Sales people who drift through their career with no real success find that there are always excuses for not getting new business. Just through sheer oblivion to opportunities around them, they manage to plod along with an income that may barely get them above poverty level or provide a mediocre living. They are sales Zombies!

According to Senior Market Advisor, a BenefitsPro sister website, here are 7 signs that you might be turning into a sales zombie:

  1. You no longer ask high-value qualifying questions. Asking questions takes too long, and you'd rather spend your time talking about your product–so let's not waste time. Besides, prospects won't tell you the truth anyway, so it's better just to move past this step.
  2. You launch into your sales pitch as quickly as possible. Telling is selling, and if you're not talking about your product you will lose the sale.
  3. You make quick assumptions about your clients and prospects. You think, "They said no last time, so I won't call them today," or "They can't afford our product."
  4. You use the same sales pitch with every customer. You have refined your pitch, so why should you change it? It's been working just fine. Besides, no one has complained. Plus, you're closing about 20 percent of your sales opportunities.
  5. You frequently refer to the "good ole days". Yeah, nothing like the good old days when you could take a prospect out for lunch and close a deal over a few beers. Or you could make a few calls and reach your quota. Times have changed but you haven't.
  6. You don't seek clarification. Prospects and customer don't always clearly articulate their thoughts, but that doesn't matter because you understand everything they say.
  7. You don't listen for underlying clues. Many people say one thing but mean something else. If you're not listening for those nuances and underlying clues, you are missing sales opportunities.

This is a pretty common experience which most likely you also have experienced: being confronted with a sales robot, someone unable to go it without a script or pitch, someone with no personality, asking the same questions or regurgitating the same thing over and over regardless of what you want. This person is a sales zombie.

There are two simple things sales professionals can do to begin to understand true success in sales that awaits them when they truly grasp the power of persuasion, according to sales expert Kenrick Cleveland. The first is to create rapport with your prospect. In old fashioned sales training, found in huge quantities in retail settings such as huge chain stores, suggest a brief 'how's it going?' type of greeting. This is absolutely not rapport.  Rapport is pausing briefly on how the client/customer is doing, but really getting to the heart of the matter . . ."So why are we here today?" Why are they in the store? "What will having that do for you?" What will the product or service you provide do for them? "Ultimately, what will having this do for you?" The key is to really listen. LISTEN. Don't push your agenda. Don't try to give them whatever it is you need to sell that particular day unless it will truly fulfill their needs. If you're in real estate and you understand your potential client is selling their house move into bigger one because their family is growing, well, you're not going to sell them a smaller house, are you? No. You're not going to sell them a condo with one bedroom. You're going to keep their needs in mind, combined with their values and criteria and view the inventory that you have with these in mind. It seems obvious, doesn't it? And for higher end sales professionals, it is obvious. But for some, it's not.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.