June 19, 2012 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: closing, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Industry Spotlight - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, negotiating
There are other trouble spots costing you business that have nothing to do with the economy.
Here are eight of the biggest sale busters:
- Failure to create a buying environment. Some salespeople go into an appointment preoccupied with what they want to sell. Prospects usually pick up on a salesperson who is only thinking of making the sale. Top salespeople focus attention on the prospect and what they can learn. They recognize that thinking like a prospect means getting in tune with their needs and aligning the product or service to the prospect’s agenda and best interests. When the customer feels secure and in control, the selling environment is usually established.
- Lack of follow-through. When it comes to lost sales, failing to follow through is near the top. Nothing turns prospects or customers off faster than salespeople who fail to live up to their promises. Once a prospect sees a compelling enough reason to buy now, the focus shifts to building a long-term relationship. Follow-up is a great place to start. Trust must be earned and re-earned. One slip on your part — a broken promise, a false claim, a breach of trust — and you risk losing more than a sale. You may lose a heard-earned customer.
- Failure to sell their company, not just themselves. Top producers know that the company behind them is today’s key to success. As important as the individual salesperson is to the sale, the role of the company is increasing. Prospects want to know who they’re doing business with. They don’t want to make a mistake and be left without service and support.
- Failure to maintain patience. Since most sales cycles are moving more slowly and prospects won’t make a decision until they have to, it’s important not to press the prospect too hard. Salespeople who push too hard or jump to solutions before they know the problems usually don’t get the sale. Top salespeople cultivate prospects by keeping them informed, staying in front of them in a variety of ways, never pressuring or pushing and always sending the message that the prospect is in charge of the sale.
- Failure to understand educated prospects. Prospects are more educated about business problems and the effect of their buying decisions on the company’s bottom line. They are more analytical about all their purchasing decisions, usually basing them on the strengths of the salesperson’s solution to their problems. Some salespeople are so focused on what they want to accomplish when they make a presentation that they don’t discover what motivates the prospect to buy. If you aren’t perceived as helping prospects get to their goal, getting an order is difficult.
- Failure to ask enough questions. Some salespeople think that telling everything they know is the way to impress prospects. Usually it isn’t. Asking questions may be a more effective way to show interest and knowledge of the prospect’s business. By asking questions they help prospects develop the right comfort level to do business with them. Prospects usually trust salespeople who listen. Selling today is no longer a matter of being on great terms with the prospect or overcoming objections. More than ever, it’s a matter of trust.
- Failure to create excitement in the prospect’s mind. Whether the purchase is routine or unique, small or significant, the prospect should experience buying as a “high” moment, an upbeat event. Picture in your mind how you want the prospect to feel once the order is signed. Getting the order is everything to you, but the experience may be different for the prospect who may begin to think about the transaction and develop doubts about the decision. The goal is to have prospects believe that they have made the best possible decision. If the prospect feels any letdown once the sale is made, there may be trouble ahead. The task for the salesperson is to make certain the prospect feels good about buying.
- Wasting prospects’ time. In today’s tight market, saving time is the prospect’s highest priority and a salesperson’s most valuable asset. Show prospects you understand their situation by being highly efficient. Presentations should be about asking questions to learn where prospects need help. They should also be about demonstrating your clear understanding of their problems and the ideal solution for helping them resolve each one in a timely manner.