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Sales Self Sabotage - 5 Ways

Sep 5, 2008
I have been having a lot of conversations about sales lately and I thought I'd share this with you. Here are the five most common things I've noticed that sales people do to sabotage themselves.

Let me first say that I am not throwing stones; I have been guilty of these as well. And from time to time, I still commit some of these. I find that the important thing is to be aware of them. And if you fall back to doing them, you can catch yourself and correct the situation.

Here are the five common things sales people do to undercut their success:

- No follow up. This happens all the time. How many times have you emailed and or placed a phone call to a sales department and never get a call back? It happens so much that I bet you are shocked when you do get a follow up call.

- Hang around losers. You've heard the old saying that 90% of your sales comes from 20% of your sales reps. Well if you are sales rep and you are not in the 20% don't hang around the other 80%. You'll keep getting the same results. Just remember what your parents said: You are who you hang out with. Don't ask me to explain, it's just one of those truisms that just is.

- Poor Self Discipline. This is the one I have to work at the most. High achievers in sales typically are the most disciplined. They prepare, start early, and can go on all day. The so-so crowd, takes time in the morning to prepare instead of doing it the night before. The so-so crowd cares more about their next break than whether they are on track to do the things necessary that day to propel them to their goals.

- Waste time and that of others. This is closely related to lack of discipline but worth mentioning again. Many poor performers waste their time with unproductive tasks. They spend too much time shooting the breeze. Just step into a car dealership or some store where sales people are supposed to be helping you and see how many of them are sitting around talking to each other.

- Lack of a Sales System. I love the quote from David Sandler that say something like, "If you don't have a system for selling, you will be at the mercy of the customer's system for buying." This is absolutely true. I find that by having a sales and marketing system you are better able to track your success, provide better forecasts to management, and training someone becomes a lot easier. You can make money a lot faster with a system.

We all suffer from these from time to time. But you can see that the less successful sales/marketing folks tend to live there more often. Also, management, if they are not aware of it, can create a company-wide problem by letting too many of these five things become too prevalent - and part of the culture.
About the Author
Ramon provides more marketing information, especially created for the IT VAR industry but also applies to everyone who wants to improve their sales. Stay up-to-date at StreetSmartVAR.com and while you're there, don't forget to sign up for Ramon's popular, no-cost online marketing course!
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