Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sales Mistakes

I recently noticed two posts at Bizinformer regarding two of the most common sales mistakes ever made. Unfortunately, I have seen operational examples of both Failing to be Overt and Selling Past the Close in my short sales career. I agree that both of these are mistakes, but I disagree about their relative importance. Failure to be overt will immediately doom any sales engagement, while selling past the close is really just a matter of bad form.

The real issue when salespeople do not specifically ask their client if the client wants their services is the fear of hearing the word no. This fear paralyzes a salesperson in the engagement because they are not able to ask the appropriate questions to determine if they will reach a deal. This is absolutely detrimental in environments with long sales cycles because the salesperson, sales management, and the people in the business unit all have an unclear view of the client’s true intentions. Maybe the client is really interested, maybe he is really not interested, or maybe he is just talking to the salesperson to fill up his day, without overtly asking the client the important questions no one knows so everyone is wasting their time.

Failure to be overt sucks the life out of a sales engagement and causes everyone to waste time on a deal that may never materialize. Good sales people are not afraid to ask the tough questions and are prepared to change strategy and tactics if they learn that they are losing.

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