For me the true reasons for underachievement are either a lack of skill or simply missing the fundamental basics. As such this article is not taking you back to basics but forward to basics, in order for you to maximize your success in the sales process.
With all the businesses I have worked with I am still to find a truly unique challenge. The repetition of mistakes is abundant, so much so that reaching diagnosis is typically a straight-forward exercise.
You have probably heard the old saying “Don’t just put out the fire– go find the man with the match.”
With this in mind I am going to share with you the 7 most common business mistakes and more importantly how to avoid them. This will give you the edge, provided you take action.
1. No planning
Most businesses reach a certain level of success based on the individual brilliance of the business owner. This is good news but can rarely be duplicated, certainly can’t be modeled and encourages complacency.
Let me give you an example:
Who has a prospect list? A ‘no not today’ list? A system to manage the customer accounts? If not – you are missing out. The person going nowhere usually gets there. The bigger the list, the bigger the business, so get all your prospects on the list. Especially the big ones!
2. Tunnel vision
Many sales staff and business owners are programmed to do exactly as they are told and have acquired tunnel vision. They will only see the opportunity that they are told exists. They just provide a quote for exactly what they are asked for or answer the exact question posed.
To reach sales excellence you need to open your senses and think beyond the obvious. The job is selling and not telling, and it is our role to help our customers to buy. Use the question “why?” more often, we are fishing for more opportunities all the time. Our success is a direct correlation to the number of problems we can resolve for our customers. The more problems or challenges you can uncover, the more opportunities you get to help with and the more success you will have earned.
3. Trying to rush
Our individual brilliance often gets us to the required solution for our potential customers before they are ready. Closing too early is a massive turn off and is often the reason that sales people are referred to as pushy. An exceptional sale is like a romance – going straight for the end result will only bring certain levels of success.
The fun for both parties is in the journey. Prospects must receive value and hence must be courted; the flirting catches their attention, you then find commonality and have fun, you then ask questions only then do you make your move. At which point, your chances of both initial success and longevity of relationship are significantly increased.
4. Over selling
Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!
Ok, what we do is of great interest to us and we like talking about ourselves. However once a customer is convinced then stop convincing. As sales people we are professional mind maker uppers so once they have made their mind up then continuing to talk will raise more questions and can only result in giving your prospect reasons not to buy.
Be honest, if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. The goal is to undersell and over deliver. Most complaints received in business result from over sold products or services.
5. Not explaining yourself properly
When we explain our products and services we list its features and sometimes give some benefits. This is what we have been programmed to do. However it is the results of what we do that encourages people into sales decisions.
People make buying decisions based on emotion and not logic. Demonstrating how you help people gets to the emotion and gives people reason to buy from you.
6. Lack of follow up
We spend loads of time creating opportunity and finding people to speak to. Then if they don’t answer our first call or email and maybe our 2nd or 3rd attempt to call, we give up. We may even get a meeting, a chance to send a proposal or quote. We send it, and if we don’t hear back, after a brief attempt to follow up, we give up.
The sales process is about control. Persistency wins– so never, ever, ever give up.
7. Sales is a numbers game
Ever heard that every ‘no’ is just one step closer to a ‘yes’? This is a myth. Every ‘no’ hurts and – trust me – I wear the scars. Sales is not a numbers game. Sales is a learning game. If it were a numbers game, in a large sales force everyone would have the same results. This myth is an excuse for failure. Be honest with yourselves, we all make mistakes – make sure you learn from them.
Take time after each successful and failed opportunity and remind yourself what worked well and what you would do differently. Only a lunatic would continue doing the same thing and expect a different result.
Print out the image below and put it somewhere you can see as a reminder not to make these mistakes! Also, if you know someone else who might benefit from these tips, share this post with them!