From the day you started your first sales job, you’ve been getting advice on what it takes to be a success. And everybody means well. But not all well-meaning advice is good advice. Some may actually be backfiring. Here are some words of wisdom that the successful salespeople have learned to ignore.
Lie No. 1. Always be P.E.P.
In the last century, the mantra was Always be Closing. It gave the sales profession a bad name then, and in today’s era of social media and tight-knit buying communities, it backfires.
The new Always be P.E.P. isn’t much better. P.E.P. stands for persuasion, enthusiasm, and pitching. You greet prospects with a bright, overly cheerful demeanor and you can’t wait to show them what you can do.
Drop the tone of your voice and shut up.
The best salespeople never talk for more than 15% of an interaction. And they use that 15% to probe. Ask questions. And listen. They focus on the prospect’s challenges and how they can help them meet them.
Try that and you’ll appear a lot more sincere.
Lie No. 2. Every customer is a good customer
When you’re starting out and every sales call is a practice call, every opportunity is worth the effort. But as soon as you get to understand your prospects and your customers, you realize that at least 50% of the people you talk to aren’t going to be a good fit for your company.
They may have a problem your products don’t really solve. They may not have the budget. Don’t waste your time or the prospect’s trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Politely explain that now might not be the best time to do a deal and move on.
Also, don’t waste too much time on low- and middle-management types. They don’t have the power or budget to buy from you. In They may not even know enough about the company’s challenges to give you good intel.
Focus on decision makers who can truly benefit from your offering and you’ll do much better in the long run.
Lie No. 3. Hard work will get you to the top
You’ve been hearing this since you were five. And if you’ve been following this advice, you may be surprised to find out that the most successful salespeople aren’t working as hard as you are. Success isn’t about working hard. It’s about working smart. It’s about using your time effectively.
Focus your energies on what’s going to make you money. Prospecting. Calling on key customers. Do you need to modify the pitch deck for a deal? Don’t overthink it. Or better yet, let the sales support staff do it for you. Paperwork? If you can’t unload it, plow through it.
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