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The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales:

2. Not Looking Customers in the Eye

By Steven J. Schmidt (2/16/09)

When you are trying to sell a customer a product or service, you have to gain their trust. The way to not gain their trust is to not look them in the eye. You will appear that you aren't confident in what you are trying to sell and that you do not believe in the product or service that you are selling.

This is far and away one of the absolute worse characteristics you could have in sales. There is really nothing worse, when a potential customer flat out does not believe in what you are selling. You could be giving away a $100 bills, and if the customer does not trust you, they won't even take them.

Making eye contact with customers shows that you are confident and believe in what you are selling. Most people base a form of honesty and trust off of that person looking at them in the eye. If you are not looking at someone in the eye, they'll think, "Why are you not looking at me in the eye? Do you even believe in what you are selling? Is what you are selling even genuine?"

For example, if you are selling cable service and you do not look at a potential customer in the eye, that person will question whether he can get all of those channels for the price you're offering. Since you are not looking a potential client in the eye, that customer may think you are blowing hot air up their you know what.

That is why salespeople get a bad reputation. A lot of consumers feel that a salesperson just wants to make a deal, and that they will do whatever it takes to make the sale.

I used to work with a great salesperson. He was the kind of guy who could sell milk to a cow; he was always had the most sales figures in my company. However, before he was on that plateau, he was nothing special. He was always a fast talker and could sell, but he would never look at a customer directly in the eye.

I remember going out with him into the field. He was once talking to this guy about a magazine subscription, but would constantly avoid eye contact. In fact, his eyes shifted so much that finally, the potential customer said, "Look, I am over here. I do not know why you are looking all over the place, but it's making me kind of nervous. Are you waiting for something or someone?"

My friend admitted that he had a bad habit of not making eye contact, so the customer said, "I was thinking about getting the newspaper. Plus, you seem like a nice guy. I am going to buy the subscription off of you and help you out. But here is a little friendly tip of advice. I have been in pharmaceutical sales for 20-plus years. You have to break your bad habit of not looking people in the eye. As I said, it made me feel uncomfortable, and it will make most of your clients feel uncomfortable as well, and you will not get nearly as many sales as you are capable of getting."

More from The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales

  1. Walking Away - 2/16/09
  2. Not Looking Customers in the Eye - 2/16/09
  3. Talking Too Much - 2/16/09
  4. Not Listening to Customers - 2/16/09
  5. Not Knowing Your Product - 2/16/09
  6. Not Being Organized - 2/16/09
  7. Getting Distracted - 2/16/09
  8. Selling Price Alone - 2/16/09
  9. Not Getting Proper Rest - 2/17/09
  10. Getting Flustered (Lack of Production) - 2/19/09
  11. Leaving Territory Too Quickly - 2/20/09
  12. Being Rude to Customers - 2/23/09
  13. Being Too Content - 2/24/09
  14. Maintaining Poor Hygiene - 2/26/09
  15. Pressuring Customers - 2/28/09
  16. Not Having Fun - 3/2/09
  17. Not Closing - 3/3/09
  18. Lacking a Powerful Introduction - 3/4/09
  19. Not Following Up With Customers - 3/6/09
  20. Not Having a Strong Mentality - 3/8/09
  21. Lacking Discipline - 3/10/09
  22. Not Handling Objections - 3/12/09
  23. Sounding Desperate - 3/14/09
  24. Having Poor Customer Service - 3/17/09
  25. Not Taking a Vacation - 3/21/09
  26. Misreading Customers - 3/27/09
  27. Lacking a Unique Sales Identity - 3/31/09
  28. Not Letting Yourself Be Known - 4/6/09
  29. Not Having Patience - 4/9/09
  30. Not Holding Yourself Accountable - 4/11/09
  31. Hitting on a Customer's Wife - 4/13/09
  32. Acting Like a Salesperson - 4/23/09
  33. Overview - 5/23/09

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