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Text Josh Barnett, 2014
Cover Art Joshua L. Loveday, 2014
“101 Sales Mistakes and How To Avoid Them”
by Josh Barnett
Edited by Jillian B. Loveday and Joshua L. Loveday
Printed in the USA
First Paperback Printing, July 2014
First Ebok Edition, July 2014
I’ve seen sales representatives speak to
people their own age, and say, “Hi, how’s it
going? Are you the homeowner here?” in
a higher, sweeter tone like you would to a
To avoid this mistake, I advise my sales
representatives to pretend like they’re
talking to a friend. Use a voice that is ca-
sual, yet professional.
Working an area
Whatever the sales profession is (knock-
ing doors, making calls, etc.), a new sales
representative will burn through an area
way too fast. Before they know it, they’re
out of the area.
Stop burning through the area. Talk to a
company leader who has an equal amount
of area as you do and see how they’re
working through it.
You’ll have to come back and re-work your
area if you don’t work your area efficiently.
Wasting time with
your map & area
I’ve seen sales representatives on the
street who are looking at the area, looking
at the map, and then looking at the area
again. These sales representatives look
lost, and this causes the neighborhood to
worry about them. Don’t waste time look-
ing at your map on the streets.
Look at your map on the doorstep after a
sale. Know where you are when you get
out of your car, so that you can focus on
finding more people and getting more
Letting the “no’s”
get to you
Have you ever played a video game? In
my generation, I was one of the kids who
got the original Nintendo with Mario and
Sometimes you die when you play a video
game, but you understand dying is part of
the gaming experience. It is the same with
selling. You’re going to get “no’s” from
people, they’ll be rude to you and slam
the door in your face. But just like a video
game, it shouldn’t phase you or stop you
from finding success. It’s ok, because you
can start again with the next customer.
Save your energy for the “boss level.” If
you let the injuries of “no’s” deplete your
enthusiastic energy, you won’t be able to
succeed with the decision makers on the
Know that getting rejected is a part of
the sales process, and sometimes you just
need to hit the restart button to try again
with the next person.
Going too slow on
Sometimes while selling some customers
are thinking, “Okay...Is there a point?” By
going through all of the “steps,” you lose
the attention of the customer, and you
have forgotten to personalize your mes-
Recognize the personality style of your
prospective client and adapt your mes-
sage to fit their needs. By doing this, you
will condense your message so that it will
only focus upon things your prospective
client would want to hear. Don’t take too
much time on something the customer
does not care to hear.
Going too fast on
Have you ever given a sales approach
where you were talking so fast that the
customer couldn’t understand what you
were trying to sell? Slow down! It is pos-
sible to be too enthusiastic at the door-
Slow down your approach by asking ques-
tions. Asking questions will not only slow
down your approach, but also will involve
Not adjusting the
Sometimes sales representatives will as-
sume that everyone has the same needs.
That’s like assuming that all females look
for the same qualities in a guy and that all
males look for the same qualities in a girl;
it’s not right. People have different needs
Make sure that what they are looking for
is found. If you listen, you will be able to
find the needs of each potential client.
Ask, “what do you like about your current
company?” or, “what do you dislike about
your current provider?”
Not talking to
I often have sales representatives com-
plain about not having enough sales, or
not having enough people interested in
the product. But when I look at their route
sheet to see how many doors they’re
knocking on, they’re not talking to enough
Don’t assume that the entire area will be
the same because you had a few rejec-
tions. Talk to more people!
I’ve seen sales representatives go to the
door, offer a product and immediately
give up after the first excuse or rejection.
Successful sales representatives, push
through the “no’s.” Some sales represen-
tatives make it a game to see how many
“no’s” they can get through before they
get a “yes.”
When you were a child and wanted to
have a party, a new toy, or a friend come
over, did you stop asking after the first
“no”? Sales is no different, keep asking
until you succeed. Be persistent without
Showing up and
I’ve seen sales representatives go to the
doorstep with so much information in
their heads that they spew all of it out; If
you do this, you will lose sales. A customer
cannot receive so much information that
they feel overwhelmed.
Stop showing up and throwing up. Don’t
tell them everything about your product
or company, only tell them what they need
to hear. Personalize your message.
Being too formal
A lot of times, we will hire sales represen-
tatives who used to be religious mission-
aries for their church. It’s good to be a
missionary, I was a missionary, but mis-
sionaries sound professional. If you sound
too professional to a potential client, they
will treat you like a professional salesman
and ask you to leave a card, and get off
Stop being professional and start being
casual. Act as if you were a friend of a
Giving a solution before
you know the problem
What if you went to the doctor’s office,
and he didn’t ask for your name or inju-
ry. Instead, the doctor gives you a pair of
glasses. He explains how important and
top of the line these glasses are. Is he an
effective doctor for your sore knee or bro-
ken arm? No, because he isn’t addressing
the real problem.
If you go to the doorstep and only speak
about solutions, without knowing the
problem; the customer will be frustrated
and won’t listen to what you have to say.
Find their problem and personalize the
solution. You have to diagnose the prob-
lem before you can recommend a solution.
Ask questions to find their specific needs.
Have you noticed how awkward it feels
when you pause too much on your ap-
proach? Did you forget what comes next?
Awkward pauses leave an awkward feeling
Practice your approach. By practicing
your approach, you will eliminate the awk-
When a customer provides you with a
concern, the worst thing to do is to ig-
nore it and continue with your approach.
If they’re concern is not resolved, they will
not want to buy from you.
Identify the concern, resolve, it and move
on. Don’t just skip over the concern. If you
go around their concern, you will not get
There will be times that you are going
through your entire approach, and the
prospect isn’t even paying attention.
Why? Because you do not involve them by
asking questions! You waste your time by
going through your entire approach when
they aren’t paying attention.
Identify the people that aren’t going to be
paying attention to you. Ask them ques-
tions to involve them. Somehow grab their
attention to get them to talk to you.
Knocking on doors where no one is home
is only a waste of your time. You can tell
which ones are home and which homes
are empty; someone is outside, the garage
door is open, or there is a car in the drive-
Start with the homes that have signs of
someone home first. If there aren’t any of
those signs, save those homes. Notice that
I didn’t say skip those homes; I said save
those homes. If you are making phone
calls, ask the prospect when is the best
time to call them. Find people that are
going to be home.
When a salesperson is too timid, or wor-
ried about doing something wrong while
going through their sales approach, the
customer will not be confident in their
abilities. Here’s the thing, your custom-
er doesn’t know what you are going to
say next! So, don’t shoot yourself in the
foot by saying, “Ah! Can I start again?” or,
“Let’s see, what’s next?” Don’t do that!
Memorize your approach. You’ll know
which step of the process they should be
going to. If you mess it up, back track. The
customer doesn’t know the order either
People who struggle are the ones who
don’t practice. Successful sales repre-
sentatives are practicing their approach.
There will be times when you have to do
your approach in 30 seconds. There will
be times where a customer is going to ask
you questions out of order. You have to be
able to adapt your approach and person-
Learn how to pull out step 3 and 7 before
you even do 4, 5 and 6. Take the time to
Making a “serious”
Some of you have a tendency to talk down
to people. Talking down to people only
makes them feel inferior to you. Custom-
ers don’t buy if they are feeling inferior.
Stop talking down to people. Treat them
as an equal! Talk on their level. Be happy
Don’t make the mistake of eliminating
jokes. Customers that laugh are custom-
ers that buy. For my sales representatives,
I give them specific jokes along the way
because it lightens the mood.
Be sure and laugh. Laughing is good for
Not talking to
I have seen sales representatives do an
approach to the kid of the household; I
have lost sales that way. Clearly the owner
of the house is not home, so they decide
to do it to the child. You should be able to
recognize who is in charge of the house-
Be sure to recognize who are the adults
and who are the kids. Don’t tell the kids
who you are, because when the parents
come home, the kids will say, “Hey some
guy who wants to sell you insurance came
by.” And you are not going to get the sale.
So stop telling the kids who you are and
what you do. Just say your name and ask
when their parents will be home.
Telling yourself that
“it’s a bad day”
You can’t have bad days. You can have a
bad hour; you can have a bad afternoon,
but you can’t have a bad day.
Don’t allow yourself to think that it is a
bad day. It’s not a bad day; it’s maybe just
a bad afternoon. You are simply getting
all of the “no’s” out of the way, so you can
make room for all of the “yes’.”
I have seen sales representatives bounce
around neighborhood to neighborhood,
wasting a lot of time traveling when they
should be selling. Don’t constantly be
thinking, “Oh, I should go to this area.”
Stay in your area and cherry pick. If you
are constantly moving around different
areas, you’re not going to be able to sell a
In our organization, we give our sales
representatives a sales bible. In the sales
bible, there is a spot for notes for motiva-
tional thoughts, goals, training from the
manager, and feedback from practicing
Take time to study! Top earners are always
top learners; they study their compa-
nies products, and they are also studying
other motivational books and techniques.
So, congratulations for reading this book
because you are taking time to invest in
Successful people take the time to invest
Sometimes when you are sending e-mails
or text messages, communications can get
lost. Prospects feel more comfortable can-
celling a meeting or a sale without face-
to-face interactions because the commu-
nication is impersonal.
Communicate face-to-face whenever pos-
sible. Talking face-to-face makes the com-
munication more personal; they can see
you, they can read your body language,
and they can see that you are a genuine
human being. If you can’t communicate
face- to-face, a telephone, voice-to-
voice conversation is the next best thing.
Through voice-to-voice, the conversation
is still made personal by hearing how a
person is feeling in their tone of voice.
Having a midday
Many sales representatives freak out
because they have only one sale by 5:00.
However, the majority of sales happen in
the evening, from 5-9.
Take a few minutes to breathe and medi-
tate.You did not get a terrible area. You are
not a bad salesman. Be calm, and collect-
ed. Then, go out and sell more!
A customer will say, “well, you’ve got to
talk to my wife.”
And the salesman will say, “okay, I’ll come
And then the salesman leaves. How do
you know when you are coming back!? An
effective call back has a time frame. It’s
almost like an appointment.
Make sure you ask what time you can
come back before you leave!
Some sales representatives will tell them-
selves that they can only get x number of
sales. You will never perform above your
own perception. So if you think you are
only a 4 sales person, you will only get 4
sales. If you perceive yourself as a 9 or a
10 sales person, you are going to sell 9 or
Don’t set low goals because you think that
is all you will be able to achieve. You can
sell more, I promise you.
Not asking the customer
about their provider
In sales, you are always going to have to
know your competition. How can you
identify what strengths and what weak-
nesses they have if you don’t even know
what company your prospect has?
Find out who their current provider is. By
finding the current provider, you can bring
up some perks that your company has
that their current provider doesn’t, thus
making it easier to sell!
When you start the day with a bad atti-
tude, you are not going to get any sales.
Imagine the great Michael Jordan thinking,
“I hope I don’t trip! I hope I don’t miss the
basket!” Do you think he’s thinking about
that? No! He’s thinking about how awe-
some it’s going to be when he dunks it!
Think of how awesome it’s going to be
when you get the sale. Stop being neg-
ative! I don’t know anybody who has
had positive results from thinking nega-
tive. Start thinking positive, and you will
Not knowing your
I remember I was shadowing a particular
sales representative. The customer men-
tioned that their current company didn’t
have a feature that I knew our company
did. But the sales representative just stood
there while the customer was about to
close the door.
So, I told them that we offered the service
they wanted and guess what? We got the
sale! Why? Because I knew what the com-
petitor offered and did not offer.
Take time for you to write down what you
and your competitors are selling. What do
they offer and what do they not offer? By
knowing the competition, you will be able
to get the sale!
Everyone has to take a lunch! I am not giv-
ing you a hard time for taking time to eat.
However, I am telling you that the top per-
formers I’ve seen don’t take long lunches.
Take enough time to eat, and then get
back to selling. Don’t waste any extra
minute. Successful sales people don’t take
long lunches so they can have more time
to make sales.
Getting sold on
On every single doorstep, a sale is made,
either they sell to you on why they don’t
have to buy, or you sell to them on why
your product or service is a better solu-
tion. At the end of the day, are you a buy-
er or are you a seller?
The person with the most confidence
wins, so be confident on what it is that
you are selling. Don’t allow them to per-
suade you that their current company is a
better company. You need to be able con-
fidently persuade them. You are the seller,
not the buyer!
Many sales can be made in a day; you just
have to manage your time wisely. Those
that don’t succeed have a bad habit of
wasting time. Whether it is with social me-
dia, sleeping in, going to bed early, spend-
ing too much time on the phone or in the
car, wasting time only takes away time
from getting more sales; this also applies
to spending time with customers who are
clearly not going to buy.
Be productive. Multi-task. Wake up ear-
ly, stay off of social media and don’t let
anything distract you from selling. Also
be aware of the time wasters, people who
have no interest in buying your product or
service. Be cautious with your time!
Setting callbacks far
apart from each other
If you are a door-to-door salesman and
you set callbacks that are far away from
each other, there is no possible way to
make good use out of your time. You only
waste time setting callbacks that are far
Set your callbacks in the same geograph-
ic area, so you aren’t wasting your time
driving all over the place. Be efficient and
productive with your time.
Having a presentation
instead of conversation
I remember a particular sales representa-
tive who was struggling with his approach.
Everything we taught him to say was spot
on, except one thing. He wasn’t asking
enough questions.When you stand, and
just talk the whole time, that is a presenta-
tion. But when you are asking questions,
involving them, it is more of a conversa-
tion. Conversation vs. Presentation.
Ask more questions. Let them talk by in-
volving them into the conversation. Let it
be a friendly conversation, not a straight-
Skipping people that you
haven’t spoken with
It is hard to work area effectively if you
don’t know who you have already talked
to. Do you have an organized system of
keeping track of the houses you are con-
Keep track on your Ipad, phone or even
a piece of paper. Successful sales profes-
sionals all have an efficient way to orga-
nize all of the people they have contacted.
Whether it be the people they haven’t
spoken with, who their callbacks are and
who they shouldn’t waste their time with,
sales professionals know that by keeping
track, they will be able to make their area
Not being able to
answer a question
I have seen a sales representative who
wasn’t able to answer a question. “Uhhh…
yeah...I don’t know,” he said with a deer in
the headlights look on his face. Not being
able to answer a question that a customer
has, does not give confidence in the cus-
tomer to buy.
Have answers to all of the questions. If you
don’t know the answer, don’t make one
up! Be a problem solver. Call the manag-
er, or another colleague. Find a way to
answer their questions! The customer will
not buy if their questions cannot be an-
Not making an
Are you making an emotional connection?
Successful sales professionals understand
that the sale is based on an emotional
connection. People justify with logic, but
they buy for emotional reasons.
Be sure to take time to get them emotion-
ally involved by having them know what
they can do with the extra money they are
They will enjoy your service more because
you got them emotionally involved in the
Not knowing the steps
to your approach
Have you ever seen a sales representative
that was awkwardly fumbling over their
approach because they didn’t know what
they were doing? If that is you, you need
Practice your approach. Find the top per-
former in your company and record their
approach. Go home and study the ap-
proach so you can incorporate the things
that work into your own.
Many sales representatives wing it and
their approach sounds horrible. So please,
write down your approach from the intro-
duction all the way down to closing the
Letting the customer
control the conversation
Have you ever been at a sales appoint-
ment where the customer is dominating
the conversation so you can’t get in a
Ask questions. Questions control the
conversation. By asking a question, you
can completely take control to guide the
Losing a sale because of
a competitor’s price
When a customer says, “I’m with xyz com-
pany” many sales professionals will just
quit and give up on the sale because the
customer is “happy” with their price.
Don’t give up so quickly. Your potential
customer could have problems with their
current company that your company
could resolve. Other companies may not
offer services that your company can.
Don’t lower your price to match your com-
petitor, explain why your product is worth
the extra amount.
Accepting a “happy”
Almost every customer will have a current
provider (depending upon your industry).
Don’t be surprised if a customer says, “I’m
happy with my current company.”
Don’t be so quick to say, “Thank you for
I train my sales representatives to say,
“We’re not looking for unhappy people. If
you were unhappy, you would’ve switched
before I came along. We’re helping people
see all the benefits. People are switching
to us because we can provide services
that your current company can’t.”
After you’ve done this, explain what your
company can offer them.
Be confident in your product.
Sales representatives that are unsuccess-
ful will automatically place the blame on
someone or something else.
They’ll blame their area, partner, boss,
product, and everything that they can
think of before they’ll blame themselves.
Don’t blame others for your failures. If you
want to succeed in selling, you have to
take ownership for your numbers. Those
numbers don’t belong to your company or
your manager; they belong to you--take
ownership of them.
Contacting people at the
wrong time of day
Many sales representatives don’t know
how to set effective callbacks because
they don’t know the best time for the cus-
Find out when is the best time of day to
meet your prospect and make sure that it
is specific. An effective callback would in-
clude the date, time, and back-up contact
information (in case the appointment falls
through). Don’t just walk away without
having the specifics.
Some sales representatives will over-ex-
If you hear a customer say, “Uh-huh….
uh-huh….uh-huh…” then you are talking at
them, not with them.
Ask questions along the way. You should
be making small closes along the way by
getting them involved.
Some sales representatives want to share
every single thing that they know about
the company, and they over-complicate
the process. Don’t overwhelm the custom-
er with information.
Only tell the customer the basics.
Leave them a brochure that will provide
them with more information, and give
them time to think about your product or
Remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stu-
Overusing or forgetting
to ask for their name
Some sales representatives will forget to
get the customer’s name, or they’ll over-
use it when they have it.
Getting the customer’s name is critical.
Referencing them by name will help them
feel comfortable with you enough to ask
questions. However, don’t overdo it.
Saying the customer’s name in every sen-
tence is a bit much. You should only refer
to them by name a couple times in your
Nervous sales representatives are fidgety.
They play with their fingers, stutter with
their approach, avoid eye contact and dis-
tract the customer.
Practice your approach in front of a mir-
ror or video camera. Watch yourself, and
study your nervous twitches.
If you notice mistakes; correct them until
they are perfected.
Some sales representatives will continue
to go through the motions even if their
numbers are low; that is a huge mistake.
You never want to go more than an hour
without talking to someone. If you do,
something is wrong.
Be willing to stop and ask for help. If you
are struggling, call another team member,
call your manager.Those that are success-
ful know that asking for help is a necessity.
If you are not hitting the numbers that you
are supposed to, take the time to ask for
Thinking it will
Some sales representatives fail to take
training material seriously; they prefer the
easy option and refuse to work hard.
If you go easy on yourself; your job is go-
ing to be a lot harder. However, if you are
hard on yourself during the training and
the preparation time, your job will be easy.
Be hard on yourself. Study company or
product manuals, and attend training sem-
Not putting in
the extra work
Some sales representatives are late for
training and prospecting. Those same rep-
resentatives are also last from lunch and
the first to head home for the day. They
are also the sales representatives with the
least amount of success.
More time = More results.
Can you tell when someone doesn’t like
their job? Yes.
It shows in their face, body, and voice; you
can tell that there is an extreme lack of en-
If you want to be successful, you have to
have a lot of enthusiasm. You don’t have
to be over the top, just be excited.
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are able
to be enthusiastic about your product or
service, you can transfer that energy over
to your customer.
It is very common for me to call up and
give sales trainings. In these trainings, I
ask my representatives or clients to take
notes and email them to me. I’ve found
that the top performers are the ones with
the longest notes.
When I ask my team what they have
learned, top performers are also learning
from every single person on the team as
Those who don’t take any notes always
have significantly lower numbers because
they are not taking their work seriously.
Take notes at your next sales meeting or
training. When you take the time to write
down what you have learned, your chanc-
es of successfully applying those princi-
Letting yourself have
a bad day
It’s possible to have a bad door, phone
call, or hour, but it is impossible to have a
bad day, week, or month. Those who are
unemployed in the future are those who
let bad hours turn into bad days, weeks,
Instead of saying, “it’s a bad day,” tell
yourself that it’s merely a “bad door/call”
or “bad hour.”
Top performers can turn bad hours into a
Not helping customers
With each step of the sales approach,
there is a hurdle that the customer must
jump over. Some sales representatives
make the mistake of ignoring the hurdles;
they go through their entire sales ap-
proach without asking questions. While
the sales representative is racing around
the sales track, the customer is left in the
Ask open-ended questions. Getting the
customer involved lets you know that they
are following you along the track; jumping
any hurdles that may appear.
Taking the job
I have seen sales representatives say,
“Wow, you are taking this way too seri-
ously...It’s just a job.” No, It’s not just a job!
I have a beautiful wife and 3 children at
home, so when I leave my family to come
to work, I’m not just leaving to do some
meaningless job. I am leaving to do some-
thing important. If it weren’t important, I
would be at home with my family.
People who take their job too lightly have
lower numbers and success than those
who take their jobs seriously.
Find a reason to take your job serious-
ly. My reason is to provide for my family.
Serious selling leads to serious results.
“The business is closing in five minutes...I
better stop,” or “People are probably
eating dinner at 5:00; I better not bother
them.” There is always a good excuse for
giving up early, but it doesn’t mean that
we should use them.
Keep prospecting. Don’t just stop because
you think people won’t open up to you.
Success is hiding where you least expect
Sales representatives fail to succeed when
they don’t believe in themselves, their
company, product, or industry.
Study your product, company, industry,
and yourself and find a reason to believe.
Ask yourself “why do I need this?” or “how
would this benefit the customer?”
Being too quick to set a
Some sales representatives are too quick
to set up a callback when customers say,
“I don’t have time for this” or “I’m busy
My usual response to such statements is:
“You know what? I don’t have time for this
either. I’ll make it quick for you,” then I’ll
jump into the approach.
I’ll get their attention by referencing a
neighbor or someone they know that
switched over to our company.
This solution may only give you an extra
30 seconds, so you need to make sure
that you have some strong bullet points
and benefits to share with them.
Sales success comes from more than
good service; you have to ask for referrals.
Some sales representatives assume that
customers will tell everyone they know
about their product or service, which isn’t
always the case.
Let your customers know that you appre-
ciate doing business with them and ask if
they have any friends or family members
that can benefit from your product or ser-
vice. Try to get the contact information of
at least 2-3 people.
Doing this will solidify your sale by giving
the customer a chance to explain the ben-
efits of your product or service to others.
Representatives who lose steam in the
sales world sometimes make the mistake
of not having enough motivation to keep
Listen to motivational speakers, watch
motivational videos, and find other team
members to get you motivated again!
Being afraid of
“No Soliciting” signs
Roughly 80% of the people with “No So-
liciting” signs will be glad that you came.
Sometimes signs are there from former
residents, or a current owner that buys
Only 20% of homes refuse solicitors.
Knock on the doors with the “No Solic-
iting” signs. Don’t be afraid of the word
“no,” because most customers will be glad
that you came.
Being afraid of selling
with your team members
Some sales representatives are afraid to
sell with other team members because
they want to own the sale themselves.
However, selling with another successful
team member gives extra power to the
When the opportunity arises to sell with
other members, do it! Not only does hav-
ing a second person with you give power
to the sale, it also lets you learn new tech-
niques to improve your sales when you go
Thinking that you are
One sales representative that I had was
afraid of being “one of those annoying
If you see yourself as an interrupting and
irritating sales representative, that’s how
the customer will see you.
Be confident in yourself and don’t see
yourself as annoying. See yourself as a
person who has a product or service that
could benefit them.
Feeling like you are
Some sales representatives fail to see the
need for their product, and they feel like
they are using others to get money.
Make sure you own your product. You
won’t be able to help a customer see a
need if you don’t see a need. Believe in
your product or service.
Many times, sales professionals will show
up, explain a couple of things and then
hurry to close the sale. If you want to be
successful, you can’t close the sale right
Take the time to get to know the custom-
er, and explain the benefits of your prod-
uct; this will help your customer feel like
you care about them as an individual, and
it will help them see a need for your prod-
Ignoring the success
Sometimes a sales representative will
dominate the week, month, or year and
other sales representatives make the mis-
take of attributing their success to their
area or sheer luck.
These sales representatives are dominat-
ing because they are in control. If you
think that their success is not in their con-
trol, then your success is not inside your
Know that you are in control of your suc-
Learn from the success of others and ap-
ply what you’ve learned.
One of the biggest mistakes that you
could make as a sales representative is to
schedule a callback during prime pros-
pecting times (usually 5:00 to 9:00). You
only lose time for more sales by setting
callbacks during this time.
Try to schedule your callbacks after prime
prospecting times (usually 9:00 is a good
starting time for call-backs).
for the next day
Customers think in terms of days and
weeks, but successful sales professionals
think in terms of minutes and hours.
Never set callbacks for a day or week lat-
er; the customer will have too much time
to think of excuses.
Set callbacks that are a couple of hours
away; this leaves you with success today
instead of appointments tomorrow.
Being a pushover
(being too nice)
Some sales representatives try so hard to
be nice that they let the customer bully
If you are confident, the customer will see
the importance of your message.
Don’t accept an immediate “no.” Fight for
Being late to meetings
There is a very clear rule that if you want
to be on time, show up ten minutes early.
Showing up on time is being late. Do you
want to lose a sale? Be late to an appoint-
If you want to be a top performer, show
up early for meetings and appointments.
Many sales representatives get distracted
by outside influences such as social media,
movies, television shows, home occurrenc-
es, or previous sales experiences.
Don’t get distracted by negativity or out-
side influences. Keep moving forward.
The front windshield of a car is large, and
the rear-view mirror is small because it is
more important to look and move forward.
Getting told by
Sometimes customers will claim that
a certain product has a feature that it
doesn’t, and some sales representatives
will agree with them--even if they know
the feature doesn’t exist.
Be confident, yet tactful. Explain that oth-
er customers like your product or service
because they provide specific features.
Then back up your evidence with custom-
It’s hard to take someone seriously if they
don’t even take themselves seriously. Have
you ever seen a sales representative that
was unprofessionally dressed in sloppy,
Be dressed for success. You should always
be able to look the part.
Make sure that your attire is appropriate
for the area and customer that you are
selling to. For example, I have a friend of
mine who is a financial advisor. He has two
cars; a nice Audi and a beat up pick-up
truck. He thinks of which car fits the area
before meeting with a customer.
Not helping your
Some sales representatives don’t want to
help anybody else because they think it
will take away from their own success.
Give back by helping others in any way
that you can.
What is the difference between being con-
fident and being pushy?
Confidence gives the customer security in
your knowledge of the product or service.
Being pushy means that you are not lis-
tening to the customer’s concerns.
Listen to the customer’s problems and
help them see how your product or ser-
vice could benefit them.
Some sales representatives feel like they
can use the same approach for every cus-
tomer, but that isn’t true. Each customer
has specific needs that you have to ad-
Don’t assume that one sales approach is
enough. You need to be versatile in your
approach so that you can customize each
approach to the current customer.
Some sales representatives wait for the
customer to close for them.
If you are ever waiting for the customer
to close for themselves, they are probably
going to brush you off.
Close with confidence by giving them soft
closes along the way. A small close could
be asking them what color they would like,
or what time of the month they would like
to have their service.
Lying to the
You would think that this would be an
obvious thing to avoid as a sales represen-
tative, but it happens more often than you
Sales representatives might lie about
someone who bought their product or
service, or they might lie about a non-exis-
tent feature or service.
Stop lying! Tell your customers the truth.
Lying loses credibility for you and the
company. While referencing neighbors,
reference real names.
I am always annoyed when I’m giving a
training, and I see a sales representative
that is distracted. Nothing is gained from
attending a meeting if it is not taken seri-
Put your distractions away and pay atten-
tion. Get involved, ask questions, answer
questions and take notes.
Your chances of getting something from
the meeting will be much higher if you are
Not being able to
Sometimes sales representatives will call
up their manager and complain about
their current situation. However, the com-
plaining only wastes your time and the
You are being paid to be a problem solver.
If you think about it long enough, you will
be able to solve your own problem.
Before calling a manager with your prob-
lems, try to see if there is a way that you
can solve the problem yourself.
Not knowing the
In the musical, “The Music Man,” there is a
line where a salesman says that the Music
Man, also known as Harold Hill, “doesn’t
know the territory!” One thing I always tell
the sales representatives is that it is im-
portant for them to know the territory in
order for them to make a sale.
Drive around the area and scout it out.
What is it like? What are the people like?
What do they need? Become familiar with
the territory, so you are better prepared to
sell in it.
Not working the
Some sales representatives end up cutting
the day early; this only wastes your time
and talent in the sales field.
Don’t cut your day short; you could be
making more sales.
You are only cheating yourself when you
go home early.
Talking bad about other companies only
shows a lack of professionalism.
Build up your company instead of break-
ing down other companies.
Talk about why you love your company
so much, that way the customer will hear
only positive things in the sale, which rein-
forces positive feelings.
Some sales representatives forget to have
a smile on their face. If you forget to smile,
the customer will see your lack of enthu-
siasm, which poses the question: why
should they be happy with your product if
you’re not happy?
Let the customer know that you are happy
and excited about your product or service
If you are selling through the phone,
remember that customers can hear your
smile by listening to your voice.
Not being able to
adapt to change
Some sales representatives make the
mistake of thinking that a new city means
a brand new sales approach--which isn’t
Be an effective communicator. Just be-
cause an area is different, doesn’t mean
your approach has to be different. Jump
right into the sales game and change if
Playing dumb when they
indirectly said “no”
You are going to get “no’s.” So when you
sense that they are trying to tell you “no”
by saying that money is tight, etc., know
when to pull the plug and move on.
Don’t waste your time on the “no’s.” If you
can tell that they won’t budge on how
they feel, don’t feel like you need to finish
your approach. Pack up and find someone
who will give you a “yes.”
Not being able
to read people
Having the difficulty of not being able to
read people could cost you sales. Top per-
formers are able to read people and no-
tice language and communication through
tone and body language.
Find a professional who has a better un-
derstanding of tone and body language.
Get tips from them on how to better read
people so you can better tailor your ap-
proach to your customers.
Thinking that you can
make up for lost time
Sometimes sales representatives will go
easy on themselves by taking more time
off than they should.
Top performers always put in extra time.
Put in extra time in your work instead of
taking too much time off.
Some sales representatives will see the
numbers they have, and they’ll settle for a
lower number. But low numbers today will
result in low numbers tomorrow.
Never settle; always aim for bigger num-
bers. Even if your numbers are high, don’t
settle; always aim for something higher.
Not sharing what you’ve
learned with others
Some sales representatives are intimi-
dated by other representatives in their
company, industry, or area. They think that
their tricks of the trade are theirs alone.
Successful people follow other successful
people. Share your success with others
so they can be successful too. What you
learn is valuable to others.
Many people hold on to an escape plan
so when things get difficult, they can
bail. However, having an escape plan is a
crutch that stops people from succeeding.
When people get scared, they find excus-
es not to do something.
Burn your bridge. When you make the de-
cision to go out and sell, make that deci-
sion permanent so there is no backing out.
Not having any other option makes you
more motivated to do well.
Some representatives go through their
entire approach without indicating that
the customer may want to buy. However,
assuming the sale by making small clos-
es along the way makes a customer feel
more inclined to buy.
Make small closes throughout your ap-
proach, and you will have more customers
Some sales representatives are too tim-
id to defend their company, product or
service. They are already defeated when
they hear that their prospects are already
doing business with their competitor. This
defeatist attitude is a mistake.
Fight back. Business has always been
about competition. There has been no
successful representative who hasn’t
fought hard for their company.
Chatting too long after
the sale has been made
Some sales representatives will close a
sale then stay with the customer and chat
for a while.
Doing this is an ineffective use of your
Building a relationship with the customer
is good, but staying to chat after a sale is
wasting your time. After closing the sale,
give a friendly goodbye and be on your
Staying to chat with one customer could
keep you from closing a sale with another
It is within the nature in all of us to be
afraid of approaching people that we are
unfamiliar with, but top performers do it
Take small steps by challenging yourself.
Set the number of how many people you
want to talk to during the day, and then
increase that number daily.
Accepting a concern
as a “no”
Some sales representatives make the
mistake of thinking that the customer is
refusing a product or service when they
are really bringing up a concern.
The best way to know if it is a concern or
a refusal is to ask yourself, “Is this some-
thing that can be resolved?” If it can be
resolved, it’s a concern; If it can’t, it’s a
If a customer sees that you don’t have
everything together, they will not take you
seriously enough to buy from you.
Keep your presentation in a binder with
tabs. Organize your presentation. Have
a callback schedule that you frequently
update. Without organization, success will
never be achieved.
Some sales representatives find it hard to
make eye contact with complete strang-
ers. The problem is that if there is no eye
contact, the customer will feel like the
sales representative is a stranger too.
Without eye contact, the sale is less per-
sonal, and the customer is less likely to
Make eye contact. The interaction does
not have to be intense or intrusive to make
a connection. People are more inclined to
trust you with eye contact.
Not taking care
Without taking care of yourself, you can’t
take care of customers. Without the prop-
er sleep and nutrition, sales are less effec-
tive, and you are a more irritable salesman.
Get sleep and eat right! You can’t take
care of the customer’s needs if you can’t
even take care of your own.
For more tips, tricks, and techniques
from Josh Barnett
Josh Barnett - Accelerate Your Achievement