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9 Ways to Turn Off Your Prospect

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The sales profession is not always perceived in a positive light, and given the behavior of some of the salespeople I have encountered, it’s no wonder. Here are nine things you can do to destroy your credibility and alienate your prospects:

1. Arrive late for calls and appointments. Prospects need to be more accommodating and accepting of the fact that you can’t always show up at their office exactly on time. You do your best, but traffic jams, construction and customers who fail to show up on time or who talk too much can affect your carefully planned schedule.

2. Don’t learn anything about your prospect’s business or company. Even though a 15-minute web search of your prospect would give you insight, you know that most people love talking about their company, their problems and their businesses. So, why would you waste time researching a company beforehand? It is much more effective to get them to tell you everything you need to know when you show up for your meeting.

3. Spend most of your sales call talking. Telling is selling, right? If you’re not talking about your product, service or solution, how can you possibly make a sale? Sure, it’s important to ask your prospect a couple of questions, but the goal of your meeting is to tell them as much as you can about your company, the awards you have won and the clients on your roster because this will demonstrate why they should do business with you.

4. Interrupt your customers and prospects. Let’s face it: Some people take forever to come to the point. Besides, you’re not there to listen. You need to present your offering so you can make a sale. Aggressive is better than passive and a salesperson who is assertive in making his point closes more deals.

5. Tell people everything about your product, service or solution. Information is power so if you don’t discuss every feature, every bell, every whistle, how can they possibly make a buying decision? The more information you give people, the more they will see how your offer or solution is better than a competitor’s and the more likely they will be to make a positive buying decision.

6. Don’t follow through. These days, everyone is busy, so if you forget to send someone information right away, they will forgive you. Besides, when you’re dealing with dozens of sales leads you can’t be expected to follow up with everyone. If people want your product or service they should contact you.

7. Pitch your offering before determining if a need exists. If you pitch to enough people you will eventually get a deal. After all, selling is a numbers game. Besides, most people don’t really know what they need, so pitching your solution may open up an opportunity to capture a sale.

8. Don’t update your product knowledge. We all know that products change faster each year. In fact, some products are almost obsolete by the time they hit the market. Prospects and customers know this, so they don’t expect you to keep up with everything.

9. Bypass the gatekeeper in any way possible. Everyone in business knows that you need to be manipulative and sneaky if you want to talk to business executives, so getting past the gatekeeper is a game, a challenge—one that requires ingenuity, cleverness and a certain amount of slyness. The main goal is to connect with your prospect or decision-maker by any means necessary.

You can probably add your own “don’t” to this list; there are myriad ways to blow a sales call. But if you can remember to avoid these nine, you’ll greatly increase your chances of landing a sale.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at


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