Tag - top 10 sales mistakes

Don’t ask to get married before courting your prospect!

Well it’s the love season! Valentines day is around the corner and love is in the air.
What would you say to a friend who said he met a great girl and after 2 dates he
was going to ask her to marry him. Though I don’t actually know your answer I
am guessing most of you reading this would say, “are you crazy?” you don’t
know enough about her, you think you are a good match but how do you really
Additionally, if you are going to ask someone to marry you, isn’t it expected that
they will say yes since there is a courting period? If there were red flags you
could pick them up early and either address them or get out before it’s too late.
Makes sense right?
Of course it does. Then why in sales, are we getting to know very little about our
prospect and asked them to marry us so soon? Somehow we think in business
courting is not necessary. Well it is! A prospect needs to understand you, your
organization, get questions answered and you need to truly understand what
their real needs are, not just the ones they tell you upfront they want or need.
You need to know the whys. They whys help you customize a true
recommendation for them that reflects all of them, not just what they initially told
you wan the issue they were trying to resolve.
The courting period is the time where you really get to know the prospects issues
and how they are affecting them and their organization. I don’t mean taking them
to lunch and to play golf. That is fine but its not what building relationships are
truly about. The idea of courting should help your prospect self-discover that
he/she wants to do business with you. Yews you can tell them why early on my
giving them your ‘dog and pony’ show of all of your features and benefits of how
you can help them or worse, how you have helped ‘others just like them’.
Imaging using that line on a date….
Here are some tip in being successful in sales and frankly in dating….
1) Slow down. The courting part takes time. It is also if done well, some true
discovery is done and will help really come up with the best plan in the

2) Ask great questions to get your prospect talking. I’m not talking about
questions like, “wouldn’t be helpful if you had a solution that would print
your widgets faster and for less money?: That is a leading question and a
very silly one. Do you really think they can’t see through that? No. Ask
open-ended thought-provoking neutral questions. Think of these questions
like this, if you didn’t have an ulterior motive to sell this person, what would
you ask them to try to help them with their issue? Those are the right

questions. They show that you care about the entire picture and not only
what revolves around your particular solution.
3) You must truly understand what the Clear Next Step will be at the end of
the meeting or phone conversation. Not just “Ill call you next week with the
proposal” or “Ill send a proposal to you on Tuesday”. NO! You must get a
clear date and time that you both agree to and have it on the calendar!
Your responsibility is to get the agreement of that next step, not suggest it
to them. There must be skin in the game, and this is how to test
that…BEFORE you propose anything!
4) Make sure that you have a full understanding of what they will do if you
decide to get them some recommendations based on what they need and
how working with you will solve those issues. In other words, don’t buy
the ring until you know she’ll say yes.
So is sales really like dating, yes and no. I will tell you it is more like it then
you think. Understanding people, TRULY understanding people is the key to
a successful career in sales…..Unless you have enough money to buy lots of
engagement rings.

Are Your Salespeople Riding the Wave?

The worst seems to be over but our economy is, inevitably, cyclical. Like the rest of us, it has its ups and downs. Yet, when we are in a down cycle, do you get nervous about the economy? And do other factors external to your industry, including world events (such as elections for example) cause you to tighten your belt?

Cycles in the economy and moments of national or world uncertainty are not a time for either anxiety or celebration but a time to be realistic and acknowledge that what goes up, must come down. I certainly don’t mean to be a downer but if we learned anything in the last few years I hope we learned that you need to be lean and mean all of the time, not just when the going gets tough. Your sales team needs to be able to respond to this volatility. If it does not, the competition’s sales team surely will.

During these last few months, with things seeming to lighten up, the opportunities are more fruitful. I am sure your sales team feels pretty good about themselves lately but what is the truth? If your salespeople are accustomed to having sales fall in their laps, especially newer ones, they have yet to be put to the test.

With the buying opportunities seeming to now be coming along more frequently, are our salespeople really good or just reaping the benefits of a comeback?

Right now, your sales team could be the weakest part of your company. It may not seem that way since you have most likely seen an upswing in sales, even slightly and are feeling relieved. Well don’t!

Many salespeople are showing their feathers like a proud peacock but fail to recognize that their sales in these times simply may be coming to them along with the ebb and flow of the economy but with very little true sales ability involved.

A lot of companies wait until desperate times. Then the layoffs and cost cutting begins. Smart companies do not wait. They know that they should evaluate their sales force now, finding out who has effective selling skills to utilize in the slump that may lie ahead.

When assessing your team, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the necessary elements for selling in a good and not so good economy?
  • Which salespeople have those elements?
  • Which of your sales people may not have the necessary skills, and why are we waiting to replace them?

If salespeople are not strong enough to make it through tough times, they probably do not belong on your team at all. Evaluate their skills. Go on a sales call with each salesperson and see how he/she performs in the real world. Another option is to have them each take an assessment that shows the skills they truly have—and don’t have*.

Hold your ground and act as though the economy were flourishing. Keep in mind that the economy is cyclical. When things are good, act as if you were looking for ways to build revenues and cut costs. Do it now, that way, you are not caught off guard when things recede —which they always do. Now is when real sales professionals can shine.


For further information on this subject follow the link http://www.schulzbusiness.com/interview-questions.aspx


* If you would like to take a free assessment for a salesperson on your team, email me at greta@schulzbusiness.com and I will send you the link.

Top 10 Sales Mistakes


10) Not pre-qualifying a potential appointment before you commit to going on it. I still hear people sway, “I go for the appointment, if I can get on front of them I have a better chance of selling it”. You also have a better chance of wasting lots of time on nothing but an opportunity that has a high chance of going nowhere.


9) Not allowing the power of silence. Silence is an important tool in negotiation. It is powerful because most people are so uncomfortable with it that they will speak again before they allow the prospect to answer. When you ask a question, allow the prospect to have time to think about the answer. If you don’t, you have lost control of the conversation and more importantly, some people need time to think before answering, for those people, you have interrupted their train of thought. Stop talking!


8) Not uncovering the next steps clearly enough. Some of us are sharp enough to know that we should ask what the next step is when on a sales appointment but there is more to it then that. For example if you asked the question, “If I come back with a proposal you like, what will happen next?” (good question by the way) and they say, “we’ll move forward” you would probably assume that means sign the deal…are you sure?? Move forward could mean lots of things so make sure you understand what it is specifically.

Don’t assume it means sign the deal without asking because you know what happens when you assume.


7) Putting a proposal together before understanding all that should go in it. I am floored how many people still do the show up, ask a few questions and ask for the “privilege” to come back with a proposal. What exactly are you proposing? Don ‘t get caught up in the “if I can show them all the great things we do they will buy” syndrome. They will buy what is relevant to them and only then!


6) Not utilizing relationships they have in the community to form alliances to help get them introduced to a potential prospect at a higher level then they may be able to get to alone or by just cold calling.


5) Defending your product or service. If someone asks why you did something or your organization made a particular decision, don’t defend the decision, ask why they are asking? Don’t assume you know why. You can get yourself if deep trouble that way.


4) Not asking for a referral because you are uncomfortable. This is an unbelievable reality to me. The #1 complaint I hear from salespeople is they hate cold- calling. Then get yourself out of the cold-call business and start asking for referrals. The two reasons why we don’t get more referrals are: 1) we don’t ask and 2) we don’t ask properly! You must be specific about who and what you are looking for. No one knows better the
n you what a good referral looks like.


3) Don’t set an agenda for a meeting. If you are calling on someone and you go in with the attitude that you will “wing it” you are in trouble. No one respects your time if you don’t respect theirs. Set an agenda, discuss it with them at the beginning of the meeting and get their agreement. They will also be on the same page with you and not an adversary.


  • Don’t give the “features and benefits” of your product until you know they are relevant to them. Don’t assume they are because you “know his/her industry. Assuming is a mistake in many ways. The most damaging is not letting them tell you the issues they are having before you make your recommendations. Even if they end up being the same ones. People need to be heard.


  • not Shutting up.



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