SALES

3 Profit-Killing Beliefs About Selling

If your beliefs about selling are broken, your company will fail, sooner rather than later.
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Because selling is the soul of capitalism, whether a company makes a profit is entirely dependent upon how the people inside that company visualize selling. In my observation, the following broken beliefs about selling recur inside companies about to fail:

1. Selling means winning new business. 

Firms obsessed with winning new customers almost always neglect their existing ones.  Because of this, they tend to suffer high attrition rates, which means they must acquire even more customers simply to make the same amount of money.

To make matters worse, winning new customers is far more expensive than selling to existing customers, or selling to prospects whom your customer base has recruited for you through referrals.

Therefore, if you're always thinking about new business, you're gradually putting yourself out of business.

2. Making the numbers is our No. 1 priority.

No question that numbers--like your quarterly and yearly sales figures--are important.  Even so, unless you're committing fraud by cooking the numbers, it's impossible for you to directly affect them.

The only way that you can actually and truly change your numbers is by making your employees your No. 1 priority. Those employees, in turn, must make your customers their No. 1 priority.

Unless you line up those two priorities, your numbers will inevitably decline.

3. Selling requires pitching the product.

Despite decades of seminars and thousands of books about "solution selling," many executives still believe, in their heart of hearts, that customers want to know all about their products.

Most customers are drowning in a flood of information and time-stressed to the max. As such, they have neither the time, the mental resources, nor the intrinsic interest to learn about your product category.

Companies sell with "spray and pray" product pitches are simply asking potential customers to ignore them.

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IMAGE: Images_of_Money/Flickr
Last updated: Apr 11, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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