The Five Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make – Part Five

By Dave Kahle

Over the decades that I’ve been involved in sales, I’ve worked with tens of thousands of sales people. Certain negative tendencies — mistakes that sales people make — keep surfacing. Here is number five of my top five. See to what degree you (or your sales force) may be guilty of them.
Mistake Number Five: No investment in themselves.

Here’s an amazing observation. No more than 5% of active, full time professional sales people ever invest in their own growth. That means that only one of 20 sales people have ever spent $20.00 of their own money on a book on sales, or subscribed to a sales magazine, taken a sales course, or attended a sales seminar of their own choosing and on their own nickel.

Don’t believe me? Take a poll. Ask your sales people or your colleagues how many of them have invested more than $20.00 in a book, magazine, CD, etc. in the last 12 months. Ask those who venture a positive answer to substantiate it by naming their investment. Don’t be surprised if the answers get vague. You’ll quickly find out how many sales people in your organization have invested in themselves.

Sales is the only profession I know of where the overwhelming majority of practitioners are content with their personal status quo.

Why is that? A number of reasons.

Some mistakenly think that their jobs are so unique that they cannot possibly learn anything from anyone else. This attitude dooms them to a lifetime of mediocrity.

Still others think they know it all. They have, therefore, no interest in taking time from some seemingly valuable thing they are doing to attend a seminar or read a book. They are destined to be obsolete in a world that is changing faster than at any time in the past.

Some don’t care. Their focus is hanging on to their jobs, not necessarily getting better at them.

But I think the major reason is that the overwhelming majority of sales people do not view themselves as professionals and, therefore, do not have professional expectations for themselves. They worked their way up from the customer service desk or they landed in sales by chance, and they view their work as a job to be done, not a profession within which to grow.

They are content to let their companies arrange for their training or development. And between you and me, they would prefer that their companies really didn’t do anything that would require them to actually change what they do.
Overcoming this tendency

Decide to fix it. It really is that simple. If you rarely, if ever, actually invest in your own growth, then decide to fix it. Decide to view your job as a profession, and decide to be a professional. That means that, of course, you‘ll invest in your own growth.

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Once you make that decision, then it’s easy to come up with resources to do so. Decide to go to at least one seminar a year, and start watching your mail box for likely suspects. Decide to read a book once a month, and visit the library or your local book store regularly. Decide to expose yourself to new and good ideas, and regularly visit the websites and newsletters that support sales people.

Once you decide to do it, the doing is easy. It’s the decision that’s required.

One source for all the sales training you need. Consider The Sales Resource Center. 455 training programs available 24/7 for one low monthly fee.

These are the five most common negative tendencies that I see. It may be that you and your colleagues are immune to these dampers on success. Good for you. But if you are not immune, and if you spot some of your own tendencies in this list, then you are not reaching your potential for success. You have tremendous potential for success — for contentment, confidence and competence – that is being hindered by these negative behaviors. Rid yourself of these negative tendencies, and you’ll begin to reach your potential.

Copyright MMXIV by Dave Kahle
All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Small Businesses Need to Embrace CRM Software

A recent survey by Software Advice revealed that the vast majority of small-business CRM buyers are still looking for basic contact management, with 62 percent seeking a standalone application for sales force automation (SFA). That’s no surprise. SFA is typically the first step for businesses to organize their customer data and track customer interactions across the sales funnel. As such, it’s long been the first thing small businesses look for when it comes time to adopt a real CRM technology strategy. Small business however face some challenges when it comes to implementing a sales structure or process for managing leads and the sales cycle. They may lack experienced sales management and the majority of lower cost CRM solution providers cannot offer assistance here. One firm that does is Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM. Commence has been providing sales automation solutions and sales best practices to the SMB community for more than two decades. Industry articles and product reviews traditionally only talk about a product’s features and as a result, companies like Commence that offer consultation and best practices for improving sales execution don’t get much mention.

Of U.S. buyers seeking an integrated suite, 88 percent want a combination of sales and marketing automation. So small businesses are increasingly looking to implement a full, end-to-end CRM solution. They want to better align marketing with sales and enable sales reps with access to lead nurturing data and interaction histories from across the sales pipeline. This means growing opportunities for vendors that offer a broader small-business-centric suite of sales, marketing and service applications. Very few low cost CRM solution providers offer an integrated sales, marketing and customer service solution. Two that do include Salesforce.com and Commence CRM mentioned above.

When we asked small-business CRM buyers why they were evaluating software, the most common response was that they were simply interested to learn more about how CRM software in general could help their business, or about how more robust systems might improve upon their current solution. This is consistent with Gartner’s research as well, which suggests that an increasing majority of buyers are citing “self-driven information search” as their most preferred method at every stage of the buying cycle. This highlights the need for CRM providers to ensure that they’re in a position to be found when buyers research potential options—whether through search engine optimization, content marketing, driving B2B software reviews or other inbound marketing efforts.
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The Five Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make – Part Four

By Dave Kahle

Over the decades that I’ve been involved in sales, I’ve worked with tens of thousands of sales people. Certain negative tendencies — mistakes that sales people make — keep surfacing. Here is number four of my top five. See to what degree you (or your sales force) may be guilty of them.
Mistake Number Four: Poor questioning

This is a variation of the third mistake. I am absolutely astonished at the lack of thoughtfulness that I often see on the part of sales people. Some use questions like sledge hammers, splintering the relationship and bruising the sensibility of their customers by thoughtless questions.

Others don’t use them at all, practically ignoring the most important part of a sales call. They labor under the misconception that the more they talk, the better job of selling they do, when the truth lies in exactly the opposite approach.

And others are content to play about the surface of the issue. “How much of this do you use?” “What do you not like about your current supplier?” Their questions are superficial at best, redundant and irritating at worst.

The result? These sales people never really uncover the deeper more intense issues that motivate their customers. Instead, they continually react to the common complaint of customers who have been given no reason to think otherwise: “Your price is too high.”

Fewer sales, constant complaints about pricing, frustrated sales people, impatient managers, and unimpressed customers – all of these as a result of the inability to use the sales person’s most powerful tool with skill and sensitivity.
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Overcoming this tendency

We’re back again to planning and preparing. This time, the focus of our planning time is creating good questions. By taking the time to prepare good sales questions, word for word, before the sales call, we ensure that our questioning will be far more effective than if we rely on our spur of the moment ability to create on the fly. Spend some of that planning time doing just that – creating good questions word for word.

You’ll find a much more detailed explanation of the role of good questions and how to create them in my book, Question Your Way to Sales Success.

Copyright MMXIV by Dave Kahle
All Rights Reserved

Image courtesy of pakorn / freedigitalphotos.net