On my blog, I addressed the importance of spelling and pronouncing a prospect’s name correctly, and a reader commented, “If someone is already irking me, mispronouncing my name really adds to the effect.” It got me thinking about habits salespeople do that irk decision-makers. Here are five that immediately spring to mind.

1. Salespeople who can’t articulate their value proposition. Too few salespeople can adequately and clearly state the value that their products or service offers. Forget what your marketing department tells you to say. Instead, speak in terms that matter to your prospect and help them see — within 15-30 seconds — how your product, service or solution benefits them.

2. Sales people who call to “touch base” or “check in.” Decision-makers are far too busy to talk to people who don’t have a genuine or valuable offer to consider. You need to ensure you are providing some type of value in every interaction you have with a prospect or existing customer.

3. Salespeople who go overtime. Most decision-makers spend the bulk of their day in meetings and have little tolerance for sales calls that go into overtime. Respect your prospect’s time and strive to finish every meeting early or ahead of schedule.

4. Salespeople who misrepresent themselves to executive assistants in order to get connected with the decision-maker. It boggles my mind that people actually believe this strategy helps them close a deal. A better approach is to befriend the executive assistant and enlist his or her help.

5. Salespeople who ask basic questions that could be answered by a subordinate or a quick browse through the prospect’s website. I made this mistake years ago with the president of a mid-size business. Instead of asking high-value, strategic questions, I focused on details that could have been answered by a regional manager — which, not surprisingly, is where I ended up getting shunted to.

Are you irking decision-makers by doing any of these habits? Look next week for five more.

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Kelley Robertson speaks at conferences, sales meetings and association events. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca. For information on his programs, contact Robertson at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com.