12 Sales Behaviours That Limit Success


12 Sales Behaviours That Limit Success – You’ve set your sales goals and you’re motivated to achieve them, but you’re not…why? This post presents behaviours that are proven to prevent sales people from realising their sales potential.  How many do you recognise?

Sales Skills – First Things First

Before we start, let me say that if you want to achieve sales success, there are two elements you must have to be successful:

  • Motivation – if you don’t have the passion to achieve and ‘the fuel in the tank’ to physically (and mentally) go the distance in sales as well as:
  • Goal Focus – the discipline to set goals and work towards them without distraction AND the wisdom to regularly review your performance and adjust your goals appropriately, then…

Stop reading this article now – without the motivation and goal focus you’re not going to become a top sales performer. Sorry, but that’s what global research and years of experience tells me. However, if you posses both, let us begin…

12 Behaviours Preventing You Realising Your Sales Potential

Take a look through this list and see if you recognise any of the behaviours in yourself and/or your sales team. A learning journey starts with with putting  [Checklist] our hand up and admitting there’s something we need to learn, so try taking this first step…

  1. The Worry Wort – do you find yourself worrying about everything, craving security and measuring your success by the absence of failure? Are you hiding from too much social interaction and afraid of ‘just doing it’? Putting it another way, is the glass half empty or half full?
  2. The Detail Junky – do you find you never have enough detailed information on a prospect to pick up the phone? Is there always something about your products and services that you simply must know before you can sell them properly? Are you scared that your prospect may ask you something you can answer there and then?
  3. Look At Me! – Do you find yourself so focused on ‘landing the big Marlin’ that you ignore the bountiful tasty morsels? Are you convinced that your customers won’t respect you without the latest smart phone, iPad, car or suit? Is it always better to use one big word rather than a few simple ones? Does a customer need to know all about you before they’ll like you enough to buy?
  4. The Wall Flower – is sales is all about quality one-on-one time? Do you avoid giving group presentations – they don’t work do they? Where are you when they’re calling for volunteers to take part in activities at that seminar?
  5. Salesperson, Me? – Salesperson – you don’t see a lot of them around do you! After all, nobody wants to talk to (or be) a sales person right?
  6. Nice Guy – you’ve never been seen as pushy, rude or overly intrusive have you? You pride yourself on having a great relationship with your clients, always giving them what they want. You never have to ‘close a sale’ somehow your prospects just tell you what they want, how they want it and, what they’re going to pay. Sure, other sales people may make better margins, but but they may not sell as much!
  7. I’m Not Worthy – why meet with the CEO when their PA really makes the decisions around there? They’re too powerful/influential to want to talk to you anyway right?
  8. Friends Don’t Sell to Friends – I don’t expect my friends to sell to me so they sure don’t want me selling to them!
  9. Keep My Family Out of This - I don’t expect my family to sell to me so they sure don’t want me selling to them!
  10. Referrals Don’t Work Around Here – if your clients wants to give you a referral they will right? Referrals may work for other organisations, but they don’t work for us. I have too good a relationship with my clients to bother them for referrals.
  11. Face-to-Face – telemarketing/sales doesn’t work in this job – you’ve got to be face-to-face to really make a sale. I’m a sales professional not a telemarketer! My customers would much rather see me for 30 minutes once a quarter than speak to me on the phone for five minutes each month.
  12. The Arm Folder – you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks, especially one whose seen it all before right? It’s best to be in control and start with a “no” and work from there. Coaching is for football teams not me!

Be Honest – How Many Did You Tick?

As I sit and write this (even knowing what I know) I still tick at least 3 or 4 of these items as being things I do – often without being aware of it. How many have you ticked for yourself and your colleagues?

Some of the items you’ve ticked may not be important in your sales environment. For example, if you’re selling Nuclear Reactors not wanting to sell to your friends or family probably won’t make much different to you. BUT – if you’re considering a career in insurance sales or Tupperware you might want to think again.

If you’d like to realise your sale potential, you should consider a professional sales assessment and feedback. At the very least, by recognising some of these behaviours, you’ve started your learning journey – bon voyage!

John Belchamber

Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

I have been passionate about developing people and business performance in small to medium sized businesses for over 20 years. As Founder & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results, my experience across the range of business disciplines that small business owners need to develop a better business is what attracts my clients. Be it developing website and social media strategies, or dealing with your people and performance issues. If you've got business headaches, I'm your pain relief!

Comments (4)
John Belchamber

John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Thank you Eric, I'm pleased you found it interesting. Many of these behaviours are coachable, some some are more 'ingrained' from our upbringing and far harder to change. However, any learning journey starts with realising there is something your don't know (and need to know) and being prepared to do something about it. Good luck with your journey!

Jennifer Lancaster

Jennifer Lancaster, Director at

It's easier to get motivated if I think of being a service provider, not a salesperson. I'm providing a service that only some need, so my job is to find the people who really need this service. 

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