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15 Habits of Highly Ineffective Sales People

“Completing a sale is hard. Don’t make it more hard by your inabilities.”

Selling Skills

Every selling process requires through planning, adequate preparation and best possible execution. In the journey of sales process, a sales person is a driver and a sales person is the passenger. If the sales person drives towards wrong direction, the passenger (i.e. the sales person himself will go in wrong direction and vice versa). Therefore, to be on right direction while selling, it is essential that each sales person develops razor sharp abilities to succeed and it is also equally essential that each sales person focuses on improving ineffectiveness for better results. In this article we will discuss sales person’s 15 habits, which can badly influence and affect their performance.

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1) Failing to Plan Effectively

Each day in sales person’s life is ‘Business Day’ or ‘Profit Day’. Can any person neglect be earning of profit? Can any business person neglect the incoming business? So, to get business, one must plan and plan thoroughly. Day of salesperson starts not only when entering office, but when a sales person wakes up. Planning requires thinking, time & resource allocation for entire day’s meetings. Which are today’s closing calls, how many fresh call will be made today, how many follow up calls will be made today, time for new initiatives, preparation for meeting, updating CRM etc., So, if a sales person fails to plan, a sales person plans to fail. Instead, highly effective sales people are experts in planning on all above and many other areas of each sales day.

Take Action Now: - List areas of your sales planning.

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2) Poor Time Management

Time is a very limited resource. If a sales person neglects the importance of time, the results are not assured. Our day has various levels of energy circles. One must plan time and task according to the level of one’s energy circle and importance of task. Planning is most crucial in a sales person’s life. So a sales person must plan for day, when his/her energy level is at peak. For example, in the morning, we are normally more energetic & fresh. This is best time for sales planning, even if you are at home. Secondly, allocate appropriate time for each piece of your sales to-do list. Do non- important activity when you feel low in energy, because non-important activity is just to be done methodically, with / without high energy levels.

Take Action Now: - List routine tasks of your typical sales day and allocate time to each task as per importance and energy levels.

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3) Sticking to a Predefined Sales Script

A sales presentation is most important part for getting the deal closed. Generally, every company gives training on how to make presentation to client with pre defined points to cover in presentation. It is not possible that all clients are equal. Hence, as per the circumstances and client need, the sales presentation needs to be adjusted and also the sales presentation speech. But, if a sales person tries to use the fixed sales speech for each client, then the sales presentation may not be effective. Many sales person use this approach, and they don’t get desired result.

Take Action Now :- Think broadly about how many types of customers you are meeting and what change is required in your sales presentation for each client type.

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4) Prospecting Too Early in the Day

There is no doubt that sales profession requires a lot of passion, an inbuilt passion. But sometimes due to ‘over passion’, many sales people take wrong steps. We talk here about prospecting. Prospecting is highly important, because it helps to build your sales funnel. Without prospecting, sales would be zero. But, there should be a pre-defined time for this activity, mainly considering the comfort of probable prospects. One should avoid prospecting early morning or very late evening. This habit annoys prospects as it is outside of normal working hours.

Take Action Now :- Based on your experience what is the best time of prospecting. i.e. During which time of the day, clients generally responds well. Think about it and change your strategy accordingly.

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5) Acting Like a Know-it-All

Knowledge today has become vital and people with expertise are welcomed every where. When a sales person is giving a sales presentation, or interacting with client for whatever reason, a sales person should avoid to make that meeting ‘I know-it-all’ meeting. Meaning, the meeting should not be a knowledge dumping meeting on client and moreover the client should not feel ‘pressed’ during that meeting. Every client is smart, but he avoids speaking too much and rather prefers to observe sales person and tries to grab maximum possible information from sales people. The ‘Know-it-all’ attitude sometimes creates discomfort for clients and they slowly tries to avoid sales person in future interactions.

Take Action Now :- Think about your last 10 sales presentations and how you have shared your knowledge vis-à-vis how clients reacted to your knowledge sharing.

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6) Working Only For Money

It is needless to say that sales profession offers opportunity to earn very high income and very fast career growth. Many sales people comes to sales profession to only ‘Earn Money’. If this is the only objective, it may work against you. Sales is a process to solve client’s problems and achieve company’s mission. By being there, all round of growth of sales person is definite. To be really successful sales person, one must keep holistic view and always safeguard company’s interest first. This is also a kind of loyalty. By, demeaning company’s interest and not focusing of client’s problems, a sales person can not grow at the same time keep ‘I care only about money’ attitude in sales will gradually limit your growth.

Take Action Now :- Think, whether you have this kind of attitude?

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7) Treating All Prospects The Same

In a journey of sales, one will have various types of prospects. There are three very famous classifications of prospects; Hot, Warm and Cold. The point here is, a sales person should not utilize same strategy to follow and approach all three categories of prospects. If you treat all prospect equally, when they are at different stage of sales life cycle, they might not feel ‘influenced’. It’s like treating all patients with one single medicine. It can be nightmare for patients and doctors too.

Take Action Now: - Classify your all prospects in three categories; Hot, Warm and Cold and work out customized strategy to follow each prospect in each category.

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8) Sending Only SMS, WhatsApp or Email for Follow Up

Follow up process in sales is most important 2nd step after sales presentation. Till inquiry generation to sales presentation, all hard work is done by marketing department and sales team, now it’s time for follow up. No matter, how good your sales presentation was, and how warm the response of prospect during the sales presentation, you must have a scientific strategy to follow up each client. With each client you must have had unique interaction, hence, follow up must also be unique for all. Secondly, it requires human touch in follow up. Only mechanical activity will help less. If a sales person thinks that he will just send bulk SMS or WhatsApp or Email to all clients, and the follow up is done, then, probably a sales person is damaging the opportunity of converting a prospects, because, your competitor might better follow up and grab your client before you do.

Take Action Now:- Make a list of ‘types of follow up’ activities can be done and when you will use a particular follow up strategy?

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9) Talking Too Often Than Listen

A sales process is an interaction for exploring client’s deepest problems and offering qualified and best solution to solve these problems. Out of total time spent in sales presentation, if out of enthusiasm, sales person keeps on talking too much without even properly understanding client’s needs, problems and challenges, the sales call will go in vague. A successful sales person must first carefully listen each client. Give enough time to client to speak and share their problems, having understood which, you now have time to pitch your product / service strategically, showing benefits to clients and how it can solve client’s ‘expressed’ problems. If you avoid this and keeps on talking, chances are more, you will not be able connect properly with client but competitor will :-)

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10) Not Having Any Ideas or Information to Share with Prospects

This is simply poor execution of our sales processes. Very often we think that the product or service we have should sell itself and we simply pitch it to this product in the same way we have to everyone else. Prospects are looking for new ideas, new perspectives and new concepts that will take their business further than it is now. If you don’t get into the habit of developing new ideas, you run the risk of becoming stale and being like everyone else.

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11) Blaming Things Out of Your Control for Your Performance

This is a very easy habit to fall into. People are naturally defensive when it comes to analyzing why things occur the way they do. If you don’t get the results you want, our default position is that something other than us must be responsible. We tend to want to justify and defend ourselves by passing the blame from ourselves to something else, so our egos and self-esteem are kept intact. Professional salespeople understand that we have to control the controllable and leave the uncontrollable to get on with what it needs to do. Make sure you don’t fall into the habit of passing responsibility for your performance to things that are not under your control.

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12) Accepting Average Performance as The Norm

This is also a bad habit to fall into, as it can lull you into a false sense of being better than you really are. What this involves is seeing yourself performing at a level you think is the best you can achieve. The truth is that most salespeople never hit their true potential. They accept the performance level they have achieved and think it’s the best they can do, with justifiable back-up excuses that seem right to them. Instead, think of yourself on a never-ending journey towards excellence, knowing there is always going to be a higher, better, more successful step that you can take. If you have that mind-set, you will never settle for average performance.

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13) Knowing a Little About Your Competitor's Offerings

There can’t be many things more demoralizing than presenting your product and the prospect bringing up details of your competitors’ solutions that are actually better than yours, and you didn’t know about it. Knowledge of the market is imperative if you are to keep ahead of what is being offered out there, and it is an easy habit to fall into when you don’t keep up-to-date with what is happening.

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14) Giving Up on a Deal Too Soon

Many times sales process takes a long time to complete and this is the ‘Test Period’ for a sales person’s patience. Every client needs sufficient time to close the deal. Every client is like a small plant, you plant it and see it grow slowly w.r.t. your approach. This process required high level of patience and deliberation. Don’t assume that with your ‘short term sales closing offers’, your prospects should buy from you. They might have some other priority and need time to evaluate and reevaluate their need and decision. You have to be with ‘them’ during this speculation period. Be there, don’t loose hope, as you need sales each month and not only this month. So some clients will close this month and many will get closed in upcoming months.

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15) Lacking of Sufficient Product Knowledge

Product knowledge of each sales person must be strong. Fast learning habit is good but at the same time learning must be detail oriented. Many sales person fall in the trap of gaining only ‘superficial’ product knowledge. They think, they can share few details with client and that’s it. That’s where they fail. Each product / service offers unique Features, Benefits and Advantages. In the absence of ‘100% product knowledge’, the sales person is not able to address ‘appropriately’ each problem of client and there the disconnect takes place during sales presentation and deal goes ‘Away’. To become a super successful sales person, one must have 100% product knowledge and one must also have skills to present each benefit of product smartly as a solution to the ‘expressed’ problem of client.

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About the Author :- Pankaj M Dudhaiya.

Pankaj (MBA, Founder & CEO, 51K Growth Hub) is senior industry expert with 27+ years of Industry Experience. He is a Well Known Sales Trainer, Leadership Trainer, Sales Consultant, Business Consultant, International Speaker and Volunteer in Global Socio-Spiritual Organization, The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

He is adept at delivering result oriented training and consulting programs which dramatically scales up participant morale and helps speed up exponential organizational growth.

I would love to hear your comments about this article in the comment box below.

Happy Selling!

Pankaj Dudhaiya

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