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Three killer mistakes made by salespeople

Imagine if more people, whether employees or entrepreneurs had stronger sales skills? Companies would increase their bottom lines, employees would increase their incomes and by extension, the economy of the country would grow. It’s not as simple as it sounds but it is definitely something to seriously consider.

Whether you’re in business for yourself, or sell goods and services for your employer, good sales are the benchmark of any successful outcome.

I remember my first real experience into sales. I started as an associate at a small technology training company – at the time called Anderson Price – selling training courses. Fast forward 13 years later, I am still selling education and training courses, which I guess it speaks to my passion for learning and growth. Those early experiences as well as overtime throughout my career, I learned the really importance of selling!

Most salespeople don’t set out to hurt their sales, but sometimes they do. Anyone who has been involved in sales can relate. As a salesperson, have you ever made what is believed to be three of the worst mistakes in sales according Mark Hunter, sales expert and sales motivation blogger? In a 2011 article under the topic of the same name, he discusses these mistakes heavily. I briefly share the mistakes below:

Mistake 1. Not listening to what your customer truly wants and needs.

Sadly, this is not uncommon among many salespeople. They are either so anxious to close the deal or they are so well-versed in all of their product’s features that they don’t take the time to understand which features most connect to the customer. As a salesperson, it is crucial you help your customer see the value in what you offer. You simply can’t do that if you haven’t figured out what the customer wants. And you can’t figure out what the customer wants if you don’t ask the right questions and follow-up questions — and then shut up and listen. As Mark Hunter writes, “short questions get you long answers”. For example, when you ask questions like “Can you tell me more about that?”, the customer will often reveal information that is golden. It’s information they possibly wouldn’t have revealed if you had been too quick to tell them about the features of your product — or too quick to close the sale.

Mistake 2. Failing to believe in your price.

It is amazing how many salespeople there are who simply do not believe in the price of their product or service. If you do not believe in your price, you must address your lack confidence in the price or you will never see the success you are capable of. In many ways, this goes back to mistake number one — not listening to what the customer wants and needs. When you grasp that what you offer has value to the customer, only then will you recognize that your price is right. In fact, you may even see that it is too low and you need a price increase! Another detriment to not believing in price is that a salesperson will be quick to offer a discount. This becomes their go-to method for closing a sale. The habit exponentially sabotages profits.

Mistake 3. Doing little or no prospecting.

If you are not consistently drumming up new business, then you become desperately reliant on your current customers. Desperate people do stupid things, like cater to current customers in such a way that it eats away at the bottom line. Even if you don’t do things like discount a price, you may make unreasonable accommodations that put pressure on other people in your company and chip away profit. Sure we can bill you twice a month instead of our normal monthly billing! Sure we can rush the delivery without an extra charge! The only way to not become completely reliant on current customers is to keep a steady flow of prospects. If you do not think you are good at prospecting, then my suggestion is simple — find ways to improve those skills. In the short run and the long run, you will benefit and your company will benefit. Instead of dreading prospecting, try to reframe your perspective and tell yourself that there are potential customers out there who need and want what you offer — and if you don’t find those customers, they will suffer. In other words, if your product or service could benefit someone, wouldn’t you want that “someone” to know it?

Every salesperson or entrepreneur wants to be at the top of their game. Therefore, when you master these selling skills, you’ll maximize profits. I wish I had greater sales skills earlier on in my business and training career. After years in the role of selling skills and education, I’ve made a living for myself, however there will always been room for improvement.

If you would like to gain confidence, skills and mastery in sales, I would like to invite you to an upcoming workshop entitled “7 Steps to 7 Figure Sales” scheduled for this September. This course is led by an expert sales trainer who has made 7 figures in sales revenue throughout her career. For more details, email me at

• Keshelle Davis is an authority in the areas of corporate, business and personal success training in the Bahamas. She is also an internationally recognized speaker and author. Her roles include Executive Director of the Chamber Institute, the education arm the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, President of Creative Wealth Bahamas and Founder of The Training Authority. Keshelle was listed as the Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40 for the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email

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