Five Common, Avoidable Sales Mistakes

Last Updated Dec 3, 2009 11:32 AM EST

Here's a quick list of extremely common selling errors that are not only avoidable, but easy to avoid:
  • Mistake #1: Valuing new customers over existing ones. In most cases, the easiest sales are to existing, happy customers. However, many sales pros get so obsessed with feeding the pipeline that they neglect the easy sales that are just a phone call away.
  • Mistake #2: Honoring numbers over relationships. Management may want you to focus on the numbers, but you're much more likely to find it easy to make those numbers if you focus on building the kind of relationships that make selling easy.
  • Mistake #3: Focusing on product rather than customer. This happens when sales pros have not thought through how their attitudes about selling drives their selling behaviors. If you get your head in the right place, you'll focus on customers, and sales will increase.
  • Mistake #4: Giving a generic presentation. What excites customers isn't your canned list of features, but a presentation helps them to see (and feel) how the solution is directly tied to the problem that they need solved or the goal they need achieved.
  • Mistake #5: Shooting from the hip. For many sales reps, planning seems like that would be better spent in customer-facing activities. Ironically, it's only through planning that a sales rep can hope to become more productive and sell more effectively.
READERS: Any mistakes we ought to add?

BTW: Most of the above came from a conversation with the ever-informative Linda Richardson, founder of the sales training firm Richardson.