What are the top 5 mistakes a salesman can make?

We’re just lining up our next set of videos to shoot before Easter, and How NOT 2 sell has come out at the top of the list as a hot topic.  We’ve been discussing what we think the TOP mistakes are, and came up with this list (in no particular order):

  1. Interrupting – so you don’t find out what the customer is trying to tell you
  2. Not asking good and plentiful questions – so you don’t know what world the customer inhabits
  3. Closing too soon – so you don’t widen the conversation and explore other opportunities
  4. Not checking out the customer – naively expecting every conversation to lead to a budget
  5. Being inflexible – expecting your style to be fit for purpose for every conversation instead of flexing it to be more like the person you are talking to.
Using your pen as a dagger, Spencer.  Very intelligent!

Using your pen as a dagger, Spencer. Very intelligent!

What would your list be?  Do please share.

I’ve perpetrated some, if not all of these over the years, I suspect.  I can also think of some horrendous social gaffes that aren’t on this list because we can take “social flatulence” as kind of a given:  just don’t do it!

There was the time I asked someone “What do you think, sir?” and the man standing next to him said “Excuse me, that’s my wife!”  Shudder.

I remember (I’m cringing here) selling a publican someone so much wine on our Christmas drinks promotion that we had to send a brewery vehicle in January to take the lot back.  (I still won the Salesman’s prize for best performance against target on the promotion.  Cringe).

Oh yes, then there was me trying to convince a group in a training room that some idea of mine was going to work.  “If you like the idea, let’s see thumbs up”, said I.  “But I haven’t got any thumbs!” said the chap sitting at the end of the table.  Gulp.  Thank goodness he and the rest of us belly laughed our way out of that one.

There you are, I’ve told you mine, now it’s your turn.  Please share your list of the Top 5 Sales Gaffes, and any special sales anecdotes that you have either perpetrated or been the victim of.


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