Episode Forty-Two

3 Destructive Sales Mistakes and Ways to Avoid Them

Guest: Amy Volas, founder and CEO at Avenue Talent Partners

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About This Episode

You’ve mastered your pitch but what about active listening or taking the focus off yourself?

We’ve all experienced cringeworthy sales behavior. And many, if we’re honest, are guilty of it.

Cringe-inducing tactics make prospects want to get away. And the salespeople who practice them get burned out. Why? Well for one, they don’t understand their “why”.

And as Amy Volas joined us on this episode of the Sales Engagement Podcast to point out, many sellers commit 3 highly destructive sales mistakes.

Amy is the Founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners, a zero-cringe recruiting company dedicated to helping businesses hire proven sales performers.

Sales has always been Amy’s first love, and there is no one better to highlight the traits that make the meaningful connections needed to close deals.

The 3 Sales Behaviors that Destroy the Chance of a Deal

Amy Volas Sales Mistakes You Get What You Put In

1. No upfront work to understand the prospect

It’s very obvious to a buyer when you have not done any work up front to understand why you’re coming to them.

First and foremost, you need to understand who your buyer is. Do some homework to connect the dots between where they are and what you’re selling. You don’t have to have a full report on the person, but the best sellers at least stay on top of the overall marketplace their buyers are in. 

Amy recommends using LinkedIn, Navigator, Nudge, and tools like DiscoverOrg to learn about your prospects before getting into the tactical outreach.

2. It’s all about you and nothing about them

It’s so clear to a buyer when you couldn’t care less about anything happening in their world and you just want to get them through your process. The best salespeople are naturally curious about what’s happening in their buyer’s world.

3. You don’t listen to what they are telling you

When what they’re telling you is going in one ear and out the other, when you’re just going through your pitch script, you’ve lost the amazing opportunity to make a meaningful connection.

Trait #1: Empathy

Empathy plays a huge part in avoiding all of these sales mistakes. It’s all about making connections. Technology is very helpful but it is no replacement for human connection. The easiest way to have empathy is to keep in mind you are dealing with another human (with whom you really want to do business). 

It goes back to the foundation of why you are doing sales in the first place. Do you believe in what you are doing? That’s how you’re able to exude that you care. You need to want to understand the how’s, why’s, and what’s of your prospect. It’s not always about their pain points; sometimes it’s just about what’s important to them.

Amy Volas Sales Mistakes Genuine Curiosity

Quick Side Note: How to Make Empathy Scalable?

This all sounds great for enterprise sales when you have time to spend on each prospect and lots of research available. But what about smaller startups? How do you make empathy scalable when you have high numbers to hit?

Amy says it goes back to the way a sales team is set up and incentivized. When the pressure is put on activities that promote the icky behaviors, empathy is easily squeezed out of the process.

Amy Volas Sales Mistakes Incentivize

It can be more about what’s happening in their market. You can ask, “Is this a priority for you? This is what’s happening in your market, and here’s how we’re helping solve it.”

You should try to personalize as much as possible, but a chat as simple as that can be put into a cadence.

Trait #2: Integrity

This is fairly straightforward. You either have a moral compass or you don’t.

There are two key concepts Amy holds to when it comes to integrity:

1. The golden rule

It’s about reverse engineering. If you were on the other side what would give you the cringe factor? Do you want to be that person? How would you want to be treated instead? What would that person look like?

You ask those questions, figure out who that person is, what he or she looks like and model yourself after that person. There are lots of people that take shortcuts and, eventually, shady behavior always comes back to bite you.

2. Don’t do the things that will haunt you

Let everything you do be informed by how you’ll feel when you go to bed at night. You can even be “hardcore” as Amy says when it truly comes from a loving place. When you truly want to do the right thing, and you lead with that foot, success always follows.

Bonus: 3 Ways a Sales Applicant Shows They’re a Great Candidate

Lastly, Amy nailed down 3 things salespeople can do to make themselves stand out as successful, trustworthy candidates.

1. Being able to tell your story

It’s not enough to connect the dots between yourself and the job; you need to know your story well enough to communicate it succinctly and dynamically.

2. Applying what you hear

Really pay attention to the person interviewing you. Weave in the information they share with you as you explain why you’re interested in the position.

3. Treat the interviewer how you’d treat a prospect

This is Amy’s number one piece of advice. At no point in the interview is the interviewer not asking:

  • “Do I like this person?”
  • “Would I want them on the team?”
  • “Do I feel comfortable putting them in front of my customers?”

Regardless of how comfortable the interviewer makes you feel, don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t say or do with their clients.

The best way to get in touch with Amy is through her website AvenueTalentPartners.com or via LinkedIn by searching Amy Volas.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Amy Volas founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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