Last year my local paper reported this story:

A 32 year old man driving a two–door Bentley (not the type of car that goes unnoticed) stops at a red light at 2 AM in the morning with a police cruiser immediately behind him. When the light turns green the Bentley accelerates to 186 KM/H in a posted 50 KM/H zone, (that’s approximately 116 MPH in a 30 MPH zone!) into oncoming lanes and then, remarkably, stops at another red light … allowing the officer to catch up with him, charge him, impound his car and suspend his licence.

The ultimate in stupidity, right?

While not as far along the crazy scale as this Bentley driver, I’ve witnessed all kinds of “seller insanity” this past year. To assure your ongoing success, I thought I’d share my list of the seven most common acts of stupidity so that you avoid them in 2016 and make it a year of smart selling, not dumb deeds.

My top picks for acts of seller insanity in 2015:

1. Believing you have no time to think or prepare.

If you seriously believe this then get out of sales! The sales pro that makes time to think deeply about, and prepare for, each sales interaction from the customer’s point of view as well as from their own, not only stands apart… they speed up the sales cycle.

2. Repeating self-serving prospecting messages multiple times and expecting a response.

OK you may get the “cease and desist” response with this approach. But that’s not the result you’re aiming for. Personalize your messages based on what you know about my world and what’s important to me. Use multiple delivery methods and ALWAYS contribute something of relevant value by my definition.

3. Dropping your prices unnecessarily.

Dropping your price may be the easiest, and frankly laziest, approach to closing the sale. << Tweet This

But know that you’ve now set an ongoing expectation. And good luck hanging on to the client whose # 1 buying criteria is the lowest price. Do your homework and position your pricing in context of the buyer’s priorities to avoid succumbing to price pressure.

4. Relying on the imperfection of customer specs.

Customers provide limited information to their vendors based on what they believe you need to provide a relevant recommendation. If you want to win, you always need more and you can’t always rely on the buyer. Your role is to use multiple resources to fill in the gaps and to obtain the quality of information that your competition leaves on the table.

5. Wimping out on asking tough questions.

As an example: you’ve been asked to bid, the customer says he’s open to change, but you know that he has worked successfully with a competitor for years. Have the necessary conversation. Get clear on “why and why now” they would consider a switch…or not. Don’t be blinded by the possibility. Uncover if, and why, it’s a probability.

6. Believing the sale ends with the contract.

You’ve worked hard to win this account. So plan to keep it. Inertia delivers your clients directly to your competitor’s back door. << Tweet This

Have a process for constantly assessing your client’s evolving expectations, and keeping them informed of relevant changes in your company’s offering.

7. Multi-tasking to be more efficient.

Think you’re super-efficient because you’re able to scan incoming e-mails while on the phone to a customer? More like super-dumb. Last year, when call shadowing at client sites, I observed reps miss vital information shared by customers over the phone because they were being “efficient.”

Put this craziness on your “Stop Doing” list now. And make 2016 a sales year to remember.

Good selling!