Every day a dozen or so people send me links to their blog posts asking for my opinion. I usually take a look but most of the time the posts are pretty average.

Today, I got such a request from tech industry executive Dave Govan. It's about neuroscience and selling but that wasn't the best part.

Towards the end of his post, he gave a list of the dumb mistakes that salespeople make when meeting with customers for the first time.

Here's my expanded version of that list.  Readers: which mistakes have I missed? Because I'm pretty sure there are more than 39.

  1. Talking at the customer (i.e. pitching rather than conversing).
  2. Talking more than you're listening.
  3. Surfacing case studies that aren't relevant.
  4. Failing to illustrate key points with meaningful anecdotes.
  5. Mispronouncing a prospect's name.
  6. Delivering a presentation that's too freakin' long.
  7. Starting your presentation with your company overview.
  8. Spending too much time on your company overview.
  9. Starting your presentation with the founder's biography.
  10. Spending too much time on the founder's biography.
  11. Surfacing problems that you assume the customer has.
  12. Surfacing objections that the customer hasn't mentioned.
  13. Giving demonstrations that walk through each menu pick.
  14. Using a generic "one size fits all" sales pitch deck.
  15. Using fund raising slides in a sales presentation.
  16. Citing case studies from a different vertical industry.
  17. Using too much jargon, biz-blab, buzzwords and acronyms.
  18. Not explaining how your offering is better than the competitor's.
  19. Not knowing enough to answer reasonable questions.
  20. Sidestepping questions rather than admitting you don't know.
  21. Laying BS rather than admitting that you don't know.
  22. Asking rhetorical questions. (Ex: "What if I could save you...")
  23. Using words that sound "salesy." (Ex: "We guarantee that...")
  24. Speaking in the singsong cadence of the archetypal salesperson.
  25. Asking questions that some quick research could have answered.
  26. Wearing clothes or accessories that are distracting.
  27. Failing to turn off your phone during the meeting.
  28. Trying to eat something messy (if meeting includes food).
  29. Presenting "spray and pray" lists of features and functions.
  30. Displaying complex graphics that try to explain everything.
  31. Using weird difficult-to-read fonts or fonts too small to read.
  32. Including cheesy stock photographs of happy workers.
  33. Reading from your slides. (The horror, the horror...)
  34. Talking faster because you're running out of time.
  35. Failing to proofread your slides for typograhpical errors.
  36. Bringing up politics or religion.
  37. Concentrating on closing the sale rather than learning or helping.
  38. Complaining about your job or the economy.
  39. Directing focus to your own emotions and desires.

 

Published on: May 27, 2016