The 7 Deadly Sins in Sales

Letting the Prospect Lead

When prospecting, there are 7 deadly sins salespeople make. To help you, in the next coming weeks, we’ll be going through a series on these seven deadly sins.

This week we talk about the mistake of letting a prospect lead. This is deadly because every minute spent waiting for a prospect to contact you presents an opportunity for them to grow cold.

It’s a common misconception that if prospects like what you’re offering, they’ll automatically purchase. Although many do, there are still a number of people who need a little shove to get things going.

Dr Cialdini, author and expert in marketing, calls this the psychology of persuasion. In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” he describes buying habits and how salespeople can convert prospects without luck or magic – just pure science.

Spending over 30 years studying buyer persuasion, he put his findings to six main principles. Let’s take a closer look at those principles:

Principle 1: Reciprocation

This principle acknowledges that people tend to give to those who have given them something first. They feel so grateful for the gift that it compels them to reciprocate the gesture.

When prospecting, give something to your leads for free. It can be a sample or an Ebook, the science is to be the first person to make the gesture.  Give them something of value and they will feel compelled to give you something in return, like a sale perhaps?

Principle 2: Commitment and Consistency

This principle recognises that we tend to stick to brands that are committed and consistent in their approach.

When prospecting, be consistent in your pursuits. People are inundated with calls, e-mails and other matters. The average person makes 35,000 decisions per day, you don’t want to be caught up at the bottom of their thoughts.

Don’t wait for a prospect to contact you when they’re ready, rather let them know you will call them on a specific date to follow up.

Principle 3: Social Proof

When unsure, we tend to look to our peers for an opinion. Things that are popular, trending and endorsed make its way to our hearts.

Unless your prospects were really interested the first time, they won’t go out of their way to find information about you.

Share your success stories, testimonials and credentials with all prospects. These provide social proof for your brand as people will think, “If they had a good experience perhaps I should give it a try too”.

Principle 4: Liking

We tend to say “yes’ to people we like. Often times people buy because they identified similarities with themselves and the brand.

Try to be your prospect’s friend without pushing any boundaries. Build your relationship around common interests and you will soon convert the lead.

Principle 5: Authority

Did you know that people actually like authority? Research shows that people like those who take charge.

Show your authority by subtly leading the prospect to a sale. Ask for the sale, don’t wait for them to hand it to you.

Principle 6: Scarcity

We tend to link scarcity to quality. We think because something is exclusive it must be good.

Create exclusive deals and then remind your prospects about them. This beats sitting and waiting for a prospect to call you.


One should never wait for a prospect to lead a sale, if anything, the six principles teach us that prospects want you to reach out to them.

One thing to note is to be wary of becoming annoying. There is a fine line between the two and many do not know the difference. Your best bet is to partner with a lead generation company that has already figured it all out. If you would like to discuss this further, we are only a call away. Get your free consultation here.

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