"Be Prepared” is the Girl Guide motto and it also should be yours if you are a salesperson. Sales reps who drop in on prospective customers unannounced or fail to qualify them properly on the telephone or through research create a bad impression. These sales “unprofessionals” ruin it for those reps who are professional both in their approach and work ethic.
There are certain selling mistakes committed repeatedly, by both veteran salespeople as well as new hires. Are you guilty of any of the following:
How many salespeople have a written outline of what they expect to achieve on a sales call? Many simply walk in a prospect's office, and ask, "What is it you need today?" If the prospect knew the answer he or she would get the yellow pages out and buy some! Spend time on understanding the real needs and wants of prospects before sales calls. If that means doing some research at the library or on the internet then consider that time spent as an investment in your success.
Lacking a Sales Presentation
Never assume people understand what you sell so you need not bother to explain it. Some salespeople forget that many prospects only have a surface understanding of what they sell, yet may be embarrassed to let the salesperson know. A good sales presentation simply covers the bases and guarantees prospects know all the benefits and how they help the prospects.
Presentations can be dynamite selling tools if they address issues near and dear to the prospect. Of course if the salespeople know little or nothing about a prospects needs then they can't give a dynamite presentation, can they?
A good sales presentation is not "canned" or "memorized" so the salesperson sounds like a parrot. It is however an explanation of what you sell, presented in an orderly fashion, in plain talk, so prospects can easily not only understand what you sell but also why they should buy.
Getting "too close" To Fast for the Prospect
Building positive relationships with customers is a positive outcome of the relationship selling process, however, people don't become lifelong pals after one or two sales calls. Pushing the issue too quickly to "buddy up" may cause some people to back off instead.
Another difficulty is when salespeople spend too much time with non-selling conversation about personal matters, sports, family, the list is endless. Always remember your customers are in the middle of doing a job that feeds their family and are expected to produce results, taking too much time with small talk or hanging out at a customers business breeds resentment. Be respectful of other people's time.
Good business relationships develop slowly based upon mutual respect. Keep initial sales calls cordial but professional. Being attentive to customer's needs so they see you as a dependable problem solver is one of the best ways to develop a long-term business relationship.
Some salespeople simply talk too much! When you are talking you are not listening, not learning about your prospects wants and needs. A good salesperson should talk no more that 30 per cent of the time, the prospect 70%. The more they speak, the more information you gain about how to best serve them. Salespeople also must understand the art of asking open ended questions to keep the information flowing.
Not Taking Care of Established Customers
Some salespeople enjoy the chase of obtaining new accounts so much they tend to ignore their established business. One of the most powerful marketing tools today is good customer service. Never allow customers to be treated as poor relatives looking for a handout. They are your most valuable asset.
About the Author:
Ted Tate is a nationally known author and sales speaker. He also provides sales training programs for organizations.