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No sales, no business.

As businesspeople sales is at the center of our universe – the oldest sales cliche of them all says it all: “Nothing happens until someone sells something” (attributed to lots of people including Thomas J. Watson, Brian Tracy and Peter Drucker).

Sales & Selling - the 10 Deadly Sins

Successful selling is critical.  When sales start to go off track it is usually because we’ve committed one or other of the sales sins examined in this two-post series.  Use these ten sales meditations to clear your conscience.

Are you or your salespeople guilty of…

I. Forgetting that sales is ultimately a numbers game

Research shows that most successful salespeople spend as little as one-third of their time actually selling.  The other two-thirds is spent in cultivating leads and prospects that will ensure that they have plenty of good selling opportunities available to them on an ongoing basis. Salespeople fail when volume prospecting stops and the pipeline dries up.

Examine your conscience: Are you working consistently hard to keep a constant flows of leads and prospects into the pipeline or are you relying upon pot luck?

II. Giving up too early

Repeated studies show that:

  • 48% of salesmen make one call and stop
  • 25% of salesmen make two calls and stop
  • 15% of salesmen make three calls and stop.
  • 12% of all salesmen go back and back and back and back seven times or more.

Not surprisingly those studies also find that it is this latter 12% who make 80% of all sales!

Search your heart: Do you or tyour salespeople ever give up too quickly?  Track it!

III. Making friends not prospects

The originators of relationship marketing and selling have a lot to answer for – it’s just too easy to justify the time you spend with people you like or people who like you.  Don’t go fooling yourself, the people you like are not always the best prospects and, whilst looking to development of good relationships with all of your contacts is laudable, much more important is clear focus upon what each and every one of them will deliver to your bottom line.

Be honest: Is it the value of prospective business or the warmth and comfort of an easy relationship that drives your interest in prospects?

IV. Talking more than the prospect

The more your prospect talks, the more you learn.  The more you learn the better your chance of winning the business.  The most successful salespeople facilitate a process whereby the customer becomes so involved in the sales process that they do most of the talking – the salesperson simply becomes a facilitator.  They listen like their lives depended upon it.

Tell the truth: When you look at your sales calls who’s doing 95% of the talking?

V. Not learning the prospect’s business

You can tell when the salesperson trying desperately to part you from your money has failed to learn enough about your business to make a useful contribution to its development.  Your prospects are no different.  Fail to learn the prospect’s business and, regardless of the super relationship you’ve built, the register rings “No Sale!”.  Have you a clear step-by-step process that ensures all of your calls focus upon first-rate discovery and needs analysis?  If not – fix that now!

Ponder: Am I taking the time to learn my prospects’ businesses?

The Last Five Deadly Sins

Take a week to look honestly at your sales efforts and/or those of your sales team.  It’s my experience that these transgressions make their way into EVERY sales team to some extent over time – they have to be continually monitored.

In next week’s final part of this two-part series we’ll look at the last five deadly sins – and they go right to the heart of the selling process.


What crimes against selling do you see every day?

Use the Comments feature below to share you experience or get some help & suggestions