TALKING SALES 87: Three classic sales mistakes

Sales mistakes2 700x400                      “Common mistakes when attracting, converting and retaining customers” – Interview by John Smibert


DylisIn this interview international sales and marketing expert Dylis Guyan makes selling sound easy. We just have to know the A to Z of the ‘Attraction, Conversion, Retention’ sales process and learn how to progress through those steps “with a healthy dose of inspiration and motivation thrown in”. She says it’s like driving a car – you have to learn the steps before you can drive.

She says that too often we hire the extrovert individual who presents well at the interview – we then train them in the A to Z of the product and the company – and then expect them to sell – and we wonder why they are not successful.

She emphasised that that there a three key mistakes many salespeople and business owners make when selling; 1. they give up too soon, 2. They talk about their company and product, and 3. They don’t deploy a strategy.

I asked her to come back and talk more about how to sell properly and to elaborate on those three mistakes in future interviews. She promised she would.  See her full interview below.

Dylis Guyan is based in Oxford, England and is an international sales and marketing expert, trainer, coach and speaker. She is also founder of the B2B Sales Academy.


John: Hello! I’m delighted to have Dylis Guyan with me – welcome, Dylis!

Dylis: Hello, John! I’m absolutely delighted to be here – it’s a real pleasure!

John: Here in Sydney!

Dylis: I know!

John: For the first time in your life!

Dylis: It is, yes!

John: And thoroughly enjoying it?

Dylis: Loving it!

John: Beautiful city, isn’t it?

Dylis: It is, absolutely.

John: For all those others out there, come to Sydney if you’re watching this internationally; it’s a great city. And I’ll put you on camera! There you go.

Dylis: [laughs]

John: Hey Dylis, I know you really are passionate about making it easy for people to learn how to attract prospective customers, and do it with ease.

Dylis: Yes, completely.

John: So many have trouble with that, particularly small business owners and salespeople.

Dylis: And that’s exactly it, John. You’ve got the business people who are passionate about their product or service, but most of them don’t know the exact steps of how to attract a client, convert them and keep them.

John: And I know for you and I that sounds pretty simple to do that, but it’s not innate in most people. They need to learn that as a process, don’t they?

Dylis: Exactly. It’s like you want to learn to drive, you can’t just jump in a car and drive; you have to learn the steps, and this is exactly the same.

John: So, you’re basically saying sales process is essential, and unfortunately a lot of people just don’t understand what a sales process is.

Dylis: Completely. And even with salespeople, what I’ve seen over the years – and I’ve been in this business many, many years – is that salespeople who are generally extrovert will do very well at a sales interview and get the job, then they get product training, but then they’re left to just do whatever they’ve done before, and often it’s not those strategic steps that will help them to convert that prospective client into a high-paying client who will give them repeat and referral business.

John: So what you’re saying there is that a lot of business owners and even big corporates will spend a fortune on making sure their salespeople understand their products inside and out, but forget to teach them how to sell.

Dylis: Exactly, exactly.

John: That’s sad, isn’t it?

Dylis: My passion is rather than leave the company to do the A to Z of the product training, my passion is to make sure people know the A to Z of the ‘Attraction, Conversion, Retention’ process, with a healthy dose of inspiration and motivation thrown in there.

John: Okay, and I’ve heard you talk about three key mistakes that people do make. What are those three key mistakes?

Dylis: Well, if I give you them in reverse order – and this is just my experience, as I said, from the many years of working with salespeople and business owners, selling to their businesses – in reverse order:

  • Number three is that they give up too soon.
  • Number two is it’s all about me, me, me, my company, my company, my company, my product, my product, my product.
  • And the first mistake and the biggest mistake is that there’s no strategy; it’s all tactics, random tactics that are absolutely wearing people out.

John: Dylis, I certainly have affinity with those three mistakes. I’d like to come back and discuss each one of those individually.

Dylis: Yes, great.

John: Have you got time to do that later?

Dylis: Yes, I’d love to!

John: Look forward to it – thank you very much for your time!

Dylis: My pleasure!

John: And the real message here is you need to go through a process to make prospecting easier, to get the prospects through the door to drive your business.

Dylis: Completely.

John: Look forward to talking about those three mistakes!

Dylis: Excellent – thanks, John!


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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

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