Being an alarm salesperson is hard enough without falling prey to easily avoidable problems.

In working with salespeople in the security industry for more than 20 years, I’ve seen eight common errors made by alarm salespeople. Here are my suggestions for avoiding them.

Fighting Fires Instead of Selling

Some salespeople focus too much on crises such as scheduling issues, installation issues, product issues and customer service concerns. Instead of getting help from others within the company, thereby making better use of their time, many salespeople insist on handling such problems themselves. It’s as if they don’t trust their own fellow employees to handle these often time-consuming tasks.

What to do: Trust company support personnel to do their jobs properly and spend your time on selling.

Not Enough Networking

Salespeople often move from one project to the next, leaving little time to concentrate on developing strong business relationships and referral networks. They leave little time to develop the personal relationships that will sustain their careers long-term.

What to do: Connect with people via social media and interact with them on those platforms. Join a networking group. Commit time to meeting regularly with others over breakfast, networking meetings, community events and social occasions.

Relying Solely on the Company to Provide Leads

Even the best marketing companies in the industry sometimes encounter problems generating new sales leads. The slightest blip in the company’s efforts can hurt your earnings and destroy your goals.

What to do:Allocate a minimum of 15 percent of your work time each week to developing new business. Learn how to use Internet tools and social media for lead generation and lead nurturing.

Failing to Qualify Prospects

Not everyone that expresses an interest in your systems or service is worth your time or effort. Some are tire kickers, some are people that can’t make buying decisions, and others have unrealistic expectations. All prospects are not created equally.  

What to do: Before pulling out all the stops ask the right qualifying questions to see if they are worth it.

No Sense of Purpose

Too many salespeople act like passengers in a crowded car rather than a driver setting a course that is uniquely their own. They lack focus and clearly defined goals — life goals, accomplishment goals, bucket list goals. Salespeople with a lack of purpose struggle to earn even a lousy living.

What to do: Define what invigorates you and gets your blood pumping. Do that one thing; do it to the best of your ability. Set learning, achievement and reward goals to keep you motivated and focused.

Looking Rather Than Selling

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates the average salesperson spends 19 percent of his or her time searching for and gathering information. That’s about 8 hours in a 40-hour work week. Most salespeople don’t have a simple system to find files and information. They spend hours looking for information that should be readily accessible.

What to do:Use YouTube to find and watch videos about filing systems that allow you to find things when needed.

Standing Still

The only self-improvement activities most salespeople receive are those initiated by their employer. Many act as though their learning and self-development stopped with college. By leaving their improvement solely up to others, they are refusing to accept responsibility for their own growth. Warren Buffett said that investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. The world is changing rapidly. The Internet has changed the world of selling and top producers refine their skills to stay abreast of all of the changes.

What to do: Spend two hours each week on professional skill and personal development.

Poor Conditioning

Nothing happens without a healthy you. Do you get eight hours of sleep every night? Are you eating healthy foods at regular intervals, or is lunch a Snickers bar and a can of Coke? How about exercise? Are you spending time each day on a sensible routine to keep you healthy with high energy levels?

 What to do: Make a commitment to regular exercise, eight hours of sleep and healthy eating.