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“Really? But you seem so nice.”

These were the words of a fellow, Amir, who I was speaking with during a networking event. It was his response when I shared that I am a sales (coaching) author. His response revealed his perception of sales.

This kind of response is not unusual. For many, sales is as a dirty word.

What image do you see when you think of “sales”? If you are like most, you picture a stereotypical used car salesman. Research indicates that most people’s first thought when asked to visualize sales is a stereotypical car salesman and the first descriptive word that comes to mind is pushy.

If you have an unconscious negative perception of sales, it might be getting in the way of your sales success. It’s understandable if you do. Who would want to engage in behaviors or look like the stereotypical used car salesman? Not me. A polyester plaid suit ain’t my thing. And I’m guessing, it isn’t yours either.

You may be thinking, “How do I change my unconscious negative perception of sales?”

Here’s two ways to start changing that image and improving your sales results:

  • Update your definition of sales. Why? Your sales definition informs your sales behaviors.

Selling is about helping others with their buying decisions. It’s not about the traditional twisting of arms to slam dunk a close. It’s not about being pushy.

  • Identify the sales mistakes that are making you act more like the guy in the plaid jacket.

You may be thinking, “I don’t make sales mistakes.” Though that is possible. We have yet to find a professional sales team that doesn’t commit sales mistakes.

Here’s the list of the 10 biggest sales mistakes people make during their sales conversations:

  1. Not being clear who's buying
  2. Forgetting why people buy
  3. Being self-focused
  4. Telling mistruths
  5. Being ill-prepared
  6. Taking too much of the client's time
  7. Sharing what's not relevant
  8. Missing prospects' buying cues
  9. Acting like a traditional salesperson
  10. Treating clients as enemies

Are any of these familiar? If so, you should consider integrating these three ideas into your planning:

  1. Don’t Label Yourself!

Do a self-check to ensure you’re focused on sales improvement rather than judging yourself for your sales mistakes. Stay focused on your incremental improvement. Kicking yourself for committing sales mistakes isn’t productive.

  1. Identify Your Sales Mistakes

Determine which sales mistakes you are committing. Certain symptoms will uncover which of the 10 mistakes you’re making.

For example, if you’re haunted by price objections, it may be an indication that you are committing mistake number 2, forgetting why people buy. Prospects often revert to using price as their buying criteria when you haven’t offered other valuable criteria for them to consider.

  1. Commit to Sales Improvement

Engage in sales coaching on a regular basis. Sales coaching is about learning more quickly from your experience. It will help you determine what’s working and what’s not working. Sales coaching is the key to your sales improvement.

Once you ensure you’re not committing the 10 biggest sales mistakes during your sales conversations, you’ll stop getting in the way of your sales success and start selling more.

This blog post is adapted from Peri Shawn’s book, Sell More with Sales Coaching. To receive two free chapters (the first chapter ends with a tool, the Sales Forensic Audit, to identify which of the sales mistakes you are committing and the second chapter provides you with sales coaching questions, an exercise and action items to help you sell more), go to www.CoachingandSalesInstitute.com

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About Peri Shawn

Peri Shawn, the award-winning author of Sell More with Sales Coaching, transforms the complexity of helping salespeople perform better into the fewest number of action steps to coach them to sell more. Access her free resources at www.CoachingandSalesInstitute.com

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