Success Can Come From Avoiding Mistakes

Not making mistakesAs depressing as it sounds, often times the key to success isn’t doing things correctly, it’s avoiding mistakes.

While it might seem to some that merely avoiding mistakes is setting the bar low, often times it will differentiate one salesperson from another in a client’s eyes and will lead to a sale.

A recent article in Inc. Magazine set out to outline the “7 Deadly Sins of Sales Pitching” with the help of author Oren Klaff.

Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm, said that he agrees in principle with the concepts of the piece but that he felt a number of the tactics were misguided.

One in particular was the advice about not being “too nice.” Klaff said that he often goes into a pitch and puts a slide on the table and when a person picks it up, he takes it away, saying that they will look at it later.

“All of a sudden you’re seen as a peer or slightly superior,” he said. “It conveys status. It builds intrigue. It says, ‘I’m not here to beg for your business. I’m the prize.'”

However, Riddleberger said that such behavior would get a child scolded, so why should an adult act in such a manner?

“Taking a presentation slide out of someone’s hands is rude, regardless of the situation,” he said. “You don’t grab. I teach my children not to do that. Adults should know better.”

Another of the tactics that Riddleberger said he disagrees with is to create a phony time constraint. Klaff says that he’ll often go into a sales meeting and say that he has to be out of there by a certain time, even when he doesn’t. According to Klaff, this can make a salesperson seem important.

“I would recommend that you set the start and stop time for the meeting in advance so you don’t have to walk in and surprise them with a hard stop in an hour,” the CEO said. “What if things go well and they invite you to stay longer? If you stay, they know you lied. If you conveniently moved your schedule, they’ll still know.”

Riddleberger also cautioned that setting up a false time constraint is apparent to most experienced business people and can potentially backfire by making one seem dishonest.