Sales is a Game of Inches

Where have all the “lay-downs” gone? You know a lay-down – the easiest sale you have ever made. It takes no work. A customer or prospect called or emailed & practically said, take my money, we need help! Have you had your lay down yet this year? If you did congrats – if not you will (maybe) but the rest of your sales are going to take work.

That’s just the way it is any more – selling takes work. It’s not easy (don’t let anyone tell you it is). When we make sales it’s not by a gigantic margin. We are not the only game in town. We have to work for every bit of the sale. If we are not on top of our game , competition will eat our lunch!

This means that every single thing you do counts. From your initial contact to presenting your solution – everything. What you wear. What you say. What you don’t say. Where you sit. What you send. What you ask. What you don’t ask. How you respond. How quickly you respond. Everything!

So how are you doing so far? Ever get the feeling your lunch is getting eaten? Stinks, doesn’t it?

Let’s take a look at hedging that bet. Let’s tilt the ice in our favor. Here is Top 10 List (David Letterman-style) of Sales Mistakes still being made in 2020 & what you can do about them.

A Top 10 List of Sales Mistakes to Avoid (from the corporate office in Plymouth, Michigan):

10. Leaving a voice mail for your prospect that says, “Just following up…” NO! Everyone you compete with says that! You sound like a stalker. Separate yourself from your competition by setting an expectation of when you should call to follow up & determine next steps & live up to that expectation. You’ll stop chasing prospects. 

9. Sitting across from prospects or clients on appointments. Remove the barrier that says, “Hey, you want to fight?” When you sit across from someone the space between you both is a barrier. Sit next to prospects & clients (not right next to them; Noon & 3:00 on the clock). Remove the barrier.

8. Giving everyone the same boring pitch. If you have been subscribing to this blog for even a week, then you know how we feel about pitches. Ask questions. Have discussions. Determine if you have a fit & be a consultative partner. No pitching!

7. Leaning on email like it’s a crutch. It’s easy to tell you NO over email. It’s easy to ignore an email. Stop taking the easy way out. Get in your car & go see people. Unless you are Amazon or eBay that’s how sales work in your business.

6. Listening like a 3 year old. Forget the terrible two’s… my wife & I clearly recall the terrible threes. Our kids didn’t listen to a thing we said. They were kids. Why do some of you still exhibit brutal listening skills?

5. Dressing to make yourself comfortable. There. Said it. It’s out there. Why do salespeople feel the need to let their self-expression rear its ugly head during the week? Save the trendy, flashy, casual garb for the weekend. Be professional. Dress to make your prospect (or client) feel comfortable.

4. Trash-talking the competition. Never, ever do you speak poorly about your competitors. If your prospect wants to dog your competitor that’s one thing. You stay out of it.

3. Not adding value. When salespeople fail to add value, they reduce their product or service to a commodity. Stop making it about WHAT you do & start determining WHY they would need it. Discuss the problem, not the solution.

2. Selling on price. Anyone can sell on price. Why do we need high paid sales pros to discount, lower prices, & cut into margins? Go back to #3 & start asking the tough questions. Then refer to #1.

1. Talking too much. Admit it. It feels good to tell people what you know. When you do that you make it all about you. When it’s all about you it’s not about them. When it’s not about them they want to look at something else or buy it on price. Would you shut up for once?


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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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