I’m 34 years old right now, and I lead our business development efforts for Nuance Financial – I’m the “sales” guy.  Over the last 13 years or so, I’ve had an opportunity to interact with tens of thousands of people working in retail, serving food in a restaurant, being a financial advisor, and serving as a Pastor.  While these tens of thousands of personal interaction have served as a “doctorate program” for sales and interaction – the coaching and modeling I’ve had the pleasure to receive from my Dad has been absolutely priceless.

My father, Merlin Satrom, has been working with the Caterpillar dealer in the Minnesota market for over 30 years.  He was a successful salesman for some time, and now serves a team of sales people that help contractors properly invest into the prime heavy equipment solution so they can be as successful as possible.  I was walking through His garage the other day when I stumbled upon one of His hidden gem books – Bill Brooks “Sales Techniques”

I’ve read through this book’s first edition a couple of times and love the guidance it provides.  If you’re in a sales profession, I’d highly recommend picking it up and using it as a reference to help yourself out.

If you are an entrepreneur, I absolutely insist on buying this book and internalizing as much of it as possible.  You won’t get more than 5 pages into it before you’re given some concepts that will help you improve in your development efforts.  While you’re working on your elevator speech, and honing your core focus, this book will provide you with invaluable sales principles and behaviors.  On it’s second page, Bill Brooks gives a tremendous list of errors made when selling but notes that there are two main mistakes we make as sales people.

The two biggest mistakes salespeople make are:

  1. They don’t invest enough time into prospecting
  2. They don’t ask enough of the right kinds of questions when they do get in front of qualified prospects.

Those are the two greatest mistakes that sales people make, but it can be even worse for Entrepreneurs because they wear so many hats.  If you own a company and have hired a couple of sales professionals to help you, this list can help you build some questions for performance coaching.

The 20 Biggest Errors in Selling:

  1. Talking too much and listening too little
  2. Not asking enough questions
  3. Too little pre-call planning
  4. Inconsistent or insufficient prospecting
  5. Quoting price too soon
  6. Not creating value
  7. Presenting too many features
  8. Giving a presentation that doesn’t address the issues the prospect wanted to address
  9. Raising objections yourself by talking too much
  10. Not listening
  11. Failing to provide proof of other, happy customers
  12. Asking leading questions
  13. Using tie-down questions (e.g.) “If I could show you a way to save money you’d be interested, wouldn’t you?”)
  14. Memorizing canned closing techniques or ways to overcome objections
  15. Not having a flexible personality
  16. Dropping your price too soon
  17. Making claims that can’t be backed up by facts
  18. Underdelivering on promises
  19. Not revealing all the facts
  20. Failing to ask for the order

SOURCE: “Sales Techniques”  2004 Mcgraw Hill, Bill Brooks pg. 2