The world of sales is an ever-changing chameleonic experience. And COVID has multiplied this by a factor of heaven knows what. Even in "normal" times products change, customers' preferences and expectations change, purchasing habits change, and buying strategies change. But, the thing is, at their core, people don't change all that much. They all want the same things value for their money, honesty and integrity in the sales process, quality customer service, a company that stands behind its products and its people, and a genuine respect or regard for their needs. Nowadays, of course, add safety to that list.
If you keep those things in mind as you navigate all the other changes, you will be less likely to make mistakes that might cost you sales. Consider these seven deadly mistakes, work to avoid them and you'll see a dramatic increase in your sales success.
1. Thinking it's all about you
Going into a sale thinking it's all about how well you present the material or how convincing you are, will never result in sales success. That kind of thinking leads to over-talking, intimidation, exaggeration, and other annoying behaviours that turn customers off. The best sales strategy is to listen more than you speak, hear where your customers are hurting, find their point of need, and know what they want. Only then can you genuinely offer something that will inspire them to purchase. Put sales quotas out of your mind when you're in the moment with your customer, and focus in on them. If you do that, you'll have no trouble reaching your sales targets.
2. Giving too much information
This happens when you don't pay attention to the first point. If you listen, you can zero in on the more precise product or service offerings that will meet your prospect's specific needs. If you don't listen, you may be tempted to try to tell your customer about everything you have available, assuming that in that broad spectrum there's got to be something they might want. The more specific you can be in addressing their needs, the more successful you will be in selling them something that can meet those needs.
3. Making judgments about your customers
While salespeople who are adept at reading their customers tend to have greater success, making assumptions too quickly can prevent you from gaining a sale. When hearing objections, or even outright refusals from your customer, try to discern what's underneath those objections rather than make the judgment that they're a lost cause. Is it really a money issue, or is it fear of trying something new? Is it about not wanting to buy from you, or is it about a bad experience they had with someone else? Persevere to find the real pain, and you'll be closer to the sale.
4. Disregard relationships in favour of making a sale
It's been said that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is especially true in the sales process. You can have the best, proven, inexpensive, quality item on the market but if your customer doesn't feel you care about them, they won't care about your product. Choose building relationships over making the sale every time. You may risk losing the sale in that moment, but it guarantees that someday down the road that person will consider you when it comes to making their purchasing decision.
5. Failing to do your homework
If you're rushing off to a sales meeting and haven't had time to do some research about your customer or prospect, their needs, your product as it relates to their need, your competition and anything else that might be relevant, you should consider rescheduling the meeting. The more information you have going into a sales meeting, the more success you are likely to have. These insights will help you anticipate objections, be prepared for questions, and be closer to meeting their needs and getting the sale.
6. Giving the reins to your customer
If you allow your customer to lead the sales process you lose credibility and the ability to be effective in the sale. If your customer is asking all the questions and putting you on the defensive, you'll be too busy trying to think up intelligent responses rather than understanding what they want. Be in control of the process and lead by asking questions (both those you've prepared in advance and those that come out of your conversation during the sales process). Listening closely to their answers will generate more questions, bringing you ever closer to the core understanding you need to make the sale.
We all make mistakes, and if any of these have been part of your repertoire, don't beat yourself up. Just acknowledge it and do it differently next time. The key to becoming a great sales person is a willingness to learn and grow and change in changing times and anyone can do that!