Recently a customer of mine asked me to come up with a list of common mistakes made by salespeople so that she could hand it out to their sales team. I decided to keep it simple and limit the list to ten, which I have called The Ten Deadly Sales Sins.
10: Driving all Day
Spend the minimum amount of time travelling and the maximum amount of time prospecting or closing deals. Divide your area into manageable chunks and work each smaller area on a specific day each week. Only deviate from this plan where there is a very good reason such as collecting a certain sale.
9: (Really Cold) Calling
First impressions count big time. Prospect’s care about their business and not yours so have enough research done so that you can talk to them about their business. This will allow you to start to win their trust from the off. You need to stand out from the crowd and convince that your offering will add value to their business and customers
8. Falling Down on Follow Up
Call your customers or drop in to see if there are any more opportunities and that current service is up to scratch. Send out some e-mails informing of latest developments or new products and follow up with a call. Speak to old prospects to see if their circumstances have changed. Selling is about building relationships; relationships are based on communication so make sure you follow up.
7: Painful Presentations and Dull Demonstrations
Let me start by saying the amount of presentations where I have retained information and which were in some way memorable I can count on one hand. There tends to be a general consensus that they are a necessary evil. In my opinion, this is not the case and they are often used as a bad sales prop and contain reams of irrelevant information. Good presentation skills are difficult to master so that average seller should limit time spent presenting and increase time spent selling. When evaluating your presentations and presentations skills ask yourself “ What is the presentation adding to the meeting?” and always ask this question from the point of the person or persons receiving the presentation. If you’re average meeting is one hour and your presentation takes up half, could some of this time be better spend doing something else? How much of the information do people actually want to hear? A simple rule to apply when presenting is far less tell and much more interaction.
6: Stalling Your Sales Engine
Selling is all about the seller managing opportunities so that each action or conversation produces positive forward momentum ending in sales. Set yourself minimum and maximum objectives each time you talk with a prospect and always achieve in between. Ensure next steps and agree timeframes no matter how small. Let stalling be your biggest enemy and attack with all your sales might.
5: Losing Track of Time
Time is your greatest resource, be very greedy with it. Ask the question “ Is this contributing to my sales?” for every action you do and for every conversation you have. If this answer is no, you need to change what you are doing or start having a different conversation.
4: Rejecting Referrals
Referrals are by far one of the easiest ways to get good quality leads. I’m often asked when is a good time to ask for referrals. “Is it when you just made a sale?” “Is it when a prospect is really happy with the quality of back up and after service?” Of course these are all good times to ask but really the very best time to ask for referrals is “now”
3: Running Scared of the Close
The close is a reasonable request at a reasonable time. At best prospects say “yes” and at worst they say “no” and even then you can still change their mind. Ask the question “Can we do business?”
2: Not Getting to Know Each Other
You know why your product is special and can talk about all its valuable features. The prospect knows what makes their business special. To convince a prospect that your product will add value to their business you too need to know what makes their business special. How do you this, you ask lots of questions to find out. Take the time to find out about what’s important to them and what makes their business great. Only then will you be in a position to demonstrate how your product will make their business even better.
1. Alarming Attitudes
With the right attitude and energy nearly everyone can learn the skills required to become a seller and forge a successful and lucrative career for themselves. However even today sales are still viewed in some quarters as a stopgap career move. Some companies too add flames to this fire by tossing away underperforming new hires at rate of knots. Its time these people and organisations woke up to the fact to be successful requires proper training, correct company supports, a varied skill set and most of all a professional attitude on behalf of everybody involved.
Niall Devitt is a sales training consultant with Real World Sales Training web:www.realworld.ie. He has worked as a Sales Manager and Sales Trainer in the Insurance, Finance, Telecommunications and IT industries. He has trained salespeople to sell into the residential, B2B and the Irish Public Sector markets .He has trained people to sell products ranging from finance to search engine technology software and pocesses a broad experience of developing training in sales techniques, account management, presentation skills and new business development.