If you’re in sales, chances are you’ve made a mistake or two. We all have. It’s part of the learning process. But some mistakes can set you back and cost you dearly in terms of time, money, and missed opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll share common sales mistakes and how to fix them so you can avoid costly pitfalls and close more deals!
Sales Mistakes to Avoid
There are many potential sales mistakes that a person can make. Some common mistakes include: not taking the time to understand the customer’s needs, not communicating effectively, not following up after the sale, and not staying in touch with customers.
Top Selling Mistakes and How to Prevent Them
1. Too slow in responding
Customers often look at multiple solutions to their problems as business moves quickly. You could lose a sale if you don’t keep up with the pace.
Nate Tower of Perrill, a marketing company with between two and five sales reps, says that nothing kills a deal quicker than slow response times. We were the fastest to respond, and we have closed deals. We’ve lost deals because someone else responded quicker (or, more precisely, because we didn’t respond fast enough).
Tower advises you not to worry about how customers perceive you when you respond quickly. “Some sales reps believe they should not appear too eager to respond or too fast because it makes them look busy or desperate. Tower assures you that he has never heard of a deal being lost due to a sales rep responding too quickly.
It’s fine to tell your customer you will need to get back to them. “Even if your answers are not complete, acknowledge receipt and give a brief update on when the prospect can expect a more detailed reply. Tower says, “But don’t wait to reply!”
Include your contact frequency in your productivity KPIs if you manage a sales team. Keep an eye on them.
2. Not explaining the problem you solve
Marketing advice can also be applied to sales. For example, frame your offer to solve the customer’s problem. This best practice was mentioned in many of the responses to our survey.
Prospects must understand why your solution is the best and most cost-effective among all the options. Most prospects have researched and know what they need before reaching out to a sales rep. The standard one-pitch-fits-all approach no longer works because most prospects already know what they want.
How do you figure out your unique solution? To offer them a simple, valuable solution, you must first understand their situation and problem. Bell explains that prospects are not interested in the bells & whistles of what you have to offer — they want to know the benefits.
Take notes on positioning to feel confident when presenting your solution. First, you should be able to explain the benefits of your product to the client clearly. This can be overcome by familiarizing yourself with your products to ensure you are confident in your claims. Examine your products professionally to find faults. Bailey suggests doing the same for your current competition.
The bottom line is to get to know your audience and your product and then use that knowledge for your offering and customer needs.
3. Use the same approach in all sales
If you are the type of person who sets up routines and workflows for every aspect of work, you could fall into the trap by focusing on the same angle for every sale. It’s easier to follow the same steps for every sale than to be more successful.
Milkwhale’s Andre Oentoro, a marketing agency that employs two to five sales reps, stated, “If you have a standard sales pitch for every client, it will likely end in your favor.” Every client is unique and requires different solutions and methods. Using the same template for every deal will make your client seem cold and uninterested.
What are the different solutions and methods Oentoro is referring to? Personalized ones. It is important to get to know your client and adapt your methods accordingly.
A generalized approach to a potential client can lead to a loss of business. Remember to tailor the offer and approach to each potential client. They should feel special about the deal. If you have the same approach and pitch for everyone, it will not allow you to grow.
This doesn’t mean that you have to start over with every prospect. Keep a list of talking points for different customer types and use them as a starting point. Be flexible and efficient.
4. Talking rather than listening
It can be easy to get caught up in talking about your product when trying to close a deal. It is important to balance talking and listening with your customer during the sales process.
Andy Brown, a Vye marketing agency with two to five employees, says, “It may sound old school, but I believe it is still the most important selling practice.” Listening to your customer and getting to know their business will allow you to engage authentically with them and help you understand their needs. You can truly differentiate yourself in a world of automated forms and questionnaires by having a good, old-fashioned Q and A session.
Brown points out that good listening skills can help you personalize your approach to each deal. Brown explains that a great listening session can give you amazing insight into how to communicate the opportunity to your team best and solve the problem for your customer.
LegitGrails is a professional service that employs two to five sales reps. Nikita Chen, Nikita Chen, points out that listening can help you negotiate prices and direct your conversation. “We have been tracking the conversion rates of our sales staff and trying out different communication techniques. This helped us realize that it is best not to talk after the price has been set and to let the customer lead the conversation. Chen explains that they will eventually talk and that they can help you direct the conversation in your favor.
5. Aggressive Approach
Although traditional sales advice advises us to push our products whenever possible, this mindset can backfire. Sales professionals in larger industries advise against being too aggressive.
Louder Online’s sales team, which included six to ten sales people, taught Aaron Agius not to overdo it when trying different sales methods. “Unfortunately, sales aggression is a common belief. However, this is not true. You’re probably doing sales wrong if you have to force people into your business. Don’t let impatience get in your way. Respect your buyer’s needs and time. You’ll always get better results if there’s something you really have to offer,” Agius advises.
Melanie Musson, professional service with more than 10 sales people, believes balance is the key to success. Too much pressure can cause your client to become disinterested in the deal. However, you might not close a deal if you don’t apply pressure. Musson explains that it is a delicate balance, but it is important to master.
The client and the moment will determine the right level of offer-pushing. Musson explains, “Your focus should be on the customer so you can read their responses and lower the pressure at appropriate times.”
6. Failure to Plan Ahead
You and your customer should be aware of all steps in the sales funnel. This is where a sales funnel dashboard comes in handy.
Mehvish Patel, Zen Media’s marketing agency with six to ten people on its sales team, explained it this way: “One common selling mistake that kills potential deals is not having a plan to move forward after the first meeting. It is important to have a plan to present to your potential clients from the beginning.
CocoFinder’s Harriet Chan, a SaaS company with more than 10 sales pros, says that a solid sales plan includes a lot of follow-ups. A “For example, if you make the first contact and are excited, but they don’t buy it, you should do follow-ups.” Chan explains that it is important to keep in touch with prospects as part of a lead nurturing program to close a deal. “Sales isn’t a one-and-done activity.
Chan continued, “The number and quality of communications that sales pros make can vary, but one thing is certain: failing to follow-up is failing to sell.” It would help improve your follow-up and sales processes by creating a priority plan.
If your sales team follows up with customers often enough, your phone and email numbers should reflect this practice.
7. Speaking about your prices too early
Customers want to know the price of your product before you sell. However, it is possible to justify a price not within their budget with the right value. This is another important balance to keep in sales.
Michael Robinson, Cheap SSL Security, a company with six to ten sales staff, says that “in my opinion, your prospect cares about two factors: price and value.” Before presenting your prices, you must first articulate your value by defining their problem. Cost is not a concern if there’s no value. Therefore, no price is too high if they have a compelling problem or want.
You must be careful. “But, if a prospect asks for a reduction or additional service, you have brought up the price too quickly, which can lead to unethical bargaining. Talking about pricing is not the time to project your concerns and values onto your prospect. Robinson explains that each prospect has a different point of view.
8. You missed the first meeting
Your first meeting is crucial when trying to establish a client relationship. You could lose the deal if you miss that first meeting.
Alex Birkett, Conversion.AI’s SaaS, says that sometimes lowering friction when it comes down to booking a meeting can lead to a loss of potential meetings. Conversion.AI has two to five salespeople. “When someone signs up to a demo or trial, but they receive a link to their calendar to set up their times, it can reduce attendance rates (and sometimes, they don’t even book in the first place).
What should you do instead? “My ideal sales approach is to chat immediately with them via live chat or jump on a meeting almost instantly. Or, more likely, to send them a personalized email to convince them of the value and expectations of attending the meeting. Birkett recommends this method, although it takes more effort.
9. Assuming that you have the deal
The sales journey isn’t finished once you have a contract or purchase. Some sales representatives become complacent and lose the opportunity to nurture a lead into a sale.
Let’s listen to Aquino Farmer, ZeroBounce’s SaaS company with six to ten sales pros says it this way: “A common practice that can kill potential deals is taking the sale.” Too often, salespeople treat a demo or inquiry like someone interested in buying. This is not always the case, I’ve discovered.
Farmer suggests that you allow time for discovery to identify the pain points and offer a solution. “It’s important to include multiple decision-makers during this discovery process because decisions are usually made amongst a group. It won’t be easy to reach an agreement without involving everyone. Farmer concludes, “Stand out by including everyone in your conversation and showing that care.”
10. Pitching too soon
It is tempting to rush into the business when you first meet a prospect. But, take it slow.
Khabeer Rockely, a sales trainer and coach at The 5% Institute, is often seen with clients pitching too soon. This professional service has two to five salespeople. Your potential client will begin to question whether you believe what they are saying. Rockely describes it as “playing roulette.”
When is the best time to start pitching? Rockely says that it is best to leave your presentation until the end. After you have collected information about the client’s pain, desired outcome, and budget, and then propose a solution to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to go,” Rockely says.
If you’re making any of these sales mistakes, it’s important to take steps to fix them. By doing so, you can avoid costly pitfalls and close more deals!
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