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December 2017

How to ruin a sale

Dec 7, 2017 2:00 PM
Roger Pierce

Business owners can improve their sales close rate by learning how to avoid these mistakes

Whatever it is you are selling, there may come a time in the sales process when you need to connect one-to-one with your prospect. That connection could be in person, over the telephone or online using video conferencing technology.

Unless you are a seasoned sales professional, it’s natural to be nervous about that appointment because you feel pressure to get it right and win the sale.

It may help to understand how many sellers ruin a sale. Close your next deal and win more customers by avoiding these typical mistakes.

1. Talking way too much

You’ve likely heard this statistic before, but it’s important to repeat it: a seller should spend 80% of their time listening to the prospect and 20% of their time talking.

When people are nervous, it’s a natural tendency to talk too much (and too fast) and put it all out there. Sellers may think it best to present all of the information about a product or service with the hope the buyer will like something they hear.

Instead, ask plenty of questions. By actively listening to a prospect, you’ll discover their needs (also known as buying criteria) and be able to position your product or service benefits as the ideal solution.

2. Discussing price too early

While price is an important element to a buying decision, it may not be the most important one to your prospect.

If you disclose price prematurely, you risk tainting the rest of the conversation as the prospect dwells on price and ignores the many other attractive features of your offering.

Your prospect is likely considering other buying criteria, including:

  • Vendor experience.
  • Industry reputation.
  • Product performance.
  • Implementation cost.
  • Warranties.
  • Payment arrangements.
  • Shipping timeline.

Any of these criteria may be more important to your prospect than price. Ask your prospect early in the sales process how they intend to evaluate the opportunity you are presenting.

3. Failing to follow up

It may seem like an obvious mistake to avoid, but many sellers drop the ball by failing to do whatever it is they promised to do for the prospect customer. That may include sending more information, supplying customer references, preparing a detailed quote or booking a follow-up meeting.

Allow some time in your schedule after each sales appointment to do the things you promised to do.

4. Neglecting to research the prospect

Walking into a sales presentation and asking the prospect, “What do you do here?” or “How can I help you?” is a failure on the part of the seller to do the background work usually considered a prerequisite to any successful meeting.

Being unprepared is a huge waste of your time – and your prospect’s time.

In this age of the internet, there’s no excuse not to know everything you can about your prospect, including:

  • Their industry.
  • Company background and history.
  • Company competitors.
  • Expansion plans.
  • Executive team (or owner).
  • Interests (using social media to learn about your contact).
  • Suppliers.
  • Major customers, and more.

 

Have you ever been in a situation where the salesperson kept talking about the product long after you decided to buy it?

Selling is a process: once you notice buying signals, it’s time to close the sale and process the order.

You’ll recognize buying signals by actively listening to your prospect. For example, when a prospect asks about delivery dates it’s time to wrap it up and take their order.

Selling is a skill learned over time. The more experience you have selling to prospective customers, the better you’ll become at avoiding these common mistakes and closing the sale.


  

 

 
 

 

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