Everybody makes mistakes. It’s a natural part of life. But there are some mistakes you should only ever make once – especially sales mistakes where there’s a lot at stake. Read our top 5 most common sales mistakes to avoid, and learn from the errors of others to save yourself some pain.
As a salesperson, it can be easy to focus so much on what you’re going to say that you fail to remember how important it is to listen. When it comes to communication, the ability to listen is just as important as your pitch, if not more so. Churning out information without acknowledging feedback only results in mindless selling that isn’t tailored to the specific customer. Worse is the hard-sell approach that listens, but disregards what the prospect has to say. This results in game-changing phrases like My budget is X or I’m not the decision maker being completely overlooked, potentially wasting your pitching process completely. Take the time to listen and adapt your approach to match.
Withholding price for too long
A classic sales mistake made by those new to sales, withholding price for too long only fuels curiosity and eventually resentment of the sale. Imagine going to a restaurant and being shown a menu followed by a few example dishes for good measure, before having the rug pulled from beneath your feet when you realize all the food is way out of your budget. One of the best ways to avoid this is to sense when the prospect is interested. As soon as you hear buying signals, tell them what they want to hear. To avoid being in a position where you can cost out the prospect in the first place, target the correct market. If you’re on talking to the right kind of customer, you reduce the risk of price-shocking your buyer.
Answering questions you don’t understand
We’ve all winged it. The office is loud, you’ve asked them to repeat themselves three times, and it’s only a downward hill of awkwardness from here. That or they’ve asked you a question you genuinely don’t know the answer to. The easy way out, you might think, is to just run with it. Don’t. Best case scenario is you make something up that the prospect will call you out on there and then, which will probably harm your chances of closing. If you’re really unlucky, you’ll scrape by, but it will eventually come back to bite you much further down the journey, wasting even more time and energy in the long run. Your best response is to note down the query and find an answer after the call. Earn their respect with a well-researched and considered answer.
Pitching to the wrong person
This one is understandable – but once you’ve made this mistake, it’s unlikely you’ll make it again. Getting past the gatekeeper is a vital part of the sales process, but doesn’t always mean that whoever you speak to next is going to be the decision maker. Don’t waste your pitch on someone who doesn’t want to hear it, or can’t even do anything about it. It’s your job to identify who it is that you need to speak to, and to work out how to reach them. When you’ve got the right ears pricked, pitch to your heart’s content.
Put simply, don’t lie. No one likes a bolshy salesperson that’s all talk, so make sure anything and everything you offer can be delivered. Go one better and flip that sentiment on its head. Under-promise and over-deliver and you’ll automatically begin to show your value to your prospect, which will always help to lead to a close. If they want something that you can’t deliver, honesty is always the best option. Disappoint them now and they’ll appreciate your honesty. Disappoint them later and the sale will fall through your fingers in an instant.
Knowing how to sell is about more than just technique. It’s about knowing why you take the approach you do, and tailoring it to individual prospects. Common sales mistakes to avoid include anything that has the potential to turn the prospect off. From over talking and under informing to making up answers – honesty is always key. Though you might think you know what the prospect wants to hear, at the end of the day, if your product is any good, the truth should do just fine.
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