Sales is an increasingly competitive game, and there are plenty of ways a sale can go wrong.
In order to close the most business possible, you need to examine every step of your sales process and ensure you’re making the most of every opportunity.
To help you out, here are seven of the biggest mistakes salespeople make and how you can avoid them:
1. Listening Passively
Your most important job when you’re speaking to a customer is listening to them. If you’re completely driving the conversation and talking the whole time or constantly thinking about the next thing you’re going to say, you’re not doing enough. Instead, ask your customer plenty of questions and pay complete attention to their answers. Do everything you can to discover their needs, both the ones they mention and the ones that they don’t.
2. Wasting Time With the Wrong Contact
It’s important to research each company before you make a sales pitch. This includes knowing who you’re speaking with, what they do, and where they are involved in the purchasing decision. Speaking to somebody who only has an ancillary position in the process isn’t an efficient use of time unless they’re a gatekeeper to a more valuable contact.
Of course, this isn’t to say that finding multiple contacts is a misuse of time. In fact, the more contacts you have in an organization, the better equipped you are to make the sale. The key is to make sure that they’re all relevant to the purchasing decision.
3. Taking Time to Follow-Up With Organic Leads
If a lead is generated organically, reaching out to them immediately needs to become your number one priority. Waiting too long to respond could potentially cause you to lose the sale. Research shows that organic leads go cold very quickly. Your chance of closing the sale is 20 times greater if you’re able to respond to them in five minutes or less. If you aren’t dropping everything to respond to these customers who are ready and willing to make a purchase, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
4. Following a Boilerplate Selling Process
A decade ago, the Harvest Business Reviewsurveyed purchasing decision makers from over a hundred large companies in North America about their biggest pet peeve with salespeople. By far, their largest complaint was the inability to follow their specific buying process.
You need to pay close attention to the processes your customer already has in place. If you don’t completely understand their buying process, ask them questions about it. If you’re able to fit your sale into their process, it makes it much easier for them and improves your chances of closing the deal.
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5. Jumping the Gun
Trust is difficult for salespeople to earn immediately, so you don’t want to ask questions that are too personal or sensitive right off the bat. Instead, let your conversations develop and give prospects the chance to volunteer that information themselves. You also don’t want to start talking about price too early. If the price is too high, it could lead to sticker shock, scaring the customer away. It’s also important not to offer a discount too quickly, or else you unnecessarily forgo higher margins.
You also don’t want to start talking about price too early. If the price is too high, it could lead to sticker shock, scaring the customer away. It’s also important not to offer a discount too quickly, or else you unnecessarily forgo higher margins.
6. Offering Only One Call-to-Action
Typically, you’ll have an initial discussion with a prospect and then push for an additional meeting, whether it’s over the phone or in-person. This is good for many prospects, but not everybody is ready for such a large commitment just yet. In fact, many B2B purchasers will begin the process very early, simply looking to gather information in the early stages.
These could become very valuable sales several months down the line, but you could lose them if you’re not careful. Instead, offer these prospects a smaller commitment, such as a newsletter subscription or an information packet. Get them whatever information they need and keep in contact occasionally. When they’re ready to purchase, you’ll be glad that you nurtured the relationship in the beginning.
Instead, offer these prospects a smaller commitment, such as a newsletter subscription or an information packet. Get them whatever information they need and keep in contact occasionally. When they’re ready to purchase, you’ll be glad that you nurtured the relationship in the beginning.
7. Spending Time With Anyone Who Listens
Selling can be taxing, especially when you are rejected over and over again. If you spend time selling to anybody who’s willing to talk, however, you could be wasting time on the wrong lead. Focus instead on high-potential leads, even if they’re difficult to crack. It’s harder work, but the reward is much greater.
It’s often difficult to change your habits and know if you’re making a mistake in the first place. But, by tweaking your sales process to avoid the common mistakes listed above, you’ll convert more opportunities and generate more revenue.