Four Common Rookie Sales Mistakes

Michele Warg
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Selling is an art, and even seasoned sales professionals occasionally make mistakes that cost them a sale. If you are new to the sales profession, it is easy to become discouraged when faced with multiple rejections due to common errors. Here is a list of four common rookie sales mistakes to avoid, so you can get started in a successful sales career.

Being Unprepared

Being unprepared is at the top of the list of common rookie sales mistakes. Never go into a sales presentation unprepared. First, be knowledgeable about your product and the potential buyer. Knowledge on both planes gives you the information you need to share exactly how your product benefits the specific buyer. If you need to look up information to answer a question, the customer is likely to lose interest. Second, always be prepared for the unexpected. Have backup presentations ready in case technology fails. Be prepared to sell from a different angle if the customer's needs are different than what you expected.

Confusing Selling With Entertaining

Although there is no harm in being friendly and likable, common rookie sales mistakes include forgetting that a sales presentation is a professional meeting. Your job is to inform your client about your product and convince him that the product would benefit him. That is selling. Making the client laugh, sharing stories and forming connections may help in some cases, but those activities should always take second place to informing the client, answering product questions and sharing useful information. Avoid sales mistakes by remembering that you are first and foremost a sales professional, and you should treat your client as a business associate, not a friend.

Succumbing to Negativity

Negativity takes many forms and has no place in sales meetings. Rookie sales mistakes that involve negativity include holding onto negativity from rejections, placing the blame for errors on others and badmouthing competitors. Multiple rejections are not fun, but letting bitter notes seep into future presentations is not going to sell many products. Keep your presentations positive and upbeat, and focus on the future. When problems arise, take full responsibility. You are the representative of your company. Show clients that you are willing and able to work with them to resolve problems, and you earn their respect. Even if you think the competitor's product is worthless, focus instead on the benefits of your product. Negative words form strong impressions. You want your clients to remember how useful your product is, not anything about the competition.

Delaying Closing the Deal

Another item on the list of common rookie sales mistakes is procrastinating when making the actual sale. After you have shared your product's benefits and answered the client's questions, move right along to a request for a purchase. Wait quietly while the prospective buyer makes a decision. When you get a yes, make sure you complete all required paperwork properly. If you have to follow up because of your mistakes, the customer may change his mind and decide not to buy.

Avoid sales mistakes by being prepared, staying professional, avoiding negativity and properly closing the deal. Steering clear of common rookie sales mistakes will help jump-start your sales career. No one is perfect, but a little preparation and the right attitude will help you succeed in the sales field.

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