No matter what activity you do, whether its playing an instrument, playing golf or conducting sales meetings. You will make mistakes. Your experience and ability to reduce or even eliminate those mistakes will determine your success level in said activity. Don’t make a habit of these because they surely will make you look like an amateur. Lets take a look at some of the most common sales pitfalls that can be easily avoided.
- Not asking good questions– Your prospect or client demands you to be an expert and to know the solution inside out. That means you must be well versed in their business activities whether it be in finance or human resources. You need to understanding their day to day challenges and be able to ask intelligent questions to uncover the pain. If you don’t do this you are not relating to the prospect and simply wasting their time.
- Not asking for the commitment– You did all the work and you are almost there! But wait, you what? You didn’t finish the job?! I’m certain that if you did a relatively solid job of asking smart questions, uncovering the client’s needs, and then presenting sensible solutions to their issues, that they would be interested in hearing about the next step. So the next step doesn’t necessarily mean “sign the contract”. But the next step or the “next step commitment” could be the okay to do a full assessment or for the client to do a 30 day no obligation test drive of your product. Every situation is different and that means that pressuring a prospect to make a buying decision on the spot isn’t always the right judgement call. But if you don’t ask for the sale or the next step, you are asking for the opportunity to get stale.
- No agenda- When you come to a meeting prepared you take control of the situation instead of the prospect leading the way. If you show up with an outline and share it with the prospect in the beginning of the meeting they will recognize that you are a professional that has done this many times in their career. Don’t let a meeting get out of control and put you in a tailspin from the onset. Show up prepared and confident to lead the process so that you get the results you were looking for.
- Selling on price alone- If you focus on beating the competition on price alone you will cheapen your image and take away from the value you seek to create. Instead go back to conducting a thorough sales process in which you ask great questions and uncover the deep pain your clients or prospects are suffering from. By taking the time to evaluate properly and crafting a customized program to fix their problems you are no longer making the discussion all about the price. If you show real value and fix the biggest issues plaguing your client, you will win the business and make the profit you deserve.
- “Showing up and throwing up”- You must have seen this in your life before. A potential customer invites a sales person into their office for a meeting and the sales person simply shows up and spews a bunch of garbage at the prospect that may or may not be relevant to the situation. Amateur sales people do this all the time. They think they are being invited to conduct a first meeting presentation and must “sell their asses off”. Wrong. You should never present or sell in the first meeting. Why would you? You don’t know as much as you need to about the client and their situation. You have to interview them, ask intelligent questions and listen to what challenges they are having. You can’t just expect to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Next time, just bring a notepad and pen, knowledge of the business and the eagerness to undercover issues and listen to possible opportunities to help out. After the meeting you can then craft a solution and schedule the follow up meeting to present a plan.
- Not enough shutting up and listening- Similar to the last mistake, not letting your client’s voice their pain points. Don’t be the sales guy that overpowers them. You are a consultant, an expert in your field. You are there to offer wisdom and advice to help them conduct business in a more efficient and cost savvy way. You have to let them talk about the poor experiences they are currently having and what is important to them. If you let people reveal the real issues that make life tough, they will like and trust you more. They will see that you care about them and that you actually are genuine about possibly helping improve their situation. We have been blessed with two ears and only one mouth. Keep the talking ratio about the same and see your results improve.