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11 Things Great Salespeople Don’t Do

April 27, 2022

There always seems to be lots of ideas and discussion around what great salespeople do. I think it’s just human nature to evaluate success and emulate it. We take inventory of what the successful are doing and we copy it. I’m just as guilty, as I’ve written a number of posts highlighting the things the best salespeople do.

Don’t get me wrong, knowing what the best of the best do is noteworthy. We should do it keep doing it. However, sometimes it’s not what people do that’s compelling; sometimes it’s what they don’t do that makes the difference.

With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to look at what the best salespeople DON’T do in order to shed some light on the behaviors you want to avoid in your pursuit to better selling.


The Habits of Great Salespeople: What They Don’t Do

1) Procrastinate

Great salespeople don’t procrastinate. They always have this sense of urgency that compels them to get things done instantly. They’re like beavers, they are always working with a sense of purpose, never letting an opportunity slip by. They recognize the shelf-life of an opportunity can be a nano-second and they hate missing out on opportunities. No moss grows under their feet.


2) Blame

The blame game is crazy prevalent in the world of sales. Salespeople are notorious complainers. The customer just doesn’t get it. Quota is too high. The product is too expensive. The product doesn’t have the features I need. The list of salespeople complaints is endless- except with great salespeople.

Great salespeople, rarely if ever, blame others or their surroundings. They take complete accountability for selling and do whatever it takes to be successful in the environment they are in. They accept and embrace the fact that they are in sales and have tremendous control of their selling process, selling time, selling approach and more. With this recognition, they feel no need or benefit to blame others for difficulties or for their own failure.


3) Become complacent

Great salespeople embrace personal development. They are the first to identify and absorb new selling techniques, tools, approaches and methodologies. They live in a never ending paranoia that convinces them that there is always someone or something trying to outsell them or get a competitive advantage.

It’s this paranoia the drives them to always be improving and growing, and to never accept the status quo. The greatest salespeople never accept where they are as “good enough.” Nothing is ever “good enough” for the best.

4) Sell scared

Great salespeople don’t sell scared. They build enough value into their solutions that they have the confidence and comfort that they are going to win the deal that they aren’t afraid of losing. They believe that fear comes from being unprepared, lacking a solid understanding of what the buyer actually wants and why.

They know that fear gives away their ability to sell on value and exposes them to the whims of their customers. They recognize selling scared increases the chances they cave on price, miss up-sell opportunities and don’t challenge the customer. The most successful salespeople simply don’t sell scared.


5) Have thin skin

The best salespeople know sales is a game of averages. Like a baseball player, they understand that winning happens far less than losing. Like the 300 hitter in baseball who doesn’t get a hit 70% of the time, great salespeople know that they are going to lose far more often than they win and they’re comfortable with this.

The elite are not susceptible to the continual onslaught of no and rejections. They have a rejection anti-venom that makes them immune to the sting of the a buyer’s no. Failure and rejection just doesn’t affect them.


6) Quit

When we talk about what makes great salespeople, one undeniable characteristic that defines them is their unwavering determination. The concept of quitting simply doesn’t exist for these folks. They are undaunted by failure. They see roadblocks, as challenges. They see no’s as yes’s. They see rejections as opportunities.

Great salespeople never quit. They have an insatiable desire to see things to the end. Great salespeople see failure as just a transition point to learn, but keep on going. There is no quit in the best salespeople.


7) Go in unprepared

Top-notch preparation takes center stage for these sellers. They treat preparation as a competitive differentiator. They never go to a meeting or presentation with having done all their homework. They leave nothing to chance.

The greatest salespeople use preparation as a way to get a leg up. They know, most sellers do very little prep work. The best know that preparation is where you can pull ahead of the pack. Great salespeople are never unprepared.

8) Get pushed around

Great salespeople sell on value. They are ensconced in the value they create. They believe in the value they provide to their customers with every fiber in their being. Therefore, they aren’t prone to being pushed around. They know the value they bring and stand by it. Value acts as a mooring to the best salespeople.

When a buyer tries to bully them, they simply become stout, anchored by their unwavering belief that they bring more value than the customer enjoys today and therefore they don’t need to become the customer’s bitch to win the deal. The best salespeople don’t get pushed around and are nobody’s bitch.


9) Sell something the buyer doesn’t need

The best salespeople become the best because they are better than anybody at solving their customers problems. They have an amazing ability to influence a clients thinking and help them develop best of breed solutions that better their business. They are excellent problem solvers and solution creators.

Therefore, great salespeople never, ever sell something their client doesn’t need. The best salespeople will tell a client when buying a particular product or add-on doesn’t make sense. They won’t let their clients spend money they don’t need to. Great salespeople know that it’s not about bring in an extra dollar or two, but rather solving their clients problems and selling something to them they don’t need ISN’T solving any problems. It just creates them.


10) Focus on themselves

Great salespeople learn very early that selling is NOT about them. They know it’s not about their product or quota, or their timeline, or their needs. It’s about their customer and they are keenly aware of this.

The best salespeople have an uncanny ability to get into the shoes of their clients and connect on the issues and challenges their customers are facing, not what they as a salesperson need or want. The best salespeople are very in tune with their customers and don’t let the focus turn to them, their company or their own needs.


11) Try to be the hero

Heroes in selling are more like egos. The best salespeople know that selling is a people’s game and that it takes a multitude of people to close the deal. Therefore, great salespeople don’t try to take all the credit or swoop and play hero. They do just the opposite. They share the credit and give as much away as possible.

They know the nicer they are, the more kudos they give, they more support they will get on future deals. Great salespeople are collaborators not, heroes with egos trying to get all the credit.

Do Less, Achieve More

Selling is a complex profession. It’s hard. To make it, there are a lot of things we can focus on and do. But, there are also a number of things we keep from doing that can bring just as much success.  As you’re working on growing your sales career and getting better, stop for a second and ask, besides doing stuff, are there some things you can stop doing?

If the answer is yes, then stop! The return could be just as big as what you are doing.


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