true goals.

2.    Thinking that your sales “presentation” will seal the deal.
You should always be helping the prospect discover the best reasons to buy from you – not telling them why they should. The prospect should know that they’ll be buying from you long before you present your final pitch or proposal.

3.    Talking too much. 
One of the oldest selling philosophies is the 70/30 rule. So often and especially in the beginning of a relationship, salespeople think they need to be doing all the talking, when they should be listening and asking questions. Keep in mind, if a prospect wanted a rundown of your products or services, he or she could just visit your website. The sales process is a conversation, and an honest and open one at that.

4.    Believing that you can sell anybody anything.  
People don’t buy simply on your say-so. A prospect must go through a period of self-discovery before making the decision that your product or service is the right solution. Resistance is pre-programmed and people don’t like to be told what to do (or buy). A better approach than “selling by telling” is to ask key questions or relate third-party stories that allow the prospect to discover the benefits and advantages of your product or services.  When you ask questions that lead to a discovery, the prospect then “owns” the discovery and the resistance disappears. After all, people don’t tend to argue with themselves.

5.    Over-educating the prospect when you should be selling. 
The initial goal in selling is to find out why, and under what circumstances, the prospect will buy from you. Asking questions is first, and sharing your materials and specifics comes next. Sell now, educate later.

6.    Failing to remember that salespeople are decision makers, too.
Every step of the way through the sales cycle, a salesperson must make critical decision as to whether to continue investing time in the relationship with the prospect. If you as the salesperson are a poor decision-maker, your lack of clarity and decisive action will be mirrored in your prospect’s behavior. Remember, the shorter your selling cycle, the more leads you close over time.

7.    Reading minds.
Always get the facts from your prospect about what they need and why. When your prospect is vague, politely ask for clarity. Veteran sales people are often the culprits of “reading minds” because they think they’ve seen it all. But when they jump to conclusions, they make assumptions that lead to wasted time at best, lost opportunities at worst. As the old adage goes – “to assume is to make an ass out of you and me.”

8.    Working as an “unpaid consultant” in an attempt to close a deal.
Try and play “Let’s Pretend” when a prospect asks for additional work and information before making a buying decision. Ask your prospect to picture a scenario where you complete the additional groundwork and provide a solution that fits everything the prospect needs – then what happens, will they buy from you? If they can’t envision pulling the trigger even after you’ve done the additional work, or if they’d still need another step in the process, it may be time to walk away or you may ask to move directly to this second step.  When you want to know the future, bring it back to the present.

9.    Being your own worst enemy. 
Never blame the prospect for stalling the process. Instead, look inward. It’s the job of the salespeople to assure the prospect and address detours. The only way to streamline the process is to continue to refine your own sales approach and technique.

10.  Keeping your fingers crossed that a prospect doesn’t notice a problem. 
The only way to avoid a potential disaster is to address it before it erupts.  Always come clean and be open and transparent if something problematic comes up along the selling cycle. The prospect will respect that you “came clean” and shared it, and together you can problem-solve, building a solidifying team approach to the issue.

An effective sales process is about sharing your company’s great talents and strengths, and connecting powerfully with those who are a strong fit to your work in terms of values, approach, style and outcomes.  Being open, honest, and transparent about who you are and what you deliver, along with serving as an effective listener, decision-maker and team-builder, will ultimately help you achieve the sales you need and want.