There's nothing more damaging to the success and prosperity of a sales professional than a bad reputation. Each day, we hear about people and companies in both good and bad frames of reference, which can impact the overall success of their sales structure on a large scale.
More often than not, our reputations are earned. The habits that we practice or neglect can leave a mark in the minds of people we would like to do business with. It is imperative that our negative habits do not get in the way of closing important deals.
Consider these sales habits that could be jeopardizing your opportunity to connect and close deals, so you can salvage and rebuild any damaged or lost prospects:
1. You overpromise without following through. Having a reputation as a salesperson that overpromises success makes your listeners check out. Promising that your product can accomplish more than it is truly capable of, highlights a possible lack of credibility to your customer. It is better to under promise and over-deliver. As people get to know you, they will feel safe with your statements, claims and propositions.
2. You don't have any depth of knowledge in your customers' domain. Part of connecting with buyers is understanding their daily challenges and desires. If you try and sell products without any real knowledge of your customer’s world, the sale will be unwelcome. Do your homework and know your client's industry better than they do. It will go a long way in establishing a trusting relationship. It takes work, but such preparation will start to change your reputation as a reliable salesperson.
3. You talk more than you listen and understand. If you make assumptions about your customer's world and tell them what they need, it not only sets an arrogant tone, but it tunes them out. A good indication of this is of you are doing more of the talking. It is important to be inquisitive and curious, as it shows a form of humility. Show respect for your customer and let them know you care by listening. Remember, telling is selling; asking is buying. Help people to buy by implementing effective and efficient communication skills, so you can talk less, listen more, sell effectively and communicate with influence.
4. You dodge customer concerns. Part of making a customer feel important is listening to and responding appropriately to their concerns or objections. If you minimize or dismiss your customers' trepidations, you miss the opportunity to build a reputation as a problem solver. Instead, carry the stigma of being a salesperson that is focused on the needs of their customers. Treat your customers' concerns with high respect and weight. This will open up the opportunity to build your reputation.
5. You sell products rather than solutions. Customers are primarily interested in how you can solve their problems. If you can link what you sell to their problems, then you make a connection. If you merely sell products and talk about features, your customer will feel you are disconnected from their deeper concerns. When selling professionally, focus on building partnerships, by concentrating on how to provide customers with solutions to their unique business dilemmas. It is important to explain how your solutions will help them get more customers, improve business quality, recruit talent or aid in any other problems they face; your product is secondary.
In a world of rapid communications, your bad sales habits are detrimental to your productivity. Your reputation not only precedes you, it is broadcasted louder than ever. If your customer is not engaged, fix your sales approach to ensure their concerns and interests are always first. Over time, your positive sales habits will set the conditions for increasing your sales probabilities.
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