Sales mistakes - small business salesmen on a sales call working with the customers

 Sales Mistakes

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Marketing >> Marketing Principles >> Sales Mistakes

Top 10 Sales Blunders


If you have been in sales for long, you will find yourself banging your head at night over why you didnít get the contract when you were so sure it was yours.  

When that happens, itís often because of a mistake we made in the sales process.  We blew it!  Here are some of the most common ways in which salespeople destroy a perfectly good lead:

1) Running your mouth too much Ė Okay, thatís a bit harsh.  But itís the reality of the situation.  Salespeople love to talk.  Itís what makes us good at what we do but it can also be our biggest killer.  Sometimes, salespeople talk too much during the presentation and do not do enough listening. 

Bragging does not sell.  Convincing them that you understand what they want and that you are the best choice will sell.  Stop talking about yourself and your solution and let them tell you about their problem and what solution they want.  When you are talking, you arenít listening.  And when you arenít listening, you arenít learning.  Let the customer tell you what will make the sale.

2) Letting the customer take the lead Ė When you have a dominant customer, itís hard to cut them off at the pass.  But unless you do, youíre sunk.  The best way to stay in control is to keep asking questions.  Believe it or not, when you are asking important questions, you are come across as the expert. 

3) Not doing your research ahead of time Ė When you only have a few solutions, research sounds obviously not necessary.  If someone needs assistance at home, they need assistance, right?  Not so! 

Your research should include time talking with the customer on the phone.  If they are making multiple phone calls and certainly a few days later, they are not going to remember everything they told you.  You will already have a head start on the sales process because you listened and you pretty much already understand the situation.  Then itís just a matter of repeating back what you already know and filling in the gaps by asking questions.

4) Being unprepared Ė Most salespeople have learned to keep base materials in the car or in a briefcase where they will be available.  That way, when you are sitting in front of the prospective client, you have the materials that you need instead of having to apologize for leaving what seems to be quite obvious back at the office.

Simply put, you cannot show what you do not have.  Testimonials can work to your advantage.  But they come across much better if they can be read instead of you telling the customer what everyone thinks about your company. 

Most customers are forgiving of this kind of situation, but sales are often won by just the smallest margin.  If your competitor comes to the door fully prepared and you do not, that may mean the small percent that you will lose by. 

Consider putting together a checklist of the items that you will need regardless of the kind of sales call that it is.  Another distinct advantage of doing this and keeping the materials with you in your car, you are prepared for those impromptu presentations that sometimesÖ just happen. 

5) Not asking for the sale Ė This seems like a ridiculous notion and it will be the rare salesperson that consciously decides to not ask for the sale.  Sometimes, it will be justified with, ďI donít want to put too much pressure on the customer.Ē Nonsense!  No sale has ever been lost by asking for the sale.  This doesnít mean that you should be obnoxious of course. And there are dozens of ways to ask for the sale.  Just pick one that makes you comfortable and sounds natural.  ďI have all the documents here that we need to get started.  So if you will go ahead and authorized this, I can have our people here this Friday to get started, fair enough?Ē

6) Giving information that is completely irrelevant to the sales process -  As one client put it, ďI donít want to know how the car works, I just want to know where to put the key.Ē  Keep it simple unless they go there.  Offering information on how you started your business is not important. 

7) Stopping the prospecting function Ė When business is good, many people start ignoring the prospecting end of things and just work the sales that are on the table.  Itís tempting because you reason that the more time you spend on selling vs. prospecting, the higher your income will be. 

Donít forget the pipeline.  While you may have sales that close on the same day that you receive the lead, this isnít always the case.  The more complicated and costly the solution, the longer the pipeline.  Keep prospecting to keep future customer going into the pipeline.

8) Knowing when to close Ė Salespeople sometimes think that if they keep talking, they will hit the button that makes the customer stand up and scream, ďLet me sign it now!Ē  This rarely happens.  

Instead, it is much more likely that you will give too much information and confuse the customer, or give them information that otherwise hurts the sale.  In one such incident, a lady looking for home services for her mother was convinced that she was talking to the right company until the salesperson started talking about other customers.  She didnít appreciate this and changed her mind.

9) Talking about controversial subjects Ė If you want to alienate your potential clients, bring up subjects that people feel strongly about and assume that they think just like you do.  There are certain subjects that your customers will bring up too.  This relationship will not get off the ground if you go there. 

Subjects that should be avoided at all costs:  Other customers, religion, politics and politicians, and situations that are social hot-buttons.  This isnít the time or place and you really arenít going to make any conversions here anyway.  Donít bring them up and if asked for your opinion, you can simply state that you separate work from personal opinions.  And stick to that.

10) Take sides in a family argument Ė Do this and you will be out the door in a heartbeat.  It may seem that you are being pleasant and agreeable, when in fact, the other person just wants to vent.  Sometimes an adult child can be on a completely different page than the parent.  If you take one side, you loseÖ simple. 

Give it back to them, let them figure it out, present your company and if they arenít going to work things out and it affects the decisions they are making, suggest that you call back and find out which way they went. 

Marketing >> Marketing Principles >> Sales Mistakes





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