Tom Hopkins - a renowned Sales Guru and a proficient sales person himself - once remarked that a sales job is the "easiest low-paying job" and the "toughest high-paying job" in the world. He meant to say that how you perform in a sales job is totally up to you. Over the years, many sales people have tried to succeed but failed miserably and it wasn't due to their lack of product knowledge or lack of credentials.
Here are the reasons why most sales people fail:
1. Not understanding that it all depends on you: It isn't the economy, the Industry or the state of the country you reside in. It's not about your company, your education, experience, training and expertise. It isn't about brands, advertising or consumer behaviour. For a sales person, it always starts with self. Your success or loss depends on what you think of your job or responsibility. It's easy to play the blame-game but it really doesn't solve your problem. How you do in sales is right there between your two ears.
2. Not playing by the numbers: Your Company can't be possibly making products for everyone in the market. Some customers can't afford to buy your products or perhaps there are things your products or services just can't provide. Some days you don't do well, some days you do. Closure of a sale is all about how many people you meet belly-to-belly; it's just a numbers game. Speak to 10 prospects, 1 will buy. How many proposals have you made today? How many people did you meet? Until you meet the tenth prospect, you won't make that sale. Not understanding this and getting bogged down by the sheer number of rejections is the reason why so many promising sales career crash and burn.
3. Forgetting that you are selling to human beings: We humans are walking, talking blobs of flesh with brains that perceive far too many things than what we asked for. Most sales people forget that they are dealing with people - complete with their own respective baggage full of emotions, feelings, logic, thoughts, fears, illusions, etc. Just as a sales person thinks of the commission he stands to make on a sale, the consumer too is looking for a perceptible gain before shelling out money. Once a sales person understands this, it is far easier to tap into the mind-boggling power of personal Interaction to make that sale.
4. Putting themselves first: One of the biggest mistakes most sales people make is to keep their needs and wants ahead of those of individual customers. It's always about a sales person's career, commissions, accolades from bosses, promotions, etc. Even worse, most times all a sales person cares about is to make the sale and vanish, never to be seen again. One of the fundamental tenets to making a lot of money or to become successful is to learn to give and to put service first. Treat your customer right and you have a customer for life.
5. Talking too much: The number of possible sales closures that have been lost just because sales people can't keep their mouth shut is far too many to even keep track of. Sales people, often out of the excitement or nervousness about a successful closure, tend to blurt out and ruin their chances of a complete closure. After having made your pitch, all you are supposed to do is to look into your customer's eyes and have them talk; better still, have them sign the check.