TALKING SALES 96: “The 3rd biggest mistake in sales”

persistence                      “Does persistance pay?” – Interview by John Smibert


DylisIn this discussion international sales and marketing expert Dylis Guyan submits that sales mistake number 3 is “giving up too soon”.

Dylis says that this mistake is particularly prevalent in the way many salespeople prospect for new customers. They try to make one contact and when they are knocked back they give up and move to the next prospect on their list.

Dylis referred to research that emphasises that persistence is essential – and without that persistence the salesperson is leaving the prospects for their competitors.

See her full interview below to understand this issue better and learn what you need to do about it.    In our next two discussions with Dylis we will discuss her 2nd and 1st classic mistakes made by salespeople.

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 here again with Dylis Guyan!

Dylis: Hi, John!

John: Welcome back, Dylis!

Dylis: Thank you!

John: Hey, last time we had a discussion about the fact that a lot of people, a lot of salespeople, business people and so on, really don’t understand how to drive prospects and get new prospects to grow their business, and you mentioned three mistakes. Now, the first mistake, or you said the third mistake, we’re going to cover them down, is ………?

Dylis: ………….Is giving up too soon!

John: I know the problem there, I’d seen that problem many times where you’ll pick up the phone, identify a really good target prospect, pick up the phone or send an email, and you get no response, so you move to the next one.

Dylis: Yes, that’s right.

John: You’re saying, “Hey, don’t do that!”

Dylis: That’s right, because when they say ‘no’, it’s not ‘no’ forever; it’s “no not just right now”.

John: Or it could be, “No, I don’t understand the value of what you bring to me, and I really don’t want to waste my time if there’s no value there.”

Dylis: That’s right, yes. And again, and maybe we’ll talk about this later, the approach is often very wrong too.

John: Yes.

Dylis: But just dealing with the giving up too soon, I see people will send an email, make a phone call, they get a ‘no’, and they move on to the next person on their prospect list. The problem with this is that they become downhearted, they become frustrated, they’re starting to feel a failure, and it really impacts on everything that they do. It’s really crucial that they have a multiple contact strategy. If I could just give you a short example of this…

John: Yes, please!

Dylis: About 10 years ago I was asked to a conference in America by email. Now, that would’ve cost me a flight, it would’ve cost me a hotel and everything else; there’s no way that I would’ve said yes to that just from one email. But that was then followed up with another email, I then got a direct mail piece, a letter, then I got a postcard, and then I got a phone call, and each time I had that contact from the company, it sort of made me lean forward, because it was all about the benefits to me and how I could grow my business by attending this conference. In the end, ~in that six~ contact, I made the decision to go; in fact, myself and my husband went, so we paid for two flights and all of the associated costs.

John: Yes.

Dylis: And then following that, I read some research that said that only 2% of sales are made on the first contact, and it’s between the 5th and 12th contact that decisions will be made.

John: I’ve seen other statistics that show that it’s about five approaches, on an average, before you get the first meeting with a potential client.

Dylis: Yes, yes.

John: So, you need to do those five, or more.

Dylis: That’s right, that’s right. So, if you were just doing two or three, then potentially you’re leaving all of that business on the table for your competition to come along and pick up, because you’ve started to get that prospective client to think about it, but you’ve walked away too soon.

John: And we’ll talk a little later about some of the things you need to think about in that second, third, fourth and fifth contact, right?

Dylis: Yes, yes.

John: With a strategy, but the real key message on this discussion we’re having for everybody to remember is don’t give up on the first, make sure you have a plan where you’re going to have multiples, and you will if the prospect is in your target prospective area and they have the need, you will generate a desire to have a discussion with you.

Dylis: Absolutely right – yes, completely right.

John: Great advice. Thank you very much, Dylis – I look forward to discussing number two!

Dylis: Perfect – lovely to talk to you again, John!

John: Thanks, Dylis!


Other discussions with Dylis:


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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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