16 behaviors that are killing your sales

One of my favorite authors and speakers is Marshall Goldsmith.  Marshall is a New York Times best-selling author of several books.  One of his best-selling books, titled “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” he discusses the many actions and behaviors leaders demonstrate that prevent them from growing and having the influence that they would like to have in their organization and with their peers.  The key things in this book are the 20 behaviors that managers should stop doing. You can access a book summary that I wrote similar to this one you are reading here.  Marshall spent a lot of time with one of the greatest management thinkers of all time Peter Drucker. Mr. Drucker said that most leaders, and people in general, focus on learning more things to do, when they should really focus on what they should stop doing.  Marshall has spent most of his career and life’s work coaching executives on behaviors they should stop.

Marshall partnered with Don Brown and Bill Hawkins and wrote the book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There in Sales”.  In this book they discuss the 16 behaviors that sales people demonstrate that prevent them from making more sales and having the influence they would like to have with their prospects.

Below are the 16 behaviors that Sales People demonstrate that they need to stop.

Habit #1:  Failure to be present

  • Are you that sales person who takes a phone call while meeting with a client? Or responding to a text while giving a presentation.  Ignoring the prospect you have in front of you to pursue another one that walks by. These are some of the things sales people do that kill rapport and kill sales.  I know you are thinking to your self, I don’t do this, be sure you don’t.
  • There are three-time zones.  The past, present, and the future.  Sales people need to be sure they are in the right time zone with their prospect.

Habit #2: Vocal Filler

  • The sales person who talks too much tends to use words that are fill words or negative qualifiers.  Words such as however, but, or even no.  Have you ever had that conversation with a teen, that says “like” like 100 times, (lol)during a short conversation.  I have been guilty of these filler words, before, “Um”, “Just like”,  “I am going to be honest with you”, etc.  What about “No, You are right”.  All of these little filler words are killing your ability to be persuasive with your prospect. Record your next meeting with a prospect and see if you have any filler words, qualifiers, or other words you might be saying that could be turning your prospect off.

Habit #3:  Selling past the close

  • Some sales people try to explain the entire process from start to finish.  It is good to educate your buyer, but sometimes we try to add too much value.  Once the customer says yes, stop selling.  You don’t have to add the benefits you didn’t go over yet.  Once the customer is ready, let the customer buy. One car lot required a buyer to meet the service manager before they purchased a car.  Sure this seems nice in theory.  But sometimes a customer wants to make the purchase and leave.  Don’t send your buyer through hoops that they don’t care about.  Find out what interest them and sell them on that and move on.

Habit #4: Selective Hearing

  • There are several levels of listening.  The best form of listening is what is called active listening.  Meaning being actively involved in the conversation with someone.  Listening is a skill that can be learned.  Do you have selective hearing that is preventing you from earning more sales?

Habit #5: Contact without purpose

  • Some sales people just call their customers for the sake of calling them.  Wasting their prospects time and their own time.  Sure we need to call our prospects and follow-up with them.  But you must have a purpose for contacting.  Let a customers needs drive the contact.  Don’t bug your customers, add value to them when you are reaching out to them.  Don’t always be looking to sell something either.  Be willing to share new information or something they can use.

Habit #6: Curb qualifying

  • We think we know everything we need to know about a person just by watching them cross the street.  We assume we know everything based on appearance.  Or what we assumed they were willing to spend.  Think about Julia Roberts in the movie in Pretty Woman.  She is dressed like a hooker and the sales people in the store wouldn’t help her.  She later comes back and tells that sales person that they made a big mistake by not serving her earlier that day, as she stood there with several bags of clothing that she had purchased.  Don’t qualify your prospects based on anything.  Get to know them by asking questions.

Habit #7: Using tension as a tool

  • “Sale ends Saturday.”  Have you ever used this sales technique?  Sure we have to create urgency for our prospect sometimes, but it can sometimes backfire.  Using discomfort and scarcity to persuade the customer to buy can alienate the customer.  It can work short-term, but it doesn’t create long-term loyalty, especially when it isn’t real.

Habit #8: One upping

  • Has your spouse ever come home and said they had a really bad day at work?  And your response is, “You think your day was bad, let me tell you about my day and how bad it was!”  This is an example of one upping.  Sales people do this all of the time and don’t even realize it.  The best thing to do most of the time is to say nothing. Don’t attempt to one up your customer by telling you story or your situation.  Just like your spouse wants you to do, just listen.

Habit #9: Over Familiarity

  • The use of words and gestures as if we are closer to the prospect than we actually are.  Familiarity and being too informal can be a killer if used too soon.  The best thing to do is to be more conservative and more professional until you have good rapport built.

Habit #10: With-holding passion and energy

  • If a sales person isn’t enthusiastic about their product and services, their customer wont be either.  People make purchases on emotion, not logic.  If your presentation is flat and not exciting, then your prospect won’t be motivated to buy.  You have to give yourself a hard reality check here.  Maybe you have been doing what you are doing for years and years and you just aren’t as passionate as you used to be.  If that is the case, that is okay, just be honest with yourself and move towards something that you can get excited about.

Habit #11: Explaining failure

  • Telling the customer why you failed to deliver.  When is the last time you were in a restaurant and your food took forever and when you finally received it your waiter said that they were really busy.  They used the “we are busy” as an excuse you didn’t get your food very quickly? Did you really care that they were busy?  I know I don’t care.  How often as a sales person do you try to explain the failure to your customers instead of just owning it and moving on.  The excuse is usually worse than the actual failure.  Nobody really likes hearing excuses, even when they are real.

Habit #12: Never having to say you’re sorry

  • Refusing to say I am sorry is another thing sales people fail to do when they should be willing to do it.  “I am sorry” are three words that can change the dynamic of almost any personal relationship, so why wouldn’t it work in a business relationship?  The answer is, it does work.  Sales people must be willing to say it when a customer has been wronged. Regardless if you agree or not, if the customer feels that way, just say it and move on.

Habit #13: Throwing others under the bus 

  • Sacrificing a colleague for your own shortcomings.  If we fail to deliver what we promised, it is on us to make it right.   Blaming others shows more about who you are than it does about anything else.  Sure there are times when it is other people’s fault within your organization. However, since you are the face for the organization, just own it, correct it, and do whatever you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Habit #14: Propogandizing

  • Over-reliance on your company mission and philosophy.  Instead of adapting to a customers needs and wants, you state your company’s mission and values and processes.  Relying on the company line instead of focusing on the customer and showing empathy.  Substituting prepared information over genuine conversation.  This turns the customer off.  Be real with a prospect and do whatever you can to tailor to their needs as necessary.

Habit #15: Wasting energy

  • Hanging out at the water cooler and taking to your colleagues about what is wrong with the company and the manager.  Discussing who screwed up.  These negative actions don’t usually take place in front of your customer, but it does takes it toll on your ability to positively sell to your customer.  If you waste energy participating in this, you wont have the energy to take care of what you need to take care of. This spills over to your personal life as well.  The next thing you know you are coming home talking about how bad things are at work.  The best thing to do is to not waste energy and just do your job.

Habit #16: Obsessing over the numbers

  • At what cost is it acceptable to hit your numbers?  Sure goal obsession can be a good thing, but when does it become a bad thing?  It can become bad when we start putting sales over customer needs.  When we start embellishing the truth and not telling the truth just to make a sale.  Sure I am sure you don’t do this, but focus on serving people and the numbers will work out.

Which of the above 16 behaviors do you need to stop?  Be honest with yourself.  Focus on eliminating a few of these at a time.  Or contact me if you would like to learn more about coaching and how I could possibly work with you and your sales team to become more effective and eliminate these behaviors.  I am a certified coach in Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary and notes.

To your success and your future.

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