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Top 10 Dumb Mistakes Inside Sales Reps Make

Inside sales means selling over the telephone, and that's difficult if you keep making the same dumb mistakes.

There are, in fact, exactly 10 mistakes that keep cropping up in these environments. Most of them are connected with cold-calling, but they show up when inside sales reps handle inbound calls as well.

This post contains 10 recordings of telephone calls ( courtesy of the sales training firm Telemasters) illustrating the 10 most common errors that inside sales reps make.

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Dumb Mistake #10:
TALKING TOO MUCH PRODUCT

  • What he did: He talked about product features and functions.
  • Why he did it: He assumed the customer understood the value.
  • What resulted: The prospect lost interest and spaced out.
  • How to fix it: Explain up front why the customer might want to buy from you.
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Dum Mistake #9: FUMBLING WITH THE GATEKEEPER

  • What he did: He asked the gatekeeper to identify a decision-maker.
  • Why he did it: He did not research the prospect prior to calling.
  • What resulted: The gatekeeper fudged him off and hung up.
  • How to fix it: Always have a target contact before you call.
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Dumb Mistake #8
LEAVING A TOTALLY LAME VOICE MAIL

  • What he did: He babbled on and on about nothing.
  • Why he did it: He wasn't clear why he was calling.
  • What resulted: The message was immediately deleted.
  • How to fix it: Give a brief, compelling message; then call back.
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Dumb Mistake #7:
FAILING TO BUILD RAPPORT

Note: this audio isn't a cold-call, per se, but it illustrates the basic principle that rapport is required to handle customers and prospects appropriately.

  • What she did: She focused on her process rather than the customer.
  • Why she did it: She was unable to empathize with his emotions.
  • What resulted: The customer became irritated and terminated the call.
  • How to fix it: Focus on what the customer wants, not what you want.
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Dumb Mistake #6:
FAILING TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR OFFERING

  • What she did: She had no reason for the customer to change vendors.
  • Why she did it: She had no idea what was different about her offering.
  • What resulted: The prospect shrugged off the call.
  • How to fix it: Make sure your initial message expresses uniqueness.
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Dumb Mistake #5
FOLDING AT THE FIRST OBJECTION

  • What he did: He gave up at the first sign of resistance.
  • Why she did it: He's afraid of rejection so he bails to avoid the pain.
  • What resulted: He probably made a series of similar failed calls.
  • How to fix it: Have a list of answers to objections ready.
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Dumb Mistake #4:
FAILING TO LISTEN CAREFULLY

  • What he did: He didn't listen to what the prospect was saying.
  • Why he did it: He was focusing on what he was going to say.
  • What resulted: He queered the deal by making himself look dumb.
  • How to fix it: Rehearse before you call; listen before you speak.
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Dumb Mistake #3:
ASKING A STRANGER FOR A REFERRAL

  • What she did: She asked for a referral before earning that right.
  • Why she did it: Some idiot sales manager put that in her script.
  • What resulted: She wasted her time and the prospect's time.
  • How to fix it: Only ask delighted customers for referrals.
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Dumb Mistake #2
TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF


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  • What he did: He talked about his job and his desire to meet.
  • Why he did it: He is impressed with himself and thinks others are, too.
  • What resulted: The prospect hung up thinking him a prize a**.
  • How to improve: Rehearse before you call; listen before you speak.
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dumb inside sales mistake #1:
PRETENDING TO BE FRIENDLY

  • What he did: He tried to use social conversation to build rapport.
  • Why he did it: Some pinhead sales trainer said it was a good idea.
  • What resulted: He immediately and irrecoverably offended the prospect.
  • How to improve: Introduce yourself briefly; give your reason for calling.
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