3 traits of a Bad Seller

3 traits of a Bad Seller

3 traits of a Bad Seller

Just yesterday I was in a conversation with a sales leader of a leading professional services firm and we had this very interesting discussion around the traits of a Bad seller. We debated this a bit to say can someone really be bad and stay in that role? On doing a deeper analysis we realized that what we are possibly referring to is the profile of sellers who possibly haven’t upgraded their skills to be relevant today. So they may have been good at this role a few years ago or were taught these traits by someone who was good it but may not be relevant to today’s marketplace. 

The first one that made it to the list, is the sellers who believe “Everyone is a Prospect.” These sellers are usually very hard working and spend a lot of time in sales activity. They have a broad demographic profile and they keep targeting this, still believing in the law of probability! You speak to 5 prospects, 3 will listen and 1 will buy! Agreed maybe a decade or so ago this would work. For brands that had close to a monopoly in their marketplace and the only activity for sales was to expand coverage this was a good way to work. This may still work to some extent in product sales where the product is in the commodity space. However, if you sell “nice to have” products/ services and are operating in the premium positioning it’s important to know that everyone is not your prospect. It is then important to define what your “Ideal Customer Profile “looks like! If you had a choice what attribute would define your Ideal customer? The best way to do this is to look at deals you won and deals you lost and look at what are your strengths in the deals you win? Why did they buy from you? What attributes in the customer helped you Win the deal? This would help you define your “Ideal Customer Profile”.

The second one, was “ I am good at Networking”. Since the profession of sales has been recognized possibly, we have recognised that the trait of making connections is helpful in sales. Networking used to be important to build your database and a lot of sales people would go to events and seminars just to collect visiting cards. Today, it’s not enough to network cause more important than “Who do you know? “Is the question “What would be their top of the mind recall of you? “It’s no more about collecting visiting cards or LinkedIn connections in this new world of social media. It’s important to have created an impact, left an impression, established some credibility with few who matter. This is important so that when they think of you they have a positive association of an experience in their mind. 

The third one was “ I can talk myself into any situation”. That seller who is a good talker used to be selected in interviews only because of the gift of the gab. When people due to fear of rejection would get tongue tied if you could go out there are talk in every situation you could possibly get face time with the customer and hence using law of probability also win the order. In the world connected by technology the ability to talk is important but more important than that is the ability to ask and listen. Today customers do not want sellers to sell to them but they want sellers to consult, advice, offer expertise, share perspective and none of this is possible if the seller is focused on what I am going to say, instead the focus needs to be on what am I going to ask! Research tells us that the sellers fail with the 80% syndrome – seller speaks 80% of the time, 80% of that time he speaks about his product/ service / solution and 80% of that is in statements. 

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt