“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” –John C. Maxwell

Sales reps aren’t immune to mistakes. Learn about the five most common mistakes sales reps make on outbound calls, and prepare yourself to avoid them.

  1. Not Having a Script – A well-written script is the foundation of a winning sale. If you go into a call with no agenda, you’ll come out of it with no progress. A script allows you to guide the conversation with a prospect. You can find out exactly what you want to know in minimal time, and won’t get caught off track on discussing marginal details.
  2. Sounding Scripted – A good script doesn’t come across as a sales rep reading from a sheet of paper. You can’t predict exactly what your prospect will say, so use your script as a guide rather than a bible. We use fewer inflexions in our voices when we read than we do when we speak, so an overly scripted sales call can quickly bore the other person on the line. Practice your script enough so that you know the flow of the conversation you’d like to have, but not so often that you memorize it verbatim.
  3. Failing to Convey Confidence – If you don’t believe in your products or services, why would your prospects? Demonstrate your confidence in your offering and in yourself, and your prospects are more likely to trust you than they are to trust someone who appears shifty and skittish. A few minor changes in your behavior could make a big impact on your overall confidence: try to keep a positive attitude, tighten your posture, adopt high power body language, and make exercising a habit.
  4. Contacting the Wrong Person – We loath when our mistakes end up wasting our time. If your sales contact is not the primary decision maker, find out who is, and how you can get in touch with them. Use sales intelligence to find key decision makers at target organizations, and save your sales pitch for the right person.
  5. Forgetting the Product – We can’t predict which questions prospects will ask, but we still need to be prepared to answer them. If you tell a prospect something that is not true about your product during an initial conversation, it will come back to haunt you later in the deal. The outbound caller must know absolutely everything there is to know about the product or service they pitch.