Just a decade ago, sales was a fairly straightforward profession. Salespeople could be successful with only a fancy suit, an enthusiastic grin, and a well-rehearsed pitch.
But none of those things are relevant anymore, let alone effective.
Pitching prematurely does not work in today’s information-saturated marketplace. Your prospects are more well-informed than ever before. Modern buyers don’t always need or want to meet with you, making your winning smile a bit less critical. And you certainly can’t rely on your fancy suit to impress them these days.
It’s time to adapt to the times.
To catch you up to the current, Marc Wayshak provides some of the most concise and best advice I’ve been seeing lately. Wayshak is the best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, creator of the Sales Strategy Academy, and host of his own channel on YouTube.
In the three YouTube videos below, Wayshak highlights 11 common mistakes that most salespeople make. Read below or watch Wayshak’s videos to stop making these silly mistakes.
1) Putting off your calls.
Phone prospecting is one of the most important sales skills. The only way to get past the fear of phone prospecting is to pick up the phone and get started. No matter the source or warmness of your leads, you have to pick up the phone. Create a calling schedule — and stick to it!
2) Not using a script.
The only thing worse than a procrastinated phone call is an unplanned one. Salespeople are quick to reject the idea of using a script as a basis for a call — but scripts only sound scripted if they’re poorly written, inflexible and not practiced. Use a script for every phone call to keep yourself on track, keep the call focused, and to plan your response to pushback from prospects.
3) Using a “sales voice.”
The tone of your voice can literally end a conversation before it even begins. Ditch the salesy, enthusiastic tone that most salespeople use, and opt for a low-key, friend-like greeting instead. Record your sales calls and listen to your voice to see how you can improve.
Watch the video:
4) Focusing too much on yourself.
Prospects don’t care about you. They only care about themselves. Stop worrying about trying to present yourself and your solutions in an attempt to impress. Instead, focus on your prospects’ goals and challenges. Be interested instead of trying to be interesting.
5) Not setting a clear next step.
Never end a successful phone call or sales meeting without a defined next step. Unless it makes no sense to ever talk to your prospect again, always schedule a very clear next step during your current sales meetings or phone calls so both you and your prospect know how to proceed. Don’t wait to get buy-in for next steps after you’ve hung up.
6) Talking too much.
Ninety-nine percent of salespeople talk too much in selling situations. Very few salespeople talk too little. Cut the chat — and get your prospects talking by asking them great questions. Use my guide to active listening when you’re ready to really master this skill.
To hear how to set up a next step and avoid talking too much, watch this video from Wayshak:
7) Trying to be like everyone else.
Far too many salespeople sound and act like they think salespeople should act. Prospects are sick of it. On the other hand, when you’re perceived as different from other salespeople, your value goes up in prospects’ eyes. Don’t be afraid to be unique. In fact, look for ways you and your company can seem and be different.
8) Not showing value.
Your prospects’ challenges cost them money. If you can find out the dollar amount of that cost, then you can quantify your offering’s value to your prospect. Make this a priority in every selling situation. You’re probably wasting your time if your prospect isn’t convinced you can save them or make them money — or both.
9) Not qualifying on budget.
Most salespeople never ask prospects about budget. This is a mistake. Prospects usually have a budget, even if they say they don’t. It might not be earmarked for your solution, but most companies have money to spend if they believe they can get better results. Probing what the budget is, why it’s that size, and under what conditions they’ll spend it, will allow you to craft the right solution.
10) Continuing to pursue unqualified prospects.
The biggest difference between top salespeople and everyone else is that top salespeople spend the majority of their time with well-qualified prospects. This requires that you drop prospects who are less likely to buy. Dropping this dead weight allows you to spend your time finding and pursuing better opportunities.
11) Presenting too early.
Many salespeople start their sales meetings with a presentation — and shoot themselves in the foot. Instead of leading with a presentation, begin by focusing on prospects’ key challenges and objectives. You may need to lead with a story about how you’ve helped people like them, but start a conversation, not a dog and pony show.
Hear the rest of these do’s and don’ts from this third video:
Did you or your team members ever make these silly mistakes? Are you still making them? How will you stop?