One Day Sales Seminar
Selling Mistakes to Avoid

by Michael Hellerman

Selling Mistakes to Avoid

There are lots of things that you should do in sales to achieve success, but there are also things you should not do. Some of them are common sense. Turning up to your meeting on time is an example. But there are also some less obvious mistakes that sales people make. These are the selling mistakes to avoid.

And to help you remember them, you should think about playing tennis. Why? Because the mistakes you can make in sales are also mistakes that you can make on the tennis court.


1) Turning up at the squash court

If you want to play tennis, don’t turn up at a squash court. That seems simple, right? But salespeople do this all of the time, metaphorically speaking. That means they pitch to the wrong people. The first thing you should do when looking at a potential client is to find out the real decision-maker. You can do the best pitch in the world and completely win over the person sitting in front of you, but if they are not the decision-maker it is pointless.


2) Judging your opponent

Tennis is a sport that involves precision, skill and control. That means young, fit and strong players can easily be beaten by slower and less fit players who have a better technique. So when you are playing tennis, you can’t judge your opponent by the way she looks. If you do you are likely to end up watching her blistering forehand sail past your racket for another lost point.

In sales, judging the person sitting in front of you can lead to disaster. For all you know the guy in overalls could have ten times the money of the next guy wearing a suit and tie. So, don’t judge.

And that leads us to the next mistake.


3) Failing to prepare

Your chances of winning a tennis match are greatly reduced if you turn up wearing dress shoes or a pin stripe skirt. Your chances are zero if you forget your racket. In other words, if you fail to prepare by not packing the right kit, you will probably lose.

Research has shown that over 80 percent of sellers are out of touch with the person buying. To avoid this, you have to prepare.

You need to know about your product but preparing for a sales meeting or pitch goes much deeper than that. You should also find out as much as you can about the person sitting in front of you, and the business she represents. This will help you tailor your pitch and it will give you a head start in dealing with objections.


4) Talking too much

You should have a game plan worked out before you go into a tennis match. But that game plan should not involve playing your best shot every time. Imagine that shot is a top spinner towards the back left corner of your opponent’s court. If your plan is to do that with every shot, your opponent will eventually figure it out and your plan won’t be successful.

A better strategy is to control the match with a variety of shots that respond to your opponent and put them on the back foot.

A sales pitch that involves an immediate monologue about the features and benefits of your product is like hitting the same shot in tennis over and over again. Instead you should control the meeting by allowing your customer to do most of the talking. You can then tailor your pitch to her needs, making it easier for her to say yes.


5) Knowing when you are beat

If you are down one set and five games to nil in the second set, and your opponent has three match points, you are not going to win. It is a simple fact – in some tennis matches, you lose.

And in sales, sometimes a “no” really does mean “no”. Despite this some sales people waste hours chasing a customer who will never make a purchase. To avoid this mistake, learn when a “no” is a definite “no” and move on.

You won’t win tennis matches by avoiding these mistakes, and you won’t make sales either. But you will improve your chances.

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