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Seven sales mistakes that are killing your commission

Sales is one of the highest forms of communication and a skillset that requires continuous sharpening. Here are a few faux pas that can cost a salesperson and his or her company.

They don’t listen. Many sales people have poor listening skills, they are so caught up in selling their product or service they miss the keys customers often give that will unlock exactly how to sell them. A young lady I know went to a high-end jewelry store with the intention of buying a unique piece. The sales girl was so ready to sell her something she missed key information. The operative word was “unique”. Instead, she rushed to show her a piece that was popular, the antithesis of what my friend wanted. When she left the store, she said, “Why would I want to spend that kind of money on something everyone else has?”

They are too anxious. It is not uncommon for a salesperson to get so excited about the newest feature of their product or service he or she totally overlooks what is important to the customer. An established executive was shopping for a luxury car. He was frustrated because the salesman kept harping on the car’s sound system. He assumed it was a feature the executive would want, but his prospective buyer was much more interested in the way the car handled. The salesman did not take the time to find out his buying motive, and the executive bought from somewhere else.

They fail to connect the features to the benefits.
It is easy for salespeople to be so enamored with the features of their product or service that they are in a hurry to rattle off all the bells and whistles but neglect to connect the benefit of that feature to the customer’s need. Features do not sell, benefits do. No matter what you are selling, it needs to translate into a benefit the buyer desires if you are trying to move them into a sale.

They give too many options. The adage is, “A confused customer never buys”. It is easy to overwhelm people with too many choices. When you do not present a clear solution, you risk losing your buyer. It would be difficult to sell insurance to someone by telling them about every policy available. It is better to find out what they need and narrow it down to a few choices.

They skip the steps to the sale. There are critical steps to closing a sale. When salespeople omit steps in the process, they often set themselves up to lose the sale. For example, rapport is an essential step. Many salespeople rush into selling without first building rapport, which decreases their probability of a successful sale. Establishing mutual respect early in the sales process, aids in closing the sale later.

They don’t know how to handle objections. I have seen salespeople become defensive when the prospect raises an objection, not realizing an objection is a signal that the customer needs more information. Seasoned sales people know that objections lead closer to the sale.

They sell versus consult. Assuming the posture of a consultant instead of a salesperson, empowers the salesperson to communicate differently. They come across as an expert whose job is to assist, versus someone who needs to make a commission.

They do not ask for the sale. This is incredibly common among inexperienced salespeople. Never assume because you spent 30 minutes answering the prospect’s questions that he or she is going to buy. You absolutely must ask for the sale and be ready to address the reasons for not moving forward. Many salespeople become intimidated at this point, but it should be a part of the natural progression of the process.

On September 18, I will be hosting a training event to help professionals supercharge their sales. Send me an email for details.

• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: or call 242-225-9013.

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