29.5 Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make (and How to Cure Them) – Part 1

29.5 Biggest Mistakes Salespeople Make (and How to Cure Them) – Part 1

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Not making enough sales? Want to know why? Easy, you’re making mistakes, big mistakes. The problem is that salespeople and entrepreneurs don’t want to know (much less admit) what they are. Here’s the list with a few caveats…

This list will hurt. It is as eye opening as a double espresso in the morning.

This list is long. It will take 4 weeks to complete it. It may take you years to conquer it.

This list is reality. Reality from the only perspective that matters the customer’s.

This list is about sales. Your sales.

This list is about success. Your success.

My challenge to you is that you read this list and only think of yourself. The mistakes of you made this morning are your opportunities for greatness this afternoon if you admit your mistakes. If you have the guts to rate your own reality. Here goes 29.5 BIG mistakes and the success tactics that will turn them into sales.

1. Knowing everything. All salespeople think they know everything. To the prospect (or anyone else) there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Confidence permits a sale to take place, arrogance prevents it. Success tactics: Leave “I am the greatest” at the doorstep. Think “you” not “me.” Look for ways you can help. Listen for problems. Look for and offer solutions. A big part of professional sales is humility. Employ it.


2. Thinking the customer is stupid. Salespeople are the smartest people of the world. They use timeworn sales tactics (which anger and alienate the prospect). They talk down to the customer. Success tactics: Think of your prospect as the smartest person in the world. The only thing he doesn’t know is how your product will help him, or help serve his customer. All you have to do is share the information and a sale is sure to follow.


3. Not making friends first. People would rather buy form someone they know and like. If the prospect doesn’t know you very well, the likelihood of a sale is diminished. Success tactic: Find something to laugh about. Find one link with the prospect. Something you both know about and like.


4. Prejudging the prospect. If you prejudge the prospect by his surroundings or the type of character you think he is you will miss half your sales. If you think “he won’t buy,” or “he doesn’t look like the type,” you’re setting yourself up to fail. Success tactics: The worst judgment you can make is a “pre” judgment. Think “open mind equals open wallet” and you  will lose all prejudgements. Look for individual characteristics. Don’t try to “type” the person. Sell yourself on “he will” not “he won’t.” Set your mind to help everyone.


5. Thinking the customer is broke or doesn’t have enough money. The worst of the prejudgements. Missing opportunities because of judging a book by it’s cover. True story A farmer, dressed in seedy overalls, went to a car dealership to buy a truck. No one would wait on him because the “street smart” car salespeople new it would be a waste of their time. Finally the car salespeople made a rookie go a wait on the farmer. The farmer said, “I want me a new truck.” The salesman asked, “What price range were you looking at?” The farmer reached into the top bib pocket of his overalls, pulled out a stack of $100 dollar bills, and said “I only brought $15,000 with me, but I’ve got plenty more back at the farm.” . Success tactics: List every way people can afford to begin using what you sell. Create and expose needs so high that “money” becomes second to “need” The sale is driven by need not money. Money satisfies need.


6. Thinking your price is too high. If you think the price is too high, the first thing you’ll do is make excuses, or try to sell too hard. Success tactics: Make a list of 25 reasons your price is fair. Sell value. Sell cost to use over long term. Sell service. Sell yourself. Sell help.


That’s a pretty tough list of things and it’s just the first of four lists. That’s right, for the next three weeks you will have a chance to see more (29.5 in all) of why you don’t make the sales you set out to. Save them, and prepare for the toughest self-actualization and self-assessment of your career. Stay tuned.



Want to learn the formula for how sales are really made? A 10.5 step method for landing more sales than you or your company can handle. Just go to www.gitomer.com click Access GitBit register and enter the word FORMULA in the search box.