Your Single Biggest Mistake As a Sales Person

Biggest sales mistake
Looking to increase sales? Don’t make this sales mistake!

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Sir Isaac Newton said it best: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Funny how people will look at the laws of physics and never even wonder if perhaps the same laws might apply to them on a mental level. However, this one most certainly does. The Psychology term is “Reverse Psychology”.

Why reverse psychology? Why “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?

Well, look at it this way; Being approached extremely enthusiastically by a sales agent in the store, what is your reaction really? Is it returned enthusiasm?  The answer is a resounding NO!

The sales agent’s overly enthusiastic approach will definitely meet with you cringing and telling the sales agent that you don’t need any help thanks. And that is a big sales mistake.

Let’s look at it another way. If I tell you I have something in my pocket that can explain the complete mystery of why some sales people close almost everyone and some sales people don’t close anyone but I am not going to show it to you.

Sorry, no matter how much you beg, it just is not going to happen.

Now what happens is that you become very curious about what I have in my pocket. See? The equal and opposite reaction to me telling you that you can’t see it is that you very much want to see it.

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Overselling vs. Taking it away

I so often see sales people convincing and persuading and pushing and shoving to get a sale. Sure, sometimes you can succeed using the tactic of completely overwhelming your customer and forcing him into submission.

But that sale is likely going to try cancelling later on and you will have to force the poor prospect into submission again.

Sales people are often despised because of this, and rightfully so. Nobody wants to feel forced into anything!

A good sales agent lets the customer think he bought the product on his own determinism, not because a sales agent forced him to!

Three Possible approaches to the customer on the sales floor.

Approach One: High enthusiasm: “Hello Sir, How can I help you today”.

Seems reasonable. So why is it so frequently met with the customer backing off and muttering “I am just looking thanks”? Or worse, the customer practically running out of the store!

Approach Two: Don’t even talk to the customer. Well, it is an option, but then the customer feels ignored and the boss is none too pleased either.

Approach Three: In a mildly interested tone: “Hi, I see you are looking at the stereo systems. If you need any help, I will be standing over there and so feel free to come ask me. I am kind of the expert in the store on the subject”.

And then walking off a few steps… and then in an almost curious fashion and kind of over your shoulder “By the way, are you looking for yourself or someone else?”

What’s the point here? First, the force of high enthusiasm is like a brick hitting something and the equal and opposite reaction is that something becoming thrown backwards.

A bored approach is not nearly as high energy and so does not create such a force hitting the customer. So while the customer will back off a bit, it is not nearly as much as he would back off if hit with high enthusiasm.

Second, when the sales agent delivers his pitch and then withdraws a bit, it creates the equal and opposite reaction of a reach from the customer. When the agent then asks a mild question, the customer is still on a reach and so is more receptive.

So what is the biggest mistake?

Well, the biggest mistake a sales agent ever makes is over-reaching. Back off, take it slow, don’t be afraid of losing the sale, and let the customer reach instead.

My goal in sales is always to reach at least an 80% close rate. Keep checking back for more articles about how to make that happen and more about sales.

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