7 Mistakes Most Salespeople Make

Technique and tone are key to artfully closing a sale. Despite years of on the job experience, however, many salespeople never truly master their skills.

One of the barriers which cause this is when a salesperson thinks he knows everything already and doesn’t need any more training. Without continuous training, however, even veterans commit needless gaffes, including the seven common selling mistakes listed below.

1. Make assumptions

In the sales world, too many assume for the prospect instead of letting him express his needs, and thereby close the door on any sales.  When dealing with prospects, don’t make assumptions as to what product or service they are likely to buy, because you just might end up trying to close on the wrong item or service.

Instead, hear them out and let them explain their business pain in full. Not only does this allow you to get to the right solution, but it also allows you to discover possible upsell and cross-sell products that even the client was unaware they needed.

2. Close prematurely

Different customers have different psychological, financial or emotional worries that block a sale and, therefore, need different levels of persuasion. If you try to close the sale before a prospect has had the chance to ask all questions or before they believe they are receiving a good value, the customer can become disgruntled. This loses a sale that might have been possible with a little more patience.

Watch for buying signals from the buyer, such as leaning forward, relaxing, using ownership language, etc. and THEN go for the close.

3. Mention price too early

 While some customers are eager to hear about cost, what most really want to hear about is the value a product or service can provide. They want to know how a purchase can fit into their business, provide a good return, and supply convenience or a solution to a problem.

State the price early and the prospect might stop listening; state it last, and you might discover that they are already invested and want the solution no matter the price.

4. Talk too much instead of listening

 In an effort to bond or put the customer at ease, a salesperson might talk excessively, forgetting to pause and solicit feedback or questions. They might bombard the prospect with too much information about products and services or they might waste time providing too many personal details.

Either way, it’s important to remember that a great sales call is not a monologue, but a dialogue. Customers feel more open to buy when a salesperson takes the time to listen to them. Furthermore, if you master the art of listening, many of your prospects will simply close themselves since they are doing all the talking.

5. Upsell without merit

Some salespeople try to strategically upsell by tricking a customer into thinking their purchase must include certain features, warranties or ancillary items — which aren’t really worth it. This is a deceptive practice that can ruin the future of the customer relationship.

Don’t risk future business and referrals for an extra buck or two today, upsell only when it is truly needed or will provide great value to the buyer.

6. Insult the prospect

 It’s always disappointing when a buyer chooses a competitor, especially after weeks or months of sales effort. However, when the sales goes against you, a big mistake is to allow your demeanor to suddenly shift into a display of disappointment, anger or condescension. Do not criticize the competition or the buyer’s choice, but offer to be there as a backup should things not work out as planned.

Any prospect, if treated well and with respect, is never permanently out of reach. Once a good relationship is cultivated, the customer may buy from you in the future.

7. Apply too much pressure

 This single mistake is probably what upsets people the most about salespeople. While setting deadlines for discounts and quotes is standard sales practice and an acceptable level of customer pressure, scare tactics and continuous harassment are not.

While you might feel pressure from executives to meet quotas, the solution is not to pressure your poor prospects, but to learn to sell more effectively so your pipeline is full and deals are closing consistently — rather than go through “feast or famine” where each deal feels like it might be your last if you don’t close it.

The solution to all of the above: GET TRAINED!


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