Recently, a member of one of my LinkedIn groups asked the rest of us what prevents success for sales professionals. We have many sales professionals in the SE Business Forum as well as many business owners that are responsible for growing their businesses. Having said that, Here are the top that prevent sales professionals from achieving their goals:
1. Blaming anyone or anything other than themselves when a sale is lost or performance is lacking. There is only one thing in this world I can control – my attitude and actions. So, when I lose a sale or have a lull in performance, I choose to look at what I could have done differently and how I can improve in that area in the future – without punishing myself. There are times when forces beyond my control cause problems, though that is the exception and not the norm. When that occurs, I’m responsible to figure out a way to work around the challenge or recognize that I’m in a no-win situation and make a change.
2. Failing to continue to learn and grow. There are too many people in sales that fail to recognize the need to learn and grow. It’s so important to continue learning how to be a better sales professional. I’ve been in sales for twenty years and have done very well, yet I continue to invest time and money in becoming a better sales professional.
3. Failing to prospect. Few people, myself included, enjoy prospecting. However, this is the life blood of a sales persons career. I’m self employed, yet I hold myself accountable to productivity standards for prospecting. It’s too easy to find something else to do when I need to be prospecting.
4. Failing to identify and focus on the critical success factors for their job. It’s so important to focus on finding prospects, qualifying early and moving deals with a reasonable chance of closure through the sales process.
5. Failing to ask the right questions. The primary asset a sales person has is their time. Pursuing prospects that won’t close wastes the most important asset. For each opportunity, we should know the strength of pain and need from the prospect and how well our solution meets that need. We need to know how motivated they are to make this pain need go away and whether they have the money and authority to move forward. Knowing this information allows us to make an informed decision regarding how much time and effort to invest.