Habits can be hard to break. Some of them, like nail biting or drinking too much soda, are part of our daily lives. Others can infiltrate our professional lives, and possibly stand in the way of success. We asked three sales professionals about bad habits that can develop in the sales world, and how to break them. Here's what they had to say.
Bad Habit No. 1: Failure to listen
To keep customers happy, you first have to know what they want. Rather than telling them what you think they need, it's best to sit back and listen to what they have to say. "I think the No. 1 big mistake is not being a good listener," said Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz Coach, proprietor of www.promobizcoach.com, Jenkintown, Pa. "No one is interested in you. They're interested in how you can help them." She recommended researching prospects before calling on them, so you are prepared with compelling questions for your first meeting.
Kelly Mallozzi, principal, Success.in.Print, Chicago, agreed that all salespeople should practice asking the right questions and then allowing customers to speak. "We need to ask better questions," she said. "And the most difficult thing for salespeople is to ask a question and then keep their mouth shut. What we tend to do as salespeople is ask, 'What's most important to you? Is it this? Is it this? Is it this?' What we actually [need to] do is to shut up and let them say it."
Kirby Hasseman, owner of Hasseman Marketing & Communications, Coshocton, Ohio, expanded on this point and shared a personal anecdote he learned at an early age. "They always say you have two ears and one mouth, so use them accordingly," he said. "My dad once told me that in sales, you say exactly what you need to say and then shut up. The next person who talks loses. Let them talk."