The 7 Habits Of Highly Ineffective Salespeople

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Caution yellow tape lineOur brains are wonderful things, in that it always tries to find the best for us.

We can justify every and any action we take simply by identifying some kind of gain for us or achievement we attain.

When we are happy to carry out some tasks without even thinking about it, we call that a ‘habit’, i.e. something we do without having to think about it.

As salespeople, we tend to slip into habits by default, some good and some not so good.

Very few of us would deliberately sabotage our success by habitually doing things that would damage our chances of success.

But there are things we do that drive us toward failure without even realising it. Some of these you can teach on Sales Training Courses and others you can’t!

Here are just seven bad habits that could well influence and affect our success for the worse:

1. Not Having Any New Ideas Or Perspectives To Share With Prospects

This is simply poor execution of our sales processes.

Very often we think that the product or service we have should sell itself and we simply pitch it to this product in the same way we have to everyone else.

Prospects are looking for new ideas, new perspectives and new concepts that will take their business further than it is now.

If you don’t get into the habit of developing new ideas, you run the risk of becoming stale and being like everyone else.

2. Thinking The Product Is More Important Than The Solution

Many prospects know about your product before you step foot in their building, so resist the temptation to revert back to the 1980’s pre-internet age and assume the prospect knows nothing about you.

Instead, form the habit of thinking about solutions for the prospect that will drive their decision-making forward.

Just verbalising the details or components of your products or services runs the risk of losing momentum and causing the prospect to do all the hard work of applying what you say to their situation

3. Failing To Plan Effectively

I was talking recently to a salesperson who had been in sales since he left school in 1976, and he shared with me his exasperation of seeing many people ‘wing’ their presentations with poor or no proper preparation.

Even though he has been in sales for nearly 40 years, this salesman said he strived to learn as much about his prospect’s business as he could before he approached them.

He said this is one habit that has kept him in good stead at all times.

It’s one of those habits you should not neglect as it just causes so many challenges

4. Knowing Little About Your Competitors’ Offerings

There can’t be many things more demoralising than presenting your product and the prospect bringing up details of your competitors’ solutions that are actually better than yours, and you didn’t know about it.

Knowledge of the market is imperative if you are to keep ahead of what is being offered out there, and it is an easy habit to fall into when you don’t keep up-to-date with what is happening.

5. Not Listening To The Real Needs Of The Prospect Nor Identifying How Your Solution Can Benefit Them And Their Business

Most humans only listen at the ‘surface’ level, and it’s a bad habit to fall into, because most of what you need to know occurs at the ‘deep’ level.

Premature evaluation of situations can bring many problems, so resist the temptation to jump to conclusions without finding out more information.

6. Blaming Things Out Of Your Control For Your Performance

This is a very easy habit to fall into.

People are naturally defensive when it comes to analysing why things occur the way they do.

If you don’t get the results you want, our default position is that something other than us must be responsible.

We tend to want to justify and defend ourselves by passing the blame from ourselves to something else, so our egos and self-esteem are kept intact.

Professional salespeople understand that we have to control the controllables and leave the uncontrollable to get on with what it needs to do.

Make sure you don’t fall into the habit of passing responsibility for your performance to things that are not under your control.

7. Accepting Average Performance As The Norm

This is also a bad habit to fall into, as it can lull you into a false sense of being better than you really are.

What this involves is seeing yourself performing at a level you think is the best you can achieve.

The truth is that most salespeople never hit their true potential.

They accept the performance level they have achieved and think it’s the best they can do, with justifiable back-up excuses that seem right to them.

Instead, think of yourself on a never-ending journey towards excellence, knowing there is always going to be a higher, better, more successful step that you can take.

If you have that mind-set, you will never settle for average performance, the sort of “that’ll do” rhetoric that doesn’t allow for the improvements you know in your heart is achievable.

These seven bad habits should wake us up and make us more determined than ever to professionally drive ourselves forward to achieve more than we have ever done before.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 20 April, 2018

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