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Bad Sales Habits…and How to Replace Them
Blog / Improving Sales Team Performance / Mar 19, 2019 / Posted by Claudia Kimla-Stern / 5051

Bad Sales Habits…and How to Replace Them


Less than twenty-five percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions have kept them by the end of January. Just because the turn of the new year has come and gone doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about our resolutions and ways to improve ourselves.

Bad Habits

When does a habit become a so-called “bad habit” and how does it affect our work and life?

Almost all of our actions and routines are based on habits—proven behaviors that make our lives easier, more effective and easy to accomplish. This goes for our business as well as personal lives. There is nothing wrong with it! To make routines out of day-to-day tasks gives us the space to react better and faster to unprecedented events since we don’t have to think about usual accomplishments which have become habits. That is the good side of it.

But let’s look at habits that become unproductive and jeopardize our lives, work, well-being, and outcomes.

With any regular and repeating task, we should stop from time to time and review the process, question it, and if necessary, start seeking alternatives. Situations, environments, and events change, and we must remain aware and flexible enough to adapt when change is needed.

Bad habits often kick in when stress and workload become overwhelming. They’re usually a reaction to a need for “fixing” a problem in a fast and seemingly easy manner so that you can just move on. Over time, though, these “easy” fixes can become bigger problems that impact not only the process but the outcome.

Bad Habit Repair

How do you turn those bad habits around? Simple: take some time out, review your habits and replace them with better, more effective ones. And I mean replace them, not eliminate them. Why? Because every habit—good or bad—provides some kind of benefit for you. By simply eliminating a habit, you eliminate the benefit as well. In turning around a bad habit, you replace a (perhaps questionable) benefit with a better one.

Specifically, the first step is to identify the underlying behavior that triggers a habit, and then create a concrete plan for changing and replacing that habit with a better one.

Sales Habits

Let’s look at some bad habits that can sneak into a salesperson’s life and eat away at their hard work.

Every salesperson faces a lot of pressure, rejection and long working days. Such stresses can act as triggers for a salesperson fall into “tried and true” habits in scrambling to reach quota. Here are some ways to change underlying behaviors that can trigger bad habits.

1. Turn rejection into learning

In sales, we are faced almost every day with rejection. There might be different reasons why it happens and why prospective customers say “no” to the product or service we are offering. We tend to see the “no” as a failure—but in your mind, you can replace the “failure” with learning by redefining it. For example, examine your presentation and see if you can find the crucial points that led to the “no.” Replace them with different questions or statements before your next presentation.

It is also helpful to practice presentations with a co-worker or mentor to isolate where bad habits might lie.

2. Be honest when you don’t know

If, during a presentation, a question arises to which you don’t know the answer, don’t invent a response that is not built on solid ground. Tell the customer you’ll get back to them. Provide the best possible solution rather than concoct a quick-fix that will disappoint the customer (sooner or later, they’ll find out).

In addition to selling a product or service, sales is also about building long-term relationships on trust. Such relationships not only mean one closed sale, but they also mean recurring sales and referrals.

3. Conduct in-depth research on your prospective customer

Such research is done so that you can provide your prospect with the best possible solution. By “best” I mean a solution customized as much as possible to meet your prospect’s requirements.

Don’t jump into a presentation without being well-informed. If needed, use your own time to research and prepare.

Nothing is more disappointing for a customer than to realize, right in the middle of your pitch, that their needs are not being acknowledged. Your competitors are already standing by—don’t assist them with your own incorrect actions.

Speaker, author, and sales leader Anthony Iannarino once said, “Opportunities are lost much earlier in the process. Skipping past stages ensures loss.”

Once you’ve given a superficial sales pitch, it is much harder to return to the customer and ask to do it again.

Try to rehearse every possible answer to every possible question or concern that might come up from the customer’s side. Play your own devil’s advocate and challenge yourself until you are prepared in the best possible way.

4. Walk the whole walk

There is no way and no shortcut around it!!

Only by going through all the steps of the sales process—by preparing well and doing your homework—can you assure that you have responded adequately to your prospect’s needs and that you will meet your goal. And even if the deal doesn’t close, take what lessons you can from it for the future, and empower yourself even more.

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About Author

Claudia is educated in the law, as well as in management, and her career has focused on project management, finance, international event organization and management, media relations and international representation. She excels in event preparation and management as well as media relations.


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