1. Thou shalt not covet specific customers. Too many entrepreneurs get fixed on winning specific accounts that they become emotionally attached.   You pin all of your hopes, dreams and company on that…one…special prospect.  Here’s a tip I learned the hard way: don’t. Think instead about the overall quality of your sales funnel and your business plan. “Build it right and it will come”.

2. Know the science behind your product, solution, and service cold. That is a start but not enough anymore.  What do you know about your prospects industry? So many entrepreneurs are absolutely “bullet proof” on their “stuff” but lack basic knowledge of a day in the life of their prospects.   Tip: It helps your credibility and you will certainly differentiate yourself from your competitors.

3.     Slow down. I mean literally slow down! It is not necessary to tell your prospect everything on the first call.  It is really not that impressive and frankly, they are probably tuning you out.  Sales calls are a delicate balance between educating, informing and building a relationship.

4. Every entrepreneur thinks they’re just so fabulous because they’re friendly, funny, intelligent and charming.  Reality check?  You are really not that special.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Get over yourself quickly. Tip: Being Mr. Personality is not going to separate you from the herd over the long term.

5.     Do not bad mouth your competition. It is the first sign that you are an amateur.


Devin Hughes is a former college basketball player, sales and marketing aficionado, keynote speaker, part-time academic and frequent eclectic thinker.  He draws on a variety of ideas, disciplines and trends to inspire “Big Thoughts” and facilitate conversations.  He is best known for his expertise in selling best practices, sales strategy, sales training, leadership development and sales coaching.  He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world.  A graduate of Colgate University, he lives Carlsbad, CA with his wife and four daughters.  You may contact him via e-mail at devin@devinchughes.com. Follow him on Twitter.  His website is: http://www.devinchughes.com/ He is also a featured blogger on http://www.upstartnation.biz.  He is available upon request for consultation.