How did this profession of selling get such a bad reputation? Most people are suspicious of sales people. Most people think salespeople are pushy, high pressure, con-men, Charlatan, cheat, dishonest, crooked, twist your arm make you buy, say anything to get the sale, good golfers.
Because of past mistakes, most people have a negative image of sales people. What follows are the most common mistakes I’ve seen sales people make. There are in no particular order.
A common mistake sales people make is to “show up and throw up”. Sometimes when we go on a call, we are nervous. This causes sales people to talk too much. Sometimes we are ill prepared; this causes us to jabber on. Sometimes we have a difficult prospect so we do all the talking. Sometimes we’re uncomfortable with strangers and we won’t leave our comfort zone. So, we launch into our sales presentation.
This behavior is troubling and irritating to many prospects. The proper thing for a sales person to do is to “establish rapport” and then asses what the prospects wants and needs. Then you as a professional sales person have permission to present a solution. Otherwise your just one of the many who are average at our profession.
Another common mistake is being manipulative. One of the things we all hate about sales people is the feeling that they are manipulating us. Sometimes we do it without knowing it. A lot of times sales people are under the impression that’s what they are supposed to do.
Don’t ask closed-ended questions. Don’t ask leading questions. For example, “This would really be beneficial to you, wouldn’t it?” or “This would really help your business, wouldn’t it?” These and questions like these are manipulative. Your prospect sees through these and doesn’t like it.
No one likes faked intimacy. Many sales people don’t know how to act genuinely interested in a prospect. When you meet a prospect for the first time, you do need to establish rapport. Find a common interest or a person in common you know. However, faked intimacy makes your prospect say to themselves “He’s trying to sell me something” and at that point, the sales call is going backwards.
Along those same lines is the salesperson who says “I’ll send you that tomorrow” or “I’ll call you Tuesday” and there is no follow through on the commitment. As a sales person, everything you do and say can and will be used against you. If you tell someone you’ll do something, do it. If you don’t then the prospect begins telling themselves, “So this is the kind of service I’ll be getting”.
Never commit to do something you won’t do. Keep a to-do list for every call and follow through 100%. If you don’t, you’ll never get the trust necessary to make the sale. With follow through after the call, it’s all or nothing.
Finally closing to hard is what every prospect hates. It’s your job as a sales person to bring people to a point of decision. However, the decision making process must be completely comfortable or you probably will never make the sale.
It doesn’t matter that you “need” the sale. It doesn’t matter that your manager is pushing you. It doesn’t matter that you’re trying to win a contest. It only matters that you’re solving the customer’s problem or fulfilling their wants. Your prospect must never feel that you “really need this sale”. Your prospect must feel that your success isn’t dependent on their buying. This will never happen if you push for the sale.
Ask yourself if you’re making these mistakes. Bad habits are hard to break, but the solution begins with recognition that there is a problem. Identify your mistakes and work on correcting them day by day. If you do, your name will be raised high on the honor roll of sales people.