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What Are The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do?

Jim Meisenheimer

We all make mistakes and some salespeople seem to make a lot of them. What scares the vinegar out of me is that most salespeople keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

1. Relying on one relationship to protect your account. Why in the world would you put all your eggs in one basket? Excuse me - with one person. It doesn't make any sense and the bigger the account is the more vulnerable you become. There are five reasons why you should develop more than one relationship in all your accounts, especially the major ones:

First retirement - people do retire. Second is death - yep some people actually die at their desk. Sure it's not common, but it does happen. Third is resignation - people do leave for better opportunities and that happens more than you might imagine. Fourth is termination - some people actually get fired. Finally - and sure this is a long shot - some people win the Lottery.

Action-step. Build and cultivate a network within every major account you have. The biggest Rolodex usually WINS!

2. Putting your fate with mid-level managers instead of starting with the top gun. The worst thing you can do is to follow your instincts on this one. Your instincts tell you to start at the easiest point of entry in any organization. Why - because it's easy! Once you gain access at this point your instincts continue to give you bad advice. Soon you'll be thinking you can't go over the head of the person you currently have the relationship with.

Here's my advice and it works. Your first call should be to the CEO or president of the organization. Simply ask them, or their assistants, for their help in directing you to the right person. If you're doing this over the phone you should also ask them to transfer you to this key decision maker.

Action-step. Make your first call to the CEO. It's easier to let him direct you down the organizational chart then to have some mid-level manager try to take you up the same organizational chart.

3. Telling prospects/customers that you're NEW. I know this is a big one because I hear it all the time. Sad to say many years ago I even used this same mindless introduction. Imagine walking into an account and telling your prospect/customer that you are the new sales REP for your company. For a moment let's switch gears.

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July 2005