9 common mistakes preventing you from achieving outstanding sales performance
Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2015
The longer you are in the field, the more experience you will gain in sales. Over time, not only will you be able to fine-tune your process but get rid of some bad habits that have been preventing you from reaching your true potential. However, it is worth noting that there are times when even senior reps find it difficult to indentify mistakes and tactics that do more harm than good in the long run.
Keeping in mind the saying “if you are green you grow and if you are ripe you rot” and assuming that if you are reading this article you consider yourself still green… I have listed below 9 common mistakes that I see over and over again preventing great sales people from winning deals and achieving outstanding sales performance. I trust this will be a good check-list to assess the quality of your craft and help you get back to performing at your best.
Being too dependent on the sales pitch or presentation
There are many salespeople who tend to make the terrible mistake of spending countless hours on their sales presentation or pitch. They become dependent on these presentations and pitches and end up losing awareness when it comes to vital buying signals. The presentation or pitch in question is not as important as you being present yourself. There is no doubt a presentation can help, but becoming increasingly dependent on them will keep you from seeing what is important and who the decision makers are in the first place. Be ready to bin your presentation if you realize that clients need something different to understand how you can add value to their company and to them personally.
Not asking the right questions
Salespeople only tend to fail when they do not ask the right open, probing and confirming questions. They miss out on important opportunities where they can build trust with their customers simply as they do not wish to ask all the hard questions. This only tends to happen due to a lack of training or confidence when it comes to communicating with the client. The best sales conversations happen when your questions put the client outside of his comfort zone without crossing the line beyond which he turns defensive.
Rather than thinking about yourself, ask your customers what they think about the issue they are trying to solve, the possible solutions and the value that these may generate. Once you get the answers to these questions, you will be able to discuss your product, its price and why it’s the best tool to answer the client’s needs. In this way you will gain credibility and respect, earning the right to be a commercial partner.
Closing deals using free trials
Companies which offer free trials suffer from massive cash flow problems due to the investment of time and money needed to see them through. Instead of relying on free trials every time, come up with better strategies to close deals. If you collaborate closely with your marketing department, you should have plenty of references, insights, case histories and proof of concepts that are scalable and efficient to allow the client to feel and experience the power of your solutions. If not, then something else is missing and rather than providing a free trial you may better off moving on to the next customer and learn from your mistakes while you are at it.
Failure to instil sense of urgency
Many sales people avoid asking for the signed contract to avoid being considered a nuisance by their clients or customers. Being a salesperson, you need to believe in your company and the product or service you are offering. Additionally, if you have mutually agreed with the client why and how your product is the best to answer his/her needs, there is no reason why you should not ask to close deals right away. Even though you might feel things are going your way, there will come a time when events beyond your control will prevent you from sealing the deal. On top, asking for the deal and accepting to walk away from it if the client hesitate, is the best way to give “the impression of scarcity” that is one of the best closing tools in the sales rep toolbox.
Instead of focusing all of your energy on the decision-maker, it is necessary for you to pay equal attention to the influencers as well. By asking about other influencers, you will get a better picture of what you are dealing with. Furthermore, also try to find out why these influencers are important and what they consider important so you can guide them appropriately. They will represent a valuable channel of communication when you start the psychological warfare of the sales negotiation.
Failing to sell the solution
Companies and people only buy products and services to solve their problems. Keeping this in mind, you will realize salespeople spend more time on what is being offered rather than explaining how their product or service will solve their problem. Salespeople end up spending time on unnecessarily long presentations instead of focusing on what actually matters to the client.
Selling a product or service based on its price
Not only is this the mother of all bad ideas but creates more problems for you as a salesperson than it actually solves. No matter how many times you may have heard about selling a product based on its value, there may be a time when you got carried away and led the sale with the price instead. In fact, many individuals new to sales will emphasize on the product being the cheapest in the market before even discussing the prospects of owning the product. Since consumers perceive that they will get what they pay for, by focusing on price you are actually devaluing your product for your target market.
Offering too much information
People don’t generally love salespeople, but they definitely hate talkative salespeople who won’t shut up even more. Additionally, what is even more horrifying for a salesperson is dishing out as much information as they possibly can without realizing its repercussions. Nothing ever sticks and it is one of the biggest of all sales killers. Provide only information that the client perceives as valuable.
Failing to be helpful
If a salesperson is not helpful, they can forget about closing deals as it will not be happening any time soon. Instead of selling, you should be helping your customers, which is exactly what this profession is all about. Rather than worrying about meeting your sales quotas, worry about your customers and their problems. If you fail to see how you can deliver value, ask for help to peers, colleagues, managers and partners from other lines of business. Failing to be helpful leaves the prospect with the impression of having wasted his/her time and he/she most certainly won’t come back to you or refer other potential clients.
All in all, these 9 mistakes are not difficult to overcome with the right training and mindset. Make sure you continue to “sharpen your saw” and place your customer’s needs before your own. Overtime, this not only will build your credibility as great sales professional, but also will allow you to consistently achieve outstanding sales performance.
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