8 Signs You May Be on Sales Auto-Pilot

The other day I was driving on a local highway to visit a client. I usually take one or two specific exits when I use this highway and I ended up passing the exit I actually needed to take because I wasn't paying attention.

I couldn't help but chuckle as I turned around at the next available exit and retraced my route because my finely-tuned auto-pilot had caused a similar situation just a few days earlier (no, this was not a senior's moment!).

However, my mistake got me thinking...

How often do sales people end up in auto-pilot mode? I suspect it happens more than most people think.

Here are 8 signs you may be on sales auto-pilot:

  1. You follow the same sales call schedule. "Oh, it's the third Wednesday of the month. That means I should call on these accounts." If you find yourself falling into a pattern like this, there is a good chance you are in auto-pilot mode.
  2. You leave the same voice mail message. "Hi Ellen, it's Bob Henderson calling to see if you're ready move forward with the proposal I sent you." Or, "Mr Jones, Susan English calling from Big Technology company. We specialize in...I'd like to schedule some time with to discuss how our products could benefit you."
  3. You still "check-in" with people. If you're in the habit of checking in with existing customers or even new prospects you definitely need to reconsider your approach because it demonstrates lack of creativity and your prospects and customers expect more from you.
  4. You automatically offer a discount when someone raises a concern about price. I shudder every time a sales person automatically drops their price when faced with price resistance. Sales people who are in auto-pilot tend to resort to this mode of selling faster than their colleagues usually because they think it's the fastest and easiest way to close the sale.
  5. You attend the same networking meetings/events every month. Many networking functions fail to product tangible results yet many sales people keep attending them. They lose sight that one of the objectives of networking for sales is to attend the right functions and they end up going to events where they are comfortable or where they have established friendships with other people.
  6. You follow the same routine every week. Habits are difficult to break and we tend to get comfortable in our weekly routines. If your weekly schedule is starting to look like it's been copied from the previous week, it's a clear sign that you are in auto-pilot sales mode.
  7. You deliver the same sales presentation. Regardless of what you sell and how long you have been selling that product or service, every sales presentation needs to be different. I have been delivering sales training workshops for more than 16 years and I have never delivered the same program two days in a row nor have I prescribed the same solution for two clients.
  8. You neglect the basics. I have long-believed that fundamental sales strategies are still effective, even in today's every-changing world. Yes, you need to embrace technology and social media. Yes, it is more difficult to connect with decision makers. And, yes, there are more people vying for the same business. But basic concepts such as regular prospecting, the ability to ask good discovery questions and establish rapport as well as being able to anticipate and effectively manage objections are still effective.

Shifting into auto-pilot mode can affect a sales person's results and not in a good way. When you move in auto-pilot, you lose your effectiveness. You do yourself and your potential customers a disservice. And most importantly, you miss out on valuable sales opportunities


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