Having been involved in sales and sales training for the last 30 years, I have seen some major changes in both buyer habits and sales skills usage. The economy, the type of product or service you are selling, the demographic you are selling too and the cost of the product are among the many factors that affect the type of sales interaction that should take place. Sales training continually ranks very low on the list of business expenditures, however it is probably the most important factor in the success of your business, and one of the most tracked and analyzed areas of measurable data a company has.
I have put together a list of the 5 most common mistakes a salesperson will make and how to avoid them in future interactions. They are certainly not a replacement for continual and effective sales training, however they might resonate with you on a recent lost sale.
1. Calling on the wrong person is something we have all done, and it results in a waste of time and effort on your part. I used to call on whoever I could reach at the company, or the person I met at the networking event, and found that it was very counterproductive. Sure, we can consider those people “influencers” however simply asking the question, “are you the decision maker?” or “will you be the person signing off on this?” will get you further.
2. Relying too much on the web and social media to sell for you is a trap that a great number of companies are still trying to get out of. All we hear about today is how we need to be online. Online is no substitute for your direct selling skills. Online tools are an important part of your marketing mix designed to create awareness and help the potential client move towards contacting you.
3. Dropping your price to meet the customer’s expectation of value is a killer. By dropping your price, you have simply created a new selling point for future negotiations. Hold your price; increase the perceived value by adding something additional on, an extra month of coverage, free delivery, 30 days additional warranty, some small inexpensive accessory.
4. Selling an “opportunity” is far different from selling to a “need” and will usually result in rejection. Don’t assume that because you have uncovered an opportunity for a sale that the client has a definitive need at this point in time and has to purchase from you. For every solid sale potential there are thousands of tire kickers.
5. Overselling or continuing the sales pitch just because you are uncomfortable with the pregnant pause to allow a prospect to consider the options and come to a decision, could end the interaction prematurely. Uncover the need, assist the prospect by suggesting a product, describe the features it has that satisfy the need as well as identify the benefits to them. STOP. Let them consider it and watch for a buying signal!
All of these mistakes are preventable, sales training to continually upgrade skills and competency levels are an investment every business needs to consider. These skills are tools of the trade. Are your skills up to par, and more importantly, would you buy from you?