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The 7 Deadly Sins of Selling

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In sales, it can often feel like the only thing that’s truly unacceptable is failed quotas. After all, doesn’t the end always justify the means – Exitus acta probat and all that? It’s no secret; salespeople have done some pretty outrageous things to close a deal.

But as important as hitting quotas and being salesman or saleswoman of the year may be, there’s a right way and wrong way to do it. For example, it’s very easy for sales reps to meet their quotas by promising things they know are impossible to deliver.

However, it’s extremely unethical and damaging to your company’s reputation.

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory addressed the masses and described the seven deadly sins in ascending order. Fast forward to the 20th century and humanity’s committed all those sins and managed to break every commandment in the bible tenfold.

Unfortunately, the business world isn’t as forgiving. Veloxy shares the seven deadly sins of selling and how they impact your prospect’s willingness to commit.

Seven Sins of Selling

1: Insincerity

Quick question: Do you enjoy getting spammed or scammed?

We’re glad to hear that resounding, “No!”. So if you don’t enjoy it, why would you be insincere with your prospects? Just like hounds can smell fear, people can also detect a hint of BS from a mile away.

Whether it’s via email, call, or face to face, lying to your customers is so unethical it’s one of the cardinal sins of selling. Not only does it discredit your current sale, it also makes your prospects that much more likely to avoid your company in future. Or worse, they tell everyone about your lying ways and you lose even more business.

2: Not listening

Even with a total honesty and transparency policy, you could still be committing one of the most common mistakes in the sales game.

Making a sale is not about telling your customers what you can do for them; it’s about solving their problems and creating a need for your product or service.

That said, we don’t mean create the problem yourself (i.e. break a prospect’s window and then offer to fix it). What we mean is do some thorough research and gather as much information as you can on your potential customers.

Take as much time to listen to your prospect and absorb crucial information on their pain points. Otherwise, how are you going to gain perspective and suggest a viable solution if you’re all mouth and no ears?

3: Not following up

Failing to follow up on a lead is like leaving money on the table.

Research shows that over 80% of all sales are made after six or more contacts or interactions. As a sales person, you ought to know this by now. The most bizarre thing here is that it’s actually the sinners who don’t follow up that complain the loudest about lost leads.

Look, your prospect literally just met you. So how on earth do you expect them to give you money just like that? Are you a bum off the street?

That’s not how the sales game works. You have to follow up and keep adding value to show your prospects you care. People only buy from people they know or trust, so let all your leads get to know you. Become that person or you’ll forever starve; plagued by empty accounts and miserable sales.

4: Shallowness

You’d be surprised by just how many salespeople don’t really know their product inside out.

The number is disturbingly overwhelming. How on earth are you going to effectively sell something if you don’t know every single detail, use and feature in there? It’s this lackadaisical attitude that leads to lost leads and poor customer credibility.

It’s only by having a deeper understanding of the product will you be able to comprehend and even anticipate your prospects technical objections. This way, you can emphasize on the product’s strength without having to be at the mercy of the departmental geeks who know the specs by heart.

5: Eating excessive company resources

Diamond Jim Brady was a flashy man who made millions selling railroad supplies. However, he was more infamous for his culinary antics. Jim was known for eating enormous amounts of food; he was a serial multi-course gorger whose excesses were quite endearingly vulgar. His hefty breakfast consisted of bread, eggs, muffins, steaks, chops, grits, and several pitchers of juice.

He’d then stave off his mid-morning hunger with three dozen oysters and start off lunch with some crabs, lobsters, beef, pie, and more pitchers of juice. Dinner would follow suit with more oysters, lobsters, pounds of bonbons and a tray of pastries.

So, what does this have to do with sales? If your business has a sales employee who devours company resources to the point of gluttony, that’s both a sin and a waste that shouldn’t be tolerated.

6: Being too pushy

One of the most rampant complaints customers have with salespeople is their pushy, never say never attitude. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little determination. However, the hard sell is no longer an effective strategy in this century.

The truth is that customers want a product that sells itself. They’re going to decide whether they’ll buy or not and only want you to be available when they need you. So, does that mean you shouldn’t be aggressive in your sales pitch? Let’s just say that if your product already sells itself, don’t be a negative deciding factor that drives customers away by overselling.

7: Working hard versus smart

This might be one of the most abused clichés in business, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Check this scenario out; on one hand, you’ve got a sales rep that spends hours grinding and researching the hell out of their prospects. On the other, you’ve got a rep with a spy in the same account who’s getting information as it unfolds and disseminating propaganda on your behalf.

Who do you think will land the prospect with the least effort?

That’s right, the guy who spent less time researching and more time solving real problems with help from the inside. And that’s just one example.

Research shows that high-performing sales reps make use of intelligence, data, and productivity tools 30% more often than average performers. This includes using CRMs like Salesforce along with essential add-ons like Veloxy to help transform leads into real prospects.

Conclusion on the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling

Now that you’re all caught up with the seven deadly sins of selling, it’s up to you to repent and avoid sinning at all costs. Any sin against sales will lead to losing more than just money; it might cost you future sales and accounts as well.

It doesn’t even take a lot to be the ultimate salesman. Just know your stuff, be honest, listen to your customers, follow up on leads, don’t waste resources, and dial down the desperation. And for Pete’s sake, it’s the 21st century – get yourself some intelligent tools like Veloxy Mobile and Veloxy Engage to help track all your interactions with prospects from the get go. It’ll make converting leads into sales that much easier.

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Peter Daniels

Peter Daniels

Peter Daniels has written 100+ blog posts on sales. From Salesforce adoption to email marketing, and fields sales strategies to cold calling tips—Peter's is committed to helping sales professionals all across the world.

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