Many people cringe when they hear the word “sales.” But the simple fact is if you offer a product or service then you are in the business of selling. I had a sales manager tell me once that we are always selling. We are either selling our prospects why they should buy from us, or they are selling us on why they shouldn’t. Fortunately, sales is a skill, and with practice, you will become better and better at it.
But the road to improvement usually involves making a lot of mistakes. I know because I have made many of them myself.
And certain mistakes will always hinder your ability to sell to your prospects effectively. Here are the seven biggest sales mistakes and how to avoid them:
Not researching the company before your meeting
Before you meet with a prospect, you must take the time to research them and learn more about their business. If you don’t, you will spend that valuable first meeting discovering basic information.
Not being prepared is a waste of yours and your prospect’s time. Learn about the prospect’s company before you meet with them. Then you can present a solution to whatever problem they are facing.
Getting off topic
Of course, you don’t want to come across as a pushy salesperson. It is essential to build a relationship with your prospect, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business relationship. You should try to make your prospect feel at ease but don’t overdo it with the small talk.
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Coming from a place of desperation
The worst thing you can do is go into a sales meeting feeling desperate to meet your quota. When you do this, you are coming from a position of weakness and will almost certainly turn people off.
You aren’t just trying to sell a product or service to your prospects — you are looking for opportunities to solve problems for them. Your prospects don’t care that you need to make a sale, they care about how you can help them.
Being too pushy
Sales is indeed an art form, and it is hard to strike the right balance between listening to your prospect and trying to close the deal. But few things will turn your prospects away faster than being overly pushy.
Don’t turn into someone people will cross the street to avoid talking to. Learn when to back off and give them time to think about it.
Not listening to your prospect
Go into a sales meeting prepared to spend more time listening than pitching. Do you know if the product or service you are selling will actually meet that person’s needs? Listen to your prospect to find out what their needs are and then try to meet them.
Failing to ask for the prospects’ business
Not asking for the prospect’s business is the flipside of being overly aggressive, some salespeople are so passive, you wonder if they realize it’s their job to make the sale. After you have listened to your prospect and offered them all the information they need, you must ask for a commitment. As long as you do this in a way that isn’t threatening most people will respond favorably.
Forgetting to follow up
Of course, most prospects will not be ready to commit after the first meeting which is why following up is crucial. People need time to think things over and just because someone says “no” the first time doesn’t mean they won’t be interested later. If you aren’t following up on your leads, then I can promise you that you are leaving money on the table.
What are the biggest sales mistakes you have made throughout your career? Is there anything I left off this list that I should have included? Let me know in the comments!