In this blog post, I want you to look at some of the simple mistakes that people are making in the sales process, how to avoid them and how to stop this happening in your business so that you can enjoy the successes of your labour, rather than dealing with the challenges and disappointment of not getting the results that you were looking for. As a coach, speaker and trainer, I bump into countless business scenarios, and I see these mistakes happening time and time again. You are aspirational people. You want to grow, be better than where you are now, you want to stop making these mistakes and get results that you know you’re capable of. So I thought I’d pick the top 5 mistakes, get you to learn from them and stop making them in the future.
1. The first of the mistakes I want to share with you is the attribute of experience.
Because people are experienced, they forget to do one of the most important parts of the sales process, and that is planning. By not planning, you step into every opportunity without understanding how you could maximise it, what your levels of success are, or what success looks like to you first. By not planning, you don’t understand enough about the person that you’re going to meet. We all know that people buy people. Unless you take the time to do the research to identify what you can find out about that person before you pick up the phone and go into a meeting to enter an opportunity, the chances of you being able to build rapport and find common interests is slim to none. Planning also includes what you should take with you vital things like pads, pens, paper, perhaps order forms, maybe the product itself to demonstrate, should an opportunity arise. Take time to plan.
2. The second mistake I want to share is tunnel vision.
As sales people, business owners and professionals, we get very focused on the task at hand. We look straight at that goal. We forget to look left and right. There is opportunity around us at all times. We’re in the people business. We do business with people. We meet people every day, each and every time that we’re out on an appointment and each and every time that we’re doing things in our daily tasks. As sales people, you’re never off the job. An opportunity could arise at any time, so look for it at all occasions. Keep your head up. Keep looking left and right. A great example of a huge piece of business that I won once back in my property days, was purely when I was picking up my Indian takeaway from a restaurant one evening.
I had a short conversation with a restaurateur about how business was and how his investments were working, and managed to stir a conversation onto the area of topic for me at the time, which was investment property. Two weeks later, the same restaurateur happened to buy from us purely because I had my antenna on, looking for opportunity in everything that I do. So take the actions that you’ve got in your diary today, the rest of this week and the rest of this month. Ensure you look left, right, up and down, wondering where your next opportunity could come from, as opposed to just having tunnel vision focused on what it is that you’ve got happening today.
3. The third big mistake is rushing.
If you rush through the scenarios when you’re getting to customer opportunity, you won’t get anywhere near the level of success that you can if you go at the right phase. An example of rushing is when you sit and meet with a customer for the very first time; perhaps you’re even meeting them face-to-face. I’m pretty certain you know what their requirements are, how you might be able to help them or what your solution could be for them far sooner than they’ve got there themselves. If you know what you need before they do, then the chances are, when you present it, they won’t believe you. You need to slow down your pace. Make sure your questions are in place in order for your customer to come to the solution that you’re going to present just before you get there, so when you present it to them they say “thank you”. It’s resolved the problem that you’ve helped them realise they’ve got, as opposed to presenting your product or service and then giving them all reasons why they need to buy it. Slow down, don’t rush, do the job properly, close the doors one at a time. Also, by not rushing you see the “what next” opportunities, as well as the one that’s available right now.
4. The fourth area that I want to look at is overselling.
If your product or service is not good enough to be sold for exactly what it is, and nothing more than what it is, then I would suggest that you change your product. Sales people are renowned for overselling or over embellishing. We’re all ethical in what we do. We want to undersell and over deliver. But so often we oversell and then find ourselves with no option but to under deliver on the expectation that we’ve created for our customer. We want fantastic results, feelings and emotions upon delivery of what we’ve promised. To ensure that we have delighted customers, let’s make sure that what we’re doing is not overselling, and we’re taking the time to explain exactly how our products and service helps them, giving them all the reasons why it will help, but never going past those reasons or saying that it’s something it’s not.
5. The final mistake that I want to share is simply lack of follow-up.
There are people I speak to who work hard to create opportunity, and they’re forever looking for people to speak to them. When they find those people, they work incredibly hard to win appointments. In those appointments, they create a genuine opportunity for that person to buy from them. In that opportunity, they get to a point where they can create a proposal or present them with a price. They ask them to make a decision over what they’d like to buy from them and then they leave that decision with the customer to make on their own – failing to follow-up or maintain control. Lack of follow-up is costing businesses thousands right now. We’re all leaving money on the table by not following up. Opportunities are hard to come by and always will be. Let’s make sure that we follow through on every opportunity right to the end, ensuring that we get the results that we know we’re capable of, as opposed to the ones that just land on our lap.
These are 5 big mistakes. I encourage you now to look at your own processes, at opportunities that you’ve got ahead of you now and where you can make improvements. Let’s stop making those mistakes and perform at the very top of our game as often as we can.