Why are You Bad at Sales?

I’m 26, and to this day I suck at Maths. You ask me to solve a simple equation and I seriously and honestly cannot do it. Seriously – I am not joking. 

I just cannot do maths. The best I have ever done is everyday calculation, and even then I tend to pull out my phone to use the calculator. I digress. 

So now am I bad at maths?

Yes, of-course. But, why?

Because I didn’t practice and played Super Mario when I should’ve been studying and doing equations. 

So, if I want to get better at solving equations or doing trigonometry, I would need to study, practice and practice day and night until I become better at it. 

So, are you bad at Sales?

Asking WHY you are bad at sales will only give you the reasons why you are bad at sales. However, if you shift focus and start finding out all the reasons how you can improve in sales – you will become better at it.

Understand this much – Asking why am I bad at something, will only give you the reasons why you are bad at something. So let’s try and look at some of the reasons why some folks are bad at sales and how they can improve:

Fear of losing deals

Yes, sales people hate losing deals and the fear of losing them is so over powering that they will almost always agree to any and every condition the prospect throws at them. 

You put in a lot of work prospecting, qualifying, building rapport, doing demos and it’s time to close the deal. But maybe your palms begin to sweat, you become increasingly self-conscious and you’re afraid to counter anything the prospect will say. All because you don’t want to lose the deal.

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. I, myself have been there. 

So what do you do to move through the fear to a confident close with the right approach and mindset?

You lay down the ground work from the get go. 

Qualify the prospects, not just once but throughout the sales process. Make sure you are selling the product based on value and not the price or the feature set. 

Understand the prospects pain points, it’s really as simple as that. See what they need, explain how your product can help solve it and point them towards it. 

Rinse and repeat.

If you approach every deal as a chance to ensure that a prospect is having their needs met and their problems solved – a chance to help and serve them – then it can suddenly all seem a little less scary. 

Yes, a sale does result in revenue, but more importantly, it should lead to a happy customer. Trust me, your Customer Success team will thank you for that. And it doesn’t hurt that it helps with reducing your churn numbers. 

Not evolving enough

Same follow-up emails, same demo structure, same qualification questions. Sounds familiar? 

You’d be surprised how many people in sales do things the same way they did for years. You have to keep up with the times, adapt to every situation/prospect accordingly. You cannot keep doing sales the same way you did when you started in sales and expect things to improve. 

The only way to improve what you do is by doing something new and finding it out for yourself.

That means, reading sales books, talking to other sales reps and actually applying the new learnings into practice. You need to constantly innovate, learn more and try different things. Mixing it up keeps you sharp and excited about your work, it’s also a great way to improve your success rates across the board. 

When you keep doing things the old way, often times when put in new situations, you’ll end up choking. It’s because you’re so used to doing things “like you always did” you’re afraid to do it another way. And that’s bad for sales because every prospect and situation is different. 

Commit to ongoing personal and professional development. Focus on self-improvement.

This can be as simple as reading 1-2 new articles every week and taking one thing away from it to incorporate into your own sales approach, or finding a new podcast to listen to.

The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. When you make it a habit, you’ll reap the benefits of increased productivity, creative inspiration, and overall job satisfaction. Which in turn will lead you to up your sales game. 

Selling to Everyone

It’s incredibly tempting to latch on to every single lead that comes your way, especially if you’re struggling with qualifying those leads. 

However, the fact of the matter is that if you spend more time pursuing the wrong-fit prospects, then ultimately you have less time for leads that are a good fit for you. 

Don’t be afraid to walk away from prospects that aren’t a good fit for your product. If you turn a blind eye to this, you’ll waste your time, their time, and your team’s time when you could have been working a lead that would be far more valuable.

One of the reasons you are bad at sales is that you lack the ability to distinguish between worth it prospects vs not worth it.

How can you stop selling to everyone?

Understand your company’s ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and buyer personas. Then, work with leads that closely match those profiles. Leads that are unqualified or don’t fit your ICP, automate the reach-out for them so you don’t end up spending too much of your time on them. 

Armed with this information, you’ll be more effective and have a higher success rate since you’re focusing on prospects that are a perfect fit for your product. 

Another thing that I very often see sales people do is that whenever you ask them what their pipeline looks like. They will open up the CRM with rows and rows of deals. 

I must admit, it visually looks very appealing!

And when inquiring about their win rate? It’s almost always as low as 20% or even 10% at times. 

Meaning, in the best case scenario, they are closing 1 deal out of every 5 created. Why?

Well, it’s because they don’t know how to say No to prospects that are not a good fit for them. They go along in the sales funnel, costing the sales rep their precious time. Giving them the false hope that they will become a customer, which they ultimately don’t.

The deal gets lost due to the fact that they were not a good fit to begin with.

It’s never an easy feeling when you lose a deal. Especially if it’s part of daily/weekly cycle. It takes a toll on you and degrades performance. 

Lack of a documented process aka “Winging it”

Now, I must admit, at times I too am guilty of this. Not checking what the prospect does or what the company they work for does before jumping on a demo or a call with them. 

That sheer boldness, always ends up costing a few minutes in the phone call which could be better spent asking prospect the questions about their needs.

However, I have seen whole sales departments at work without a single shared documented sales process to follow. 

This deal is different. My opportunity is unique. I have my own process.

Riggggght. I’ve heard it all before. 

Working with an undocumented process hinders your own potential, you’ll enable misunderstandings, lack of accountability, and have inaccurate forecasts across the team.

If all of the sales reps in a team don’t have clearly defined steps and a path to follow, they risk not knowing exactly what needs to be done at each stage of the sale. Which collectively makes everyone perform bad. 

So, how do you go about fixing it? 

Well, for starters. Create a sales process, test it out, work out the kinks and then follow it religiously. 

(And don’t forget to tweak it every now and then to enhance performance, see point #2 above).

A sales process adds structure, revenue predictability, and improved communication to your workflow. It also ensures that everyone on the team is focused on the activities that generate the most revenue and a higher success rate. 

Without a process in place, deals are simply won or lost, and it’s hard to know which specific actions worked and which did not. It leaves a huge opportunity on the table to refine the process to make it better. A documented process also makes it easier and more efficient to expand your sales team or for new reps to step into a deal if need be.

There you have it folks!

These are some of the reasons why some people are bad at sales and how they go about fixing that so they can overcome those weaknesses. 

I always say that fixing a problem starts with first realizing that there is an issue. Bad habits develop over time without you even realizing it. 

What’s not okay is continuing down the same path after recognizing you have a problem that needs to be fixed. 

The sooner you the why behind the reasons, the sooner you will start succeeding in sales. 

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