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Building Value In Sales: 5 Killer Mistakes Salespeople Make

If you're like me, you love tip lists.  Short, brief and to-the-point.

So for this post, I put together a quick list of 5 "killer" mistakes salespeople make which will absolutely prevent them from building value in sales.  I've also included some effectiveness tips to combat them.

Please understand... I'm not out to reinvent the wheel here.  I believe in simplicity and the fundamentals.  Share this list with your team.  Urge them to work to avoid just one of these and I think you'll be amazed at the results.

Killer Mistake #1: Failing to stay top of consciousness in the minds of their prospects and customers.

Quite simply, this is a failure to prospect consistently both outside and inside of existing accounts.  Let’s face's really easy to forget to stay in touch with someone who isn't buying today.  Urge your salespeople to maintain an organized prospect database or CRM account and stay in front of their contacts consistently...not just when they need to make a sale.

Killer Mistake #2: Focusing on activity instead of results.

This is nothing more than “busy being busy.” The consequences of this practice are overworked salespeople with little to show for their efforts. They believe they’re working hard (and they are). They're just working hard at doing the wrong things! Figuring out the "right" activities isn't easy, but it's well worth it. Following a sales process can help them get out of this trap. If you're not in a position to provide your team with formal sales training, definitely include good information about selling skills in each and every sales meeting.

Killer Mistake #3: Failing to get away from “me too” thinking.

Salespeople can tend to neglect being creative and innovative. As a consequence, they don’t differentiate themselves, their products or their organization from everyone else in the pack.  Just because buyers are trying to commoditize them doesn’t mean they should views themselves as such. Urge them to think outside of the box and stand out in the minds of their prospects and customers.  One idea is to share valuable articles, tips, insights, etc. with their prospects that relate to the type of business they're in.  It's amazing how little things such as those will differentiate your people from your competitors.

Killer Mistake #4: Failure to listen.

This is, perhaps, the most classic and common error. The salesperson who hears but doesn’t listen. The salesperson who interrupts prospects, delivers solutions that are off-target, or simply overwhelms prospects and customers with verbiage that clearly communicates a failure to have really listened to anything the other person has said.  How about the salesperson who asks a question, then starts talking before the prospect can even respond?  Classic!  Coach your team to ask a question, then simply not speak.  If you can get them to do just that, they'll be amazed at the results.

Killer Mistake #5: Failing to be anything other than a professional entertainer. 

The days of “whiskey and ticket” selling are fast coming to a close.  The practice of basically bribing your way into a sale is all but dead, and buyers are demanding true value for their dollar.  If your salespeople aren’t honing their craft and finding alternative value-bringing strategies outside of fishing trips and price-cutting tactics, they should probably consider a career change.  More and more client organizations are coming to us to help them with this particular challenge.  It’s not going to get any better out there and it's all about building value in sales.

There you have it.  5 killer mistakes salespeople make.  Are these all of them?  Not by a long shot.  You have to start somewhere, though, and many of our clients have been amazed at the strong improvements they've seen just by getting their salespeople to just stop and think the next time they engage in one of these.