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WHETHER YOU CALL IT SALES, business development or fundraising, bringing in new customers or donors is essential to your organization’s growth. After all, as the late founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, so prolifically stated, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” However, there are seven deadly sales sins that everyone needs to avoid to be successful. Assuming great work leads to loyalty: Don’t mistake a paying customer for a loyal one. Perceptions of value can vary between vendor and customer. If you’re doubting the unwavering loyalty of your customers, ask them what more you could be doing to exceed expectations. Assuming clients will refer others to you: Even if they’re completely satisfied with your work, your customers won’t necessarily refer your company to others. Instead, take your clients to lunch a couple times a year to gauge their satisfaction, and to inquire about their changing business needs. Not only does this present an opportunity to suggest other products or services that may be a good fit, but it is also an ideal time to involve them in your referral process. Not building bench strength: Investing all of your time in a single relationship is always risky. If your contact moves on, you could be at the mercy of a new manager who wants new partnerships. Savvy sales professionals develop relationships with multiple people at each organization, even if those people are still sitting on the bench for now. Not understanding the decision-making process: Even veteran sales professionals can be reluctant to ask about a prospect’s decision-making process, including others who may influence the purchasing decision. You have every right to ask these questions early in the relationship. Discounting without cause: If discounting is your go-to sales strategy, you’re telling prospects you lack confidence in the value you’re offering. If you’ve demonstrated your value, and you’ve built trust with a prospect, and you’re competitively priced, discounting shouldn’t be necessary. If it’s absolutely necessary, make a small concession that you can justify (e.g., reduced scope of a project or fewer bells and whistles on the product), so the prospect understands this isn’t typical. Only calling when you need something: Be sure you’re not only calling prospects when you need a sale. Good relationships aren’t one-sided. Read the news, and follow your customer’s industry. Keep tabs on what their competitors are doing. You should consider inviting your customers to any networking events or educational talks that they might find beneficial. Assuming you’re born with sales skills: Selling is a learned skill. It requires effort, discipline and a lot of practice — just like anything that’s worth mastering. Remember that failure often leads to innovation. Even if you don’t knock it out of the park every time, your team can still round the bases.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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