10 Obstacles to Sales Success

The first one is a double-whammy.

People don’t trust salespeople. Even salespeople don’t trust salespeople and worse, salespeople don’t know how to gain trust. You can read about the Trust Project here.

If you’re into statistics, Objective Management Group has evaluated over a million salespeople and found that the average salesperson has only 48% of the attributes necessary to establish a relationship. Furthermore, the evaluations show that there’s only a 6% difference between the top decile and the bottom decile.

I use the OMG sales evaluation with every new client as part of the coaching process. It appears to be getting worse. 62% of the salespeople that I’ve evaluated this year have issues with developing relationships and trust.


  • Lots of pressure to make quota.
  • Need to be liked or recognized as smart, intelligent or educated.
  • Gaps in communication skills.
  • Focused on process rather than development.
  • Focused on what the product can do rather than what the prospect needs.
  • Sales managers suffer the same issues.

And as a result, the prospect believes that the salesperson only cares about getting the deal done, regardless of whether it's right for the buyer and the salespeople don't even know they're doing it.

Let me share a couple of examples.

Tracy, a real estate agent, brought a prospect to see the house that we’re selling. While they were here, I noticed that there wasn’t much between Tracy and her customer. If she were my client, I’d wonder if she knew how to create trust and a relationship. As they were leaving, she said, “I’ll call you later with general feedback.” Her clients didn’t look at her or say anything…. She never called. So, did she ever intend to call? If so, why didn’t she and if not, why say it? My guess is that her clients don’t know if they can trust her and I know that I don’t.

Recently, a client asked for help with an email.

He suggested, “How are you feeling about bringing up a pilot to the administrators, in light of their desire for the other solution?”

I suggested, “What would you like me to do - help you sell a pilot of your idea or do nothing?”

See the difference?

Slow down. Take smaller steps. Let the prospect lead.

It’s hard to learn and it requires hand-holding. Usually for 3-6 months.

Come back tomorrow for the second obstacle to sales success.

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