Whenever you meet new sales prospects be sure to focus
on establishing rapport and building relationships. Most
salespeople overlook the importance of these two
priorities early during the selling process.

Instead of reaching for your sales brochures try
reaching out to your sales prospects by demonstrating
your interest and curiosity about their business and
their customers.

Look, most sales don't happen during the first sales
call - so why even bother to attempt closing the sale.
You'll turn more heads and build better customer
relationships if you avoid doing these seven things.

1. Avoid selling too early. Gee, why does everybody
try to sell something during the first sales call? If
it's been your experience that 95% of your sales are
never made during the first sales call - you should
carefully consider what you’re doing during this first
sales call.

Just because your business card tells the world your
a professional sales representative is no reason to
start selling during the first call. It would be wiser
to use the first call to establish some credibility
and to start building a customer relationship with
your sales prospect.

2. Avoid talking too much. One of the most common
mistakes new and even veteran sales reps make is to talk
too much. Sure you were hired to sell. But where does
it say the true definition of selling begins with talking?
It doesn't begin with talking, it begins with listening.

Listening, more than anything else. It shows you're
interested in the person you're talking to. It shows
you're interested in his company. It shows you're
interested in his customers. It's easy to misinterpret
why somebody is talking too much. It's impossible to
misinterpret someone who is listen carefully to what
you're saying.

3. Avoid asking the wrong questions. Ask any sales
representative which is a better question to ask when
you want to get more information from a sales prospect,
an open question or a closed question - and the universal
response will be an open question - which of course is
the right answer.

In practice however most salespeople lead with closed
questions. For example: who is your current supplier,
what's your budget for (insert your product), how many
(insert your product) do you buy a year, I think you
get the picture.

And if that's not bad enough, how does it make you feel
to learn that almost all salespeople start with the same
questions? Well it shouldn't make you feel superior
to competitors.

4. Avoid forgetting to do the little things. One of the
quickest ways to grab a new sales prospects attention is
to do little things for him. Within 24 hours of your first
sales call you could send him an e-mail thanking him for
anything except his time - because that's what most salespeople do.

If you are able to schedule the second meeting during
your first sales call, you could send a personal hand
written note confirming your second meeting within three
days. You could also send a general interest article
(something you think she might like to see) within seven
days and including a note that says “F.Y.I - thought you
might be interested in seeing this.”

5. Avoid talking to the wrong person. The best advice
I can give any sales person is to start at the top of an
organization when you're trying to get your foot in the
door. Most salespeople do just the opposite because they
fear being rejected by the woman at the top. Most people
at the top, get to the top, because they are excellent

Sometimes the people at the top have more time to see you
than the people they are delegating to. If you start talking
to the wrong person, a person who is not a decision-maker,
and you begin to build a relationship, it becomes extremely
difficult to wiggle your way around this person to see the
ultimate decision-maker.

6. Avoid defending your price. During my sales training
programs I usually start by asking the salespeople to tell
me about their biggest challenges. Within 10 minutes I
usually hear about the dreaded price objection. What some
salespeople don't recognize is they are so afraid of the
price objection they usually bring it up first, without
even realizing it.

You can never win the price war by defending the price.
You win by explaining the value of the products and services
you’re selling. You win by changing the rules of the game.
You see most people will pay a higher price if they believe
they are getting a higher value. So always focus on the value
of doing business with you and your company.

It’s even better if you can quantify your value in dollars.

7. Avoid not having an attitude of gratitude. This is a
big one. Don't be too busy to say thank you. In your daily
sales effort, there are so many people you can thank along
the way.

You can thank the receptionist for getting you into see
the decision-maker. You can thank somebody in your customer
service department for helping one of your customers. You
can thank a sales prospect for placing his first order and
becoming a new customer. You can thank your customers every
time they place a substantial order with you and your company.

You can find out how long your sales prospect or customer
has been doing the work he’s currently doing and send him
an anniversary card every year. Now that would blow him

You'll build stronger and longer lasting relationships
with your customers if you avoid doing these seven
things. You'll also differentiate yourself from your
competition, because they're probably doing these things.

It takes time to build a strong relationship with your
customers. It'll take you less time if you avoid making
these mistakes. It'll also take you less time if you
really get to know what your customers need and want.

Find out why your sales prospects and customers need
something and you'll soon discover why they want it.

Author's Bio: 

"Jim Meisenheimer is the editor of www.startsellingmore.com a website focused on common sense selling skills based on practical ideas that get immediate results. You can get more information about his sales tips and selling strategies at http://www.startsellingmore.com/sales-tips-plus.html - Copyright: you may freely republish this article, provided the text, author credit, the active links and this copyright notice remain intact."