Fatal Mistakes Your Sales Reps Could Be Making

Sales reps are often used to a script. Don’t worry: there’s nothing wrong with that. Selling usually goes by a pattern, so it’s rather natural your sales teams will repeat the same strategies.

There’s just one little problem — the world is constantly changing, which means the market, your prospects and your product’s role might as well. What used to work beautifully might not be a good strategy at all. By the time you realize, your sales are slowly decreasing.

It’s extremely important to keep track on what’s new. If, out of a sudden, people find out selling in superhero clothes increases revenue, be the first to dress your team like the Justice League. As human beings are volatile, so are negotiation aspects.

Your team would go to a meeting like this. That wouldn’t be so bad, though.

First and foremost, we advise you to review your sales reps’ process at a certain frequency. That amount of time, of course, depends on what you find to be the best inside your company. The main point is for you not to let yourself fall into that routine. It’s easier to fix a few mistakes as they appear than having to rethink your process entirely.

But what kind of mistakes my sales reps might be making currently?

If you wish to fix the parts that aren’t working as fine anymore, make sure you’ll pay attention to what bit of the process isn’t as effective. Is it at the introduction of the product? Is it by the time you’re presenting prices to prospects?

To help you in that discovery, we’ve selected the most common (and fatal) mistakes sales reps can be making nowadays.

1) Not doing enough research.

That’s one of the most frequent mistakes. Before you say “that is totally not ourcase”, think again. Of course, you might be right and your reps might be really well-equipped with information before a call. But you might also be terribly wrong.

Sales reps have to pay attention to details.

If a prospect’s company is located in Nevada, that sure doesn’t mean that your prospect lives in Nevada. If he actually lives in Florida and a rep is asking him about the weather in NV, you’re off to a bad start. At a call, causing a bad first impression can be lethal. Don’t just look the company up, but also the person your team will be talking to. LinkedIn is your friend.

Which also means being careful. It’s the social media age, but that doesn’t mean everyone has a profile everywhere. If said person isn’t anywhere on the public eye and only owns a private account on Instagram, respect that privacy. It doesn’t matter if you found out they have a dog — it’s not something to bring up. As great as a personalized conversation might be, you don’t want your reps to seem invasive (especially now that everyone is watching Black Mirror).

2) Asking the wrong questions.

Salespeople should be masters of their words. Jedi Knights of argumentation, if you will.

That means they must know what questions are more suitable to what context. Even more so, they must know some questions aren’t suitable at all.

For example:

Instead of asking who the decision maker is, try asking who is involved in the process.

You don’t want to take power off the prospect’s hands. Even if the person on the other end isn’t the decision maker, your rep is still the one with an offer to make.

Instead of going for “let me ask you something”, go for “may I ask you something?”.

Again, about the power — the chances of your prospect replying “no” is minimum, but your rep gains points by being polite and asking permission.

“How are you today?” is not a good opening line for a call.

Either prospects will reply with a neutral answer or a very bad one. Either way, an unscheduled sales call is interruptive. Should you waste their time by asking something that doesn’t add to the conversation whatsoever?

3) Being too attached to the script.

Any person can follow a script. For that reason, your sales teams might be selling your product, but it ends there.

What makes a good sales rep is being able to sell; what makes an amazing sales rep is causing an impression.

Each prospect is a different prospect; that means personalizing is vital. As mentioned before, researching the prospect is a great idea, but there’s something to the actual moment of the call. It’s essential to adapt the conversation to a customer, based on their answers and needs. Instead of following a script, reps must be encouraged to build their conversation based on the prospect’s responses. After all, there’s nothing less attractive than someone who asks and doesn’t listen to the replies.

By doing so, you’re also teaching your sales teams to learn more about the usabilities of your product. Your product or service doesn’t serve at all if it doesn’t solve problems. You might think your software is perfect for that certain company, but maybe it doesn’t fit in the pain you thought. That is a constant learning for your sales team: where does it fit? Could your product maybe serve to other people or other purposes? How, exactly, are you going to help that prospect (if you can)?

4) Relying on the presentation.

Slides exist for a reason, of course. Humans are visual beings and they’re attracted (and better convinced) by a good slideshow. But a good set of slides won’t do a thing if the salesperson isn’t there to sell.

Presence is vital.

Regarding presentation, a sales rep’s presence adds points, if he’s able to speak for himself. He has to know exactly what are the features, the benefits and how to adapt the slideshow to the prospect’s situation. That’s also where body language and eloquence make a difference.

5) Using the wrong tools.

Technology is here on our behalf, so we tend to think anything helps. It doesn’t work that way.

It’s beyond crucial that your team will use the best tools to work. Perhaps your sales reps aren’t using CRM appropriately, or they’re in a platform that wasn’t meant for your context. Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, find the right tools to facilitate your team’s job.

6) Not reading into a prospect’s words.

Here’s the thing: there are a bunch of reasons why prospects could be refusing to buy. Sometimes, the reason isn’t precisely what they say it is.

That doesn’t mean they are lying. But it does mean your sales team needs to look into the explanations more closely.

Let’s look into this situation:

Charles (your sales rep) and a prospect (Jim) got along very well. The conversation was dynamic, Charles understood Jim’s company roles and explained what his product was. Trusting he was on his way to a successful sales call, Charles presented price and payment possibilities. That’s where Jim said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t afford that price.” So, Charles goes to you and asks you if he can lower the price to that said customer.

Of course, the problem can be money. Most of the time, it probably is. But sometimes — and that is where your team should be looking into — lowering prices won’t do a thing for your prospect.

The key word is value.

Like it was said, selling a solution to the person’s problems is incredibly important. If your prospect didn’t see a value in your product or service, there is no reason why he would buy even if it got cheaper.

Charles calls Jim again and offers him a cheaper product. That might be it. The deal is closed and everyone gets happy.


Charles calls Jim again and offers him a cheaper product. Jim can now afford the offer, but he doesn’t want to buy. When that happens, it’s Charles’ job to find out what Jim’s company truly needs and how his solution can help.

7) Wrong timing.

Okay, no one wants to pick up the phone and hear “Hey, do you want to buy my product?”. Reps must take the time to educate the prospect. Building a relationship is of the utmost importance.

Despite that, there is also too late in selling. Salespeople shouldn’t take too long to ask if a prospect wishes to buy — if they are convinced before the presentation or explanation is over, their time is being wasted. Overselling can be truly counterproductive.

A useful solution to that is taking moments to ask if the potential buyer has seen enough to make a decision. By doing so, your team can increase productivity and the effectiveness of their strategies.

Originally published at blog.usekast.com.