Your sales reps are working hard, but they’re still not closing enough sales. This is a common sales management problem, and there are several consistent factors that regularly hurt sales reps’ effectiveness. Simply by correcting these misguided tactics, you will vastly improve your sales team’s productivity and effectiveness. Here are the 9 most common sales habits that lose your reps sales.

1. They are not in control of the selling process – Too many salespeople let the prospect control the conversation from the beginning. Prospects are trained to think of sales reps as manipulators who are only after their money. In response, they have developed their own defensive strategy. Sales reps need to stay in control and know when the prospects are manipulating them.

2. They are not data-driven – Sales reps tend to be grow ‘happy ear’s and are always optimistic, thinking that they are heading in the right direction, even when their numbers are falling. They typically blame their personal struggles on the economy or other extraneous factors that they can’t control. When salespeople have hard data and key sales performance metrics showing exactly where they are coming up short, they can no longer ignore a losing streak.

3. They believe everything the prospect says – Salespeople have a bad reputation for bending the truth, but prospects can be just as culpable. Prospects sometimes string sales reps along, even when they have no intention of buying, in order to get valuable free information from the unsuspecting rep. They try to use the rep as a free consultant so they can get more out of their current provider.

4. They waste time with deals that are already lost – This mistake goes hand-in-hand with number 3 above. Reps who believe a prospect when he or she says something like, “We need to think it over,” end up expending resources on a lead that was never really a prospect.

5. They sell features – Prospects are no longer interested in a comprehensive list of benefits.  Instead, salespeople should tout their product as a solution to the prospect’s existing problem.  They need to identify the problem in their initial pitch and outline how their company can fix it.

6. They don’t uncover the prospect’s “pain” – Buying is emotional, so sales reps should target their prospect’s strongest emotion – pain. Successful reps prove that they understand the prospect’s problem from their point of view to establish empathy. This makes the prospect think that the salesperson is on their side, looking out for their best interest.

7. They rely on clichéd selling systems – By now, prospects have had a chance to interact with many salespeople, so they have learned most of the common selling strategies.  Sales reps need to step away from the traditional script if they want to close sales.

8. They avoid discussing money – While it is definitely important to establish your product’s value before hitting a prospect with the price, reps can’t ignore money. Rather, they should use this powerful motivator to their own advantage. Show them how their current practices are wasting their resources. Then give them a dollar amount for how much they would save with your help.

9. They don’t have a post-sale step – The sale isn’t over until the contract is signed. Before that, competitors still have time to make a sneaky counter-offer. Salespeople need a strong post-sale step and a clearly defined process to make sure this doesn’t happen.

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