6 Habits that Hurt Your Sales Pipeline

Old sales habits are difficult to change. The health of your pipeline of prospects is worth the effort.

Content contributors love to focus on actions we could be taking and things we should be doing to better ourselves and our processes. Salespeople should build trust, ask lots of questions, uncover needs and value, pick up the phone, practice, and the list goes on.

But what habits should salespeople give up to improve their productivity and, most importantly, their closing ratios? Here are six habits that really should be considered for the No-No List:

1. Living Exclusively in a Warm-Call World
Networking and leveraging referrals are excellent sources of new business. But in order to grow your pipeline, engage in proactive strategies with people who don’t know you such as: cold call (phone or face-to-face) and email marketing. These are some proactive ways are to grow your pipeline as well. It’s best to pick one and do it well.

2. Being Overly Product-Focused
Expanding your business acumen to dialog more intelligently with decision-makers will allow you to focus on the needs of the customer, not simply pitching your product. Your conversation with prospects needs to be business-focused. What business challenges exist? How can your product/service help their bottom-line? What problem can it solve for them?

3. Attempting to Sell to Unqualified Buyers
Unqualified buyers are unlikely to buy. Selling time should be spent on the prospects who are qualified, will sign the contract, and provide your company with the revenue needed to run the business (and make you commissions). If you stick to a clear qualification process, you won’t waste time chasing down contracts and proposals that won’t come back signed.

4. Chasing Too Much Low-Hanging Fruit
Too often, salespeople assume that smaller deals are easier deals. That’s simply not true. In fact, smaller deals, many times, have decision-makers attached to them who scrutinize dollars more stringently than larger-ticket sales. Instead, focus on opportunities that fall within your ideal customer profile. These have the highest probability for success.

5. Being Ambiguous or Allowing Ambiguity
Being vague during a sales call leads to damaging miscommunication. Be thoughtful of your words, choose them carefully, and speak with clarity. Remove ambiguity in what a prospect says with clarifying questions such as “Can you expound on that?”, or “What did you mean when you said…?”

6. Prospecting Without Pre-Call Planning
LinkedIn can tell you if a prospect has been at a company for 2 months or 7 years. Your conversation will be different with them based on their tenure. Recognizing that there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips will help you prepare to better align yourself with your prospect.

Old habits die hard. In the sales world, unlearning your habits can make the difference between sales struggles and sales success. What sales habits are you looking to break?