In the past, businesses built their reputations on common practices and principles, like great service, competitive prices, and high-quality workmanship. In today’s marketplace, those things are still important, but by themselves, they’re not enough to set you ahead of the competition. Today, you have to make your customers want you and your products, so they pass the word, and better yet, come back for more. Here are some things that may be sabotaging your business.

First, if you’re relying on outside salespeople as your sole source of sales, you’re not marketing your business effectively. You should use a wide variety of sales techniques, such as online, social networking, and even downloadable applications for mobile devices. You should base your techniques on the dynamics and potential of your customers.

Motivating your sales force by pay or commission. In the glory days, this technique was effective because there was enough business for everyone, and it gave your sales force incentive to make more money. In today’s marketplace, however, few employees are motivated strictly by money, so this tactic is outdated and should be eliminated.

Next, if you’re not training your salespeople how to be effective sellers, you’re doing your business a disservice. On-the-job training may have worked in the past, but today, sales people need to know their jobs, how to close sales, and how to hit the job running. You need effective and reliable training to maintain the best sales force to keep ahead of your competitors.

Finally, if you’re hiring your salespeople because you have a “feeling” about them, they may not be the right person for the job. You should look for someone who has sales experience in your industry, but you should use tests, skill assessments, as well as referrals to find the best salesperson for your business. If you hire someone that pleases you, they may be better at buttering up the boss than closing sales deals.

These are all ways to shoot your business in the foot, so take a good look at your sales practices. If you fall into any of these categories, change your business strategy to make it stronger and more successful.

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