As a small business owner, you need to conduct outreach and sell. I get it. All reasonable people get it. If you don’t sell, how will anyone know what you have to offer? Performing sales activity is inevitable, and so is making sales mistakes. But avoid them when possible so you don’t annoy your prospects.

As a person whose job includes selling, I believe that persistence pays off. I also admit that I have made sales mistakes and been annoying more than once.

I have been able to get in front of customers who said that the only reason they’ve answered me is that they’ve “received all my messages” – which has been a polite way of saying that they could no longer resist any more phone calls from me. They agreed to meet with me as if throwing their hands up in the air, saying, ‘OK, I’ll listen.’

Whether I closed deals with them is another story, but as for me, there was no love lost because it was due to circumstances outside of my control, and not because I didn’t try.

We All Make Sales Mistakes

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The bottom line is, I won’t even get a “no” if I don’t try. No answer is a total loss. But rejection still has the potential to become a victory.

Anyhow, we’re not here to talk about my sales philosophy. The point of sharing my experience as a seller is to say this: I do not hate salespeople. I am one, and therefore, I can’t.

I’m merely writing from the consumer’s perspective to say what sales mistakes not to make to increase your chances of winning.

This list includes a few things I’ve done myself. I’ve seen the error of my ways, especially seeing how it feels when I’m approached by other salespeople.

On that note, one of the worse places to make these sales mistakes is on social media. There, it’s so easy to tell who’s trying to build real relationships vs. those who just see all of their contacts as leads.

In a way, I guess I should be flattered. It’s great that they get the impression of having money to spend. Plus, they give me lots of free schooling on the sales mistakes I need to avoid.

9 Sales Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

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I put together this little list of gripes for food for thought and a few laughs. Together, we as sellers can look at ways to change our approach and build relationships that will not only pay off now but also in the long-run.

  1. Request a meeting before a proper introduction.

It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of you, and you want to have a meeting?

We should at least have a proper introduction. To clarify what counts a proper introduction, I believe that at minimum, we should have a two-way interaction of some sort.

Now, I’m not going to swear that I’ll say no every time, but it will be a no at least nine times out of ten.

2. Refuse to provide info in writing. 

Let me see if I’m even interested in what you have to offer, first. Isn’t it fair for me to know what I’d be getting into if I agree to a meeting?

3. Threaten me with FOMO

Nothing else will make me resistant to your pitch faster. But let’s say you’ve done a good job at making me feel the fear of missing out, and we end up having a meeting.

If you don’t prove that I’ll lose out by not buying your product or service, it will be in forever ingrained in your memory of sales mistakes. You’ll lose me once I likely won’t agree to a another meeting.

4. Threaten never to contact me again if I don’t answer.

Why do some sales people think this will get a response?

“Hi, Bob. I’ve called a number of times but it seems you’re not interested. This is the last time you’ll get to take advantage of my offer.”

Aggressive follow-up messages are just plain annoying. If I didn’t ask you to contact me in the first place, I welcome your farewell. Following through with your threat would lessen my inbox and voicemail box load, and you’d only be doing me a favor.

5. Lack of transparency.

Like in any relationship, if you try to hide things from me, it’s over.

6. SPAM-selling

I know you need to reach as many people as possible quickly, but if you send me a message that’s completely irrelevant to me I’ll take it as SPAM.

7. Won’t take no for an answer

If I buy something under pressure, I’m going to seriously consider returning or canceling it before the cancellation window expires. Unless I really, really, love it.

8. Fake excitement

Please calm down; your exuberance is scaring me. We can have a normal conversation to determine if I’m a potential customer for you. No BS needed, you officially have my permission to turn down the fakeness.

9. Ask me a bunch of questions about me that are not relevant to your service, or flattery under the guise of building rapport. I will question your motives if you don’t tell me the truth up front about why you’ve called.

As a consumer, what sales mistakes have made you not buy?

And on a good note, what kinds of salespeople have made a positive difference in your life?

Tell us what you think, and how you believe that selling could be a lot less annoying and a lot more fun.

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