What NOT to Do In Sales: Two Terrible Examples

What Not To Do In SalesWhat NOT to do in sales is just as valuable to know as what TO do. Yet sales leaders are not always in agreement about the best way to move ahead. Recently I found two articles that share, in my opinion, terrible advice. And I want you to be on the watch for misinformation like this.

Titles That Don't Deliver Show You What Not To Do In Sales

First, we have a piece entitled "Top Sales Techniques to Revolutionize Your Business". Sounds good, right? But the first thing the writer does is start talking about "the" sales process--as if there was only one!--and how well-known it is.

Believing there is only one sales process is a huge example of what not to do in sales.

We could swiftly begin by separating sales processes into the traditional features-and-benefits style and the consultative approach. Two right there. The fact is, though, that each company has its very own sales process. Many of them don't even have their process written down. They don't understand it. Their process is sloppy and undocumented, but by golly that baby is their baby...and even if they don't consciously know it, they're following its every wild twist and turn.

In short, there are millions of sales processes.

So don't tell me only one exists, and it's "well understood".

The initial of four "techniques" merely shows the author's lack of having worked with a true sales coach. "Get off my back and leave me alone!" is the cry of the front line salesperson, not a sales leader. And it demonstrates that in the author's experience, close supervision of performance according to quotas rather than behaviors has been the norm.

The only thing this writer does get right is the fact that sales training is an ongoing process. You won't get much from a one-time shot in the arm. Which leads us to our next bad sales article.

What Not To Do In Sales Training

"Train Your Sales Team This Afternoon" this author exclaims. Wow. And this is from a sales training outfit.

Expecting a magic return from a single short investment in training is another big example of what not to do in sales.

Was this article promoted by a slowdown in business? They of all people ought to know better. You cannot get very far at all in one sales training session. If you've been following my commentary, you know that ongoing reinforcement is an absolute requirement for sales success. Otherwise, the salesperson falls back into their old comfort zone and results.

The only possible plus I could take from this article is that it may get a company doing something about sales training...and something is slightly better than nothing.

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How to See Bigger Opportunities In Business

How To See Bigger Opportunities In BusinessI'm ill, but it was worth it. I learned how to see bigger opportunities in business.

This past weekend I went to a networking event. It was for a group of about 300, but there were only 7 or 8 people I really wanted to see. Essentially I wanted to meet up with the other brick-and-mortar sales pros of the group. Most of them I hadn't met in person before. We had a lot of fun.

Now I don't know if it was the oysters I had Saturday night or germs passed along by another guest, but I've been out of it since about 8:30 yesterday morning. The blog post was completed and then all hell broke loose. The worst part is the foggy-headedness--after about 10 minutes, I stop focusing. But I can't stop thinking about a huge takeaway from the event that makes this temporary discomfort acceptable in trade.

We hear things in business like:

If you keep doing the same things, you'll keep getting the same results.

You have to transform what you're doing to make more money.

When you've plateaued out, you've got blinders on: you literally cannot see bigger opportunities.

(you got to skip the 15-minute haze I just went through to find that last point, which is the key to this write-up; lucky you!)

The problem is, when you've got those blinders on, it truly is difficult to see larger opportunities. It's easy to get frustrated in this situation. So how do you find out?

What Made Me Notice How To See Bigger Opportunities In Business

I was listening to a startup expert at our small group's breakfast table. He's reviewed hundreds of business plans for a Tampa-based investment group over the past several years. The realization I had while listening was:

Here is an opportunity for me to use my skills in a completely new-to-me area...where they're badly needed...and where the payoff is greater than the work I typically do! This was one of those opportunities! The blinders had slipped for a moment.

You see, it could be about doing more of the same thing you already do, for more of the same kind of people. That's called "scale".

But maybe you don't want scale. For me, scale doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd have to hire a bunch of other trainers, and I'd always be concerned they wouldn't be doing things "my way"...which is why my clients hire me. So I would have to manage them and that is not what I want to spend my time doing.

The Secret of How To See Bigger Opportunities In Business

So ask yourself:

Who can I solve problems for using my skills that I haven't considered as potential clients before?

What problems do people I haven't met yet have that are bigger than what I normally solve, but can be solved by my skillset?

See where this takes you. This is how you take the blinders off. This is how to see bigger opportunities in business.

What I have done until now is find or attract business owners and sales executives who want to learn how to sell, and train them on my approach to selling. I have been able to work with better-capitalized and more committed people as time has gone on. But is this the activity that would make me the most revenue?

What opportunities have you been screening out because they haven't fit the pattern of problems and people you've solved them for as you plateaued?

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Successful Women In Sales: Characteristics

Successful Women in SalesSuccessful women in sales usually have to fight to get there. I remember the first high-performing saleswoman I met. It was just heading into the later 1990s at the start of my career. She was a rep for a generator manufacturer. We're talking about the part of a power plant that takes mechanical energy and turns it into electricity. Like many other industries the powergen field is dominated by males. Sylvie was nice, but as a consequence of having to prove herself, she was also tough.

And that's something you'll frequently hear about successful women in selling: "She's tough, but..."

Get used to it. They have to be tough.

Six Pitfalls Successful Women In Sales Avoid

Janet Spirer, who works with a trainer--Richard Ruff--we've looked at some ideas from previously, has listed six common pitfalls successful women in sales avoid falling into when selling B2B (2018 note: the 2014 article is no longer available). Note that the list that follows is summarized from the article for discussion, and not necessarily my point of view.

The first issue for saleswomen to avoid, according to Spirer, is copying successful salesmen they see. What makes women successful in selling are not the same things as what work for men.

Second, questioning whether or not they belong. The more a woman in sales feels the need to "prove" herself, the more she's feeding insecurities.

Third, waiting or looking for praise from other people is dangerous. Tying your sense of validation to others, rather than promoting your own successes, is asking for trouble.

Fourth, waiting for the perfect situation or knowing everything about a prospect before acting. Successful women in sales research all they can, know they will always have incomplete information no matter how long they wait--and then take action.

Fifth, not speaking up confidently. When a competent woman in sales knows she has something to contribute, she does so in a firm manner. If what should be a statement comes out like a question, it may be trampled.

Sixth, taking results personally. Saleswomen who view resistance from prospects or failing to get an order personally are going to beat themselves up--and for a bad reason.

The Key for Successful Women In Sales

These were Spirer's recommendations. Now I'll comment. I believe all of these items besides the first are applicable to men as well as women in selling. Beliefs, attitudes and behaviors make up the results a salesperson gets. Anyone, female or male, wondering whether they're good enough, or needing approval from others too frequently, or without the ability to depersonalize issues is going to have a rough time in sales.

Observe your beliefs and attitudes. They will predict your behaviors. They are severely limiting factors in most individuals. If your attitudes and beliefs are not in line with how you sell, you are going to have difficulty doing the behaviors necessary to be successful in selling--whether you're a woman or a man.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. Was this info helpful to you? Please Like, Share or Comment to help someone you know in sales! <<