The great sales mistakes

Those who forget history… Once burned… You get the picture. Here are more ‘what not to do’ moments.
As markets tighten I thought we could reflect on some lessons learnt in the past by highly experienced, successful sales people. The following lessons are from some of the participants of my “Sell like a woman” research project and make for interesting reading in what not to do in sales. Here is the last part of a series on common sales mistakes.



Thinking small


My worst mistake early in sales was to think small about what we can achieve. If I had realised three years ago what sales we could achieve, we would have grown much faster. Realising that we are always barely scratching the surface of what is possible means we stay hungry for achieving the next level of success. [Sharon]



Taking on too much


Getting overtired and taking situations personally. This has been a constant battle to keep ego out of both my successes and failures. [Debbie]


My worst mistakes would be trying to take on too much – this compromises my energy and focus and little mistakes would happen like forgetting an appointment, etc. [Deanne]


Taking on too much work, not being able to say ‘no’, and building a business around me. [Kelly]


Lacking confidence


Over promising in the early days. Not being 100% sure of the product or company service limitations and this affected my credibility. When I was still “bluffing” it while learning the ropes, one of the managers pointed out that I did not seem authentic. I thought I was portraying confidence. I learnt better to be humble and to be open about not knowing certain aspects of what you are selling. [Stephanie]


Not calling high enough. There is always that feeling that at a certain level someone will not want to talk to you. That’s usually incorrect, and always needs to be tested. [Kate]


“Lack of belief – in yourself, the product or company. If you don’t believe, why should your client?” Trudy



Not prospecting


Expecting my network to build without actively networking! Stupid huh! [Melissa]


Thinking our brand and advertising would sell us in and people would call us everyday. I just sat there for the first four months of my sales job wondering what I was supposed to do. No one was calling. It was a rude awaking to being in sales. [Lisa]




Not converting a sale when I had the chance. After a great meeting, there were times when I became slightly complacent and left getting a signed contract until the deadline, rather than following up fairly quickly for a decision. It certainly adds a greater level of stress when it’s all done at the last minute! Now I diarise follow-up immediately. [Kirsten]



Sue Barrett is founder and managing director of BARRETT, a boutique consultancy firm. Sue is an experienced consultant, public speaker, coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating high performing people and teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. Click here to find out more

For more Sell Like a Woman blogs, click here.



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