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November 8, 2022

The 4 Biggest Mistakes That Seller-Doers Make… and How to Fix Them

In the 10+ years I’ve been working with seller-doers in our industry, I’ve observed a number of common behaviors that impact sales. Negatively! Behaviors that the vast majority of seller-doers exhibit. Behaviors that are actually pretty easy to change and in doing so, would significantly help them to be more successful.

Behavior 1: Writing Lousy Prospecting Emails

I’ve written about this topic on several occasions, but these bad emails boil down to two things:

  • Not doing any ‘homework’ on the email recipients, blindly sending emails out to anyone and everyone you can. The result? Most of these emails go to people who don’t need or want what you’re selling.
  • Making the email all about your firm and the services you sell. Frankly, the buyers don’t care about what you can do, they only care about what you can do for them.

For these emails to work, you need to refocus them on the buyer… not yourself. Talk about the problems you solve, not the products you sell. Stop pitching… start helping.

Hint: these same rules also apply to sending messages through LinkedIn.

Behavior 2: Showing Up and “Throwing Up“

Happens all the time! You work really hard to get a meeting with a key sales prospect… and they finally grant you access. But when you show up (in the room or in the zoom) you just start talking and talking. And talking. About what your firm does and how awesome you are… and frankly, they don’t care! [Yes, this is a recurring theme.] They already know what you do or they wouldn’t have invited you in for a meeting.

To fix this, do one thing… learn to ask good questions. Uncover their needs, challenges and frustrations. Then based on their answers, you can respond with ideas, information and services that will help them. That’s what they really want and need from you.

Behavior 3: Focusing on Finding New Clients

It seems that when most businesspeople think about ‘sales’ – they think about finding new clients. And that’s OK, but it should not be your priority.

Take a look at your client list over the past several years. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by the number of clients you’ve lost. As sellers, we assume our good work will keep them coming back, but we stop there and don’t do anything else to build loyalty. Then slowly, over time, we lose clients… and we lose track of them as we move on to other clients and projects.

Do yourself a favor and focus your sales efforts in 2023 on keeping and growing your current client base. Then, after that is secured, go find some new clients to add to the mix. That is how you build a healthy and sustainable business.

Behavior 4: Lousy Follow-up

When you meet a sales prospect at a conference how often do you follow-up to try to schedule a meeting? Or after your first meeting, trying to get a second? What about following up after you deliver a capabilities presentation? Or once you’ve sent a proposal?

The answer in nearly every case is ‘not often enough.’ We drop an email or two and when we don’t get a response, we assume that they’re not interested and just move on. And that’s simply wrong.

Because you have no idea what’s happening in the life of the buyer – personally or professionally – it might take two times, five times or 10 times to get a response. Your job – as the seller-doer – is to stay in touch until you get an answer. [Even if the answer is “no.”]

Be persistent, consistent and friendly. Use a mix of emails, phone calls and LinkedIn InMails. Change-up your messaging, too. And all touches do not have to be related to the sales process. For example, sharing an interesting article still keeps you top-of-mind.

Seller-doers often fail because they simply give up too soon. But the smart management of your time (here’s where a CRM and calendaring system pay dividends) help you to stay in touch for as long as you need.


Being a seller-doer is hard work. Serving two masters (business development and operations) is no picnic. So, as you wrap up 2022 and start thinking about your business development efforts next year, now’s the time to improve your current selling behaviors. And we hope this article gets you started down that path.

Good luck and good selling.


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