It’s the bad dream that keeps salespeople from falling asleep.
You finally get a meeting with the perfect prospect.
- You show up… Late.
- You can’t find your presentation.
- You have no wifi connection.
- You start babbling and asking dumb questions.
- You leave in shame, without a signed contract.
Every rep has made sales blunders. They’re the stuff after-work cocktail conversations are made from.
With today’s long and complex sales processes, the likelihood of making mistakes is greater than ever. With so much at stake, unforced errors that kill deals are something salespeople want to avoid.
The good news: With the right training, preparation and coaching, most serious sales errors are preventable.
Here are some of the most common mistakes salespeople make along with what you can do to ensure they never happen to you.
1. Asking dumb questions
There’s no such thing as a dumb question, right? Not if you’re a salesperson asking a prospective client about something you should already know. In other words, if you can find the information on the internet, you shouldn’t ask about it.
Examples of questions to avoid include:
- What does your business do?
- How many people work for your firm?
- Where do you do business?
Clearly, these things can easily be found out by visiting a company website, checking out its social media (especially Linkedin) or doing a Google search. Asking about them makes it clear you haven’t done your homework. It’s a waste of a prospect’s time and shows that you don’t care about them.
How to prevent this: Do research prior to meetings. Learn everything you can about prospective customers and their businesses. Your knowledge will impress them and the meeting will be more productive and fruitful.
Take it a step farther: Look for clues and trigger events that could help guide your conversations. It might be a change in leadership, sale or acquisition or new product launch. It will give you an “in” to better position your product or service.
2. Talking to yourself
Do you spend too much time in sales meetings talking about your experience, your company and the products and services you sell?
Are you taking too little time to get to know your prospects, the goals they hope to achieve, issues they face and problems they want to solve?
It likely makes you come across as self-centered and disinterested. It also contributes to boring sales presentations.
Nobody enjoys being “talked at.”
How to prevent this: Make sales meetings open and honest discussions between you and prospective buyers. Take time to ask enough questions to get to know them and their needs. Then step in to respond to what you learn, explaining how you, your business and its solutions could help them out.
A good rule of thumb: During initial sales calls, allow buyers to talk approximately 75 percent of the time or more. You should speak for 25 percent of the meeting or less.
3. Trash talking your competitors
Of course, you need to compare your firm’s product and service offerings to those of your competitors. However, that doesn’t give you a right to talk bad about other companies and the people who work for them.
Be careful when you discuss the competition. Prospective buyers may have a relationship with — or is interested in — one or more of your rivals. Saying negative things about them could be a turn-off. On top of that, spending too much time talking about other businesses could leave too little time to discuss yours.
How to prevent this: Prospective buyers look for reasons to buy from you. They don’t care as much about arguments against purchasing from someone else. Reserve your discussions about your competitors to a comparison between the features and benefits of your solutions and their’s.
Tip: If possible, tailor your competitive comparison to things your buyers care about. Don’t water down your competitive advantage with too much useless information.
4. Objecting to objections
Of course, buyers will be critical about the solutions offered by your business. They may not see the value for the price. Maybe they don’t understand how they’ll solve their specific problems. Perhaps they don’t “get” the benefits.
Whatever the reason for an objection, failing to clearly and calmly address it to the buyer’s satisfaction will kill the deal. If they have concerns or if they lack information, they won’t do business with you.
How to prevent this: Make sure your sales presentations are complete and provide all the information needed to completely explain your solution and how it benefits the buyer. Develop a list of frequently asked questions that will help overcome common objections. Practice your sales pitch prior to using it with real prospects. Encourage the people you practice with to come up with questions and objections. It will prepare you for the real thing.
Tip: A sales enablement system like the one offered by Mobile Locker gives sales reps access to the information they need any place, any time to help answer questions and overcome objections. This includes videos, diagrams, virtual demonstrations, and collateral — anything it takes. A small investment in it will be paid off many times over with more closed sales.
A salesperson who lacks confidence won’t close deals.
- Do you use terms like, “ummm, you know” or “the thing is” too often?
- Do you find yourself looking down or scanning the room?
- Do you slump in your seat?
Using too many filler works, not maintaining eye contact and having poor posture signals that you don’t believe what you’re saying.
How to prevent this: Training, practice, and feedback will help you feel more confident when you present to prospects. The old saying is true: Practice makes perfect.
Tip: Mobile Locker’s sales enablement system delivers sales training to reps on-demand. It can help you prepare for sales meetings — whether you’re planning months ahead or in the parking lot before walking in the door.