Sales mistakes are unavoidable. Every salesperson, regardless of their industry or experience, makes them. Luckily, the art of selling can be learned and perfected, just like any other skill.
Avoid making these 7 biggest sales mistakes, and you’re likely to see a significant increase in the number of deals you manage to close.
1. Sounding like a salesperson
The first blunder most salespeople make is by sounding too sales-y. In other words, when they manage to get their prospect on the phone, their first greeting usually sounds something along the lines of:
- ‘Hi there! I’m calling to talk to you about Product X!’
- ‘Good morning! How are you today?!’
- ‘Hello! I’m calling from Company Y!’
As soon as the prospect hears the rehearsed sales pitch, they’re going to automatically put up their barriers. Once that’s happened, you’re going to have a tough time breaking through.
Try to keep your greeting as natural as possible, like you’re speaking to a friend or family member. Be genuine and you’ll increase your chances of keeping your prospect on the phone long enough to close a deal.
2. Being too aggressive
The aggressive salesperson is every consumer’s nightmare. Instead of allowing the prospect time to think or guiding them towards the product that is best suited for their needs, the aggressive salesperson pushes to close a sale as fast as possible. This leads to unhappy customers who avoid contact.
Instead of forcing a sale on a prospect, give them time to reach a conclusion themselves. Your job is to guide them and to discover their frustrations and needs, so that you can point them towards the best solution for them. Give them the information, let them know you’re available for questions, and give them some time to consider their options.
3. Not practising urgency
The other side of the coin is being too relaxed about closing the sale. Although you don’t want to push prospects too much, you also can’t be afraid of giving them a little nudge in the right direction. Otherwise, they’re likely to just forget about you and the sale will be lost.
Don’t just leave the ball in the prospect’s court and make sure that you always establish a clear next step. Tell them if you don’t hear from them by a certain date, you’ll contact them again. Create a sense of urgency in order to keep the ball moving.
4. Being unprepared
One of the biggest sales mistakes you can make is to be unprepared. When a prospect is asking you questions and trying to get more information about your product, you’re halfway to closing the sale. But, the result could go one of two ways, depending on how prepared you are. If you give knowledgeable, helpful answers, you’ll successfully build trust with the prospect and encourage them to invest in your product. On the other hand, if you’re caught out and don’t have the answers, you run the risk of appearing unprofessional and uninformed.
Take the time to learn your product well. You’re the company’s ambassador, so you have a duty to know your company history, your product specifications and, most importantly, the benefits of using your product.
5. Not looking from the customer’s perspective
As a salesperson, a crucial part of your job involves identifying the needs of each prospect. Unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to slip into the habit of reeling off your latest product’s features without stopping to think if it’s even relevant. A product-focused speech will not get you very far and is more likely to put off any potential leads.
Instead of reciting a prepared sales pitch, you should focus on having a genuine conversation with the prospect. Only once you know exactly what they need can you offer them the best solution. When explaining it to them, focus on the benefits they’ll get, not just on the product features.
6. Offering only one call-to-action
A lot of salespeople slip up by not giving their prospects any options. They take an all-or-nothing approach, proclaiming ‘Buy My Product Right Now!’, which is very rarely effective. The truth is, some prospects are not ready to convert straight away, but in a few weeks or months, they will become customers.
Give yourself the opportunity to develop a relationship with the prospect, and give them the opportunity to convert on a smaller scale. For example, getting them to sign up for a newsletter, download a free resource, order free samples or other smaller conversions can all lead to a main conversion in the end.
7. Not nurturing relationships
Some salespeople assume that they can close a sale from just one meeting or phone call. Unfortunately, that is rarely how it works. Instead, customers need to be guided through the buying journey, and this involves regular engagement and relationship nurturing.
Contact Relationship Management (CRM) software is the best way to keep a track of all your customers and where they are in the sales pipeline. The number of businesses using CRM software increased from 56% in 2012 to 74% in 2016, so it’s safe to assume more people are realising the worth of building stronger relationships with their customers.
Have you ever made any of these sales mistakes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.