We all develop habits in our personal and professional lives. Those habits can be tough to break. By the time an action has turned into a habit, you need to relearn or unlearn that particular behavior. Salespeople are no exception, as most of us pick up habits that make our daily lives more difficult.
If you don’t think you’re closing deals at your full potential, you might want to take a look at some of your habits. Eliminating even a few counterproductive behaviors can make a huge difference in your performance. The following are some of the most common bad habits setting salespeople back.
1. Not following up after the sale
Many salespeople think their job is finished once the deal is signed. This may be true if you don’t have long-term career goals. But if you want longevity, professionalism, and referrals, then the sale itself should be viewed as a part of a larger process. Not only will you be the first person a customer calls if something goes wrong, but you’ll also be the one who reaps the rewards if the customer feels you went above and beyond to help them. If you incorporate follow-up after the sale into your process, you’ll solve problems before they start, get great reviews, and earn valuable referral business.
2. Not asking questions
Every salesperson knows (or should know) that listening is one of the most important skills in sales. But waiting for your turn to speak and then pitching isn’t enough. You must be an active listener and ask questions throughout the entire process. The questions you ask should be designed to uncover what the prospect wants and to position you as their trusted advisor. Ignore this bad habit at your own peril, because if your prospect speaks with you and then calls someone who takes the time to ask them all of the right questions, you’re going to have an uphill battle trying to win the deal.
Losing a deal can feel terrible. Not having things work out is demoralizing. But the difference between successful salespeople and everyone else is that successful salespeople don’t let failure keep them down for long. Time spent dwelling on things that didn’t work is time that should be spent pursuing the next opportunity. Take a few minutes to lick your wounds, then get back out there and try again. Eliminating this bad habit can mean the difference between long-term success and failure.
We tend to make sales more complicated than it is by overthinking things. In most cases, doing is more important than thinking, so make sure you’re spending your time taking action that moves the needle. There is, of course, time that needs to be devoted to strategizing and problem-solving. But when that time is over, make sure you shift your focus towards getting things done.
5. Fear of prospects
Without prospects that turn into customers, salespeople can’t pay their bills. It’s this reasoning that causes salespeople to fear their prospects and to sell from a position of weakness. When you let your prospect control the process and bend over backward to try to keep them talking to you, you’re sending the message that you don’t value your own time, or that your product isn’t valuable. Salespeople need to have the confidence and the professionalism to not fear losing a prospect and to be treated as the professionals we are. After all, “Some will, some won’t, so what, next.”
We all want to win deals, and giving the prospect a discount sometimes feels like the easiest way to get there. But too many salespeople are too willing and too quick to reduce price in an effort to land a new customer. Discounts should be one of the last tools in the arsenal, not the first. And if you are going to provide a discount, you should always get something in return. This can be a signature that day, or a longer contract. If you’re only selling on price, then what’s the difference between you and a check-out page on a blog? The best salespeople get out of the habit of discounting and only use it as a last resort.