Tennessean Column- Sunday, August 9th
Common Mistakes Salespeople Make- Over and Over and ......
Grace Williams said, “We all learn from experience. A man never wakes up his second baby just to see it smile.”
Sometimes I wonder if some salespeople do learn from experience. I see them repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Throughout the last year or so, I have been recording the mistakes I see so often repeated.
Improper follow-up. Literally hundreds of salespeople have told me “The prospect didn’t call me back” or “He didn’t return my email.” It is not the prospect’s responsibility to call or email you back. It is our job to find them and motivate them to respond. The statistics support my observations. Forty-eight percent of salespeople never follow up with a prospect. Twenty-five percent of salespeople make a second contact and stop. If you follow up a second time with your prospect, you are in the top 25 percent of salespeople in the area of follow-up. The statistics go on to say that 17 percent of salespeople make a third contact and stop. Only 10 percent of salespeople make more than three contacts. Like Zig Ziglar said, “Timid salespeople have skinny kids.”
Learn from this mistake. Only 2 percent of sales are made on the first call. Three percent of sales are made on the second contact, 5 percent on the third contact and 10 percent on the fourth contact. Eighty percent of sales are made on the fifth to 12th contact. Despite this research, salespeople continue to fail at following up.
Always be closing. There are still those salespeople out there who think they should always be closing. No; first comes identifying a need and establishing rapport. No sophisticated buyer wants to be manipulated or pushed to a decision. Most buyers don’t even want to be led. Yes, you must bring your prospect to a point of decision, but this in no way needs to be pushy. If your closing tools show to your prospect, then you are too pushy. The best close is a good presentation of how your product meets your prospect’s needs. Do not let your need to make a sale or earn a commission cloud your judgement about “always be closing.”
No enthusiasm. Often I will ask a salesperson what gets them excited. They will start to tell me about their family, their hobbies or even their favorite sports team. Their posture changes, their voice changes and they become animated. Then I see their presentation and they are back to the same old boring conversation. Speak about your product or service like you speak about the best thing in your life. For every sale you lose because you are too enthusiastic you will lose 100 because you weren’t enthusiastic enough. Enthusiasm comes from the ancient Greek word eufousiasmz (en + theos), meaning "inspired by or possessed by God." Be as enthusiastic as you can and quit making the same mistake over and over again.
Winging it. This drives me crazy. Salespeople know what the objections are going to be. "I am not interested." "I don’t have time." "I am happy with my current provider, etc." Although we know the objection beforehand, salespeople tend to wing it. When presented with the option of a well-planned, enthusiastic, well thought out answer to an objection vs. winging it, everyone picks the first option. Yet for some reason salespeople continue to make the same mistakes. Yes, you can make some sales by winging it. However, you will make more sales by memorizing and practicing what you are going to say.
Work on these common mistakes and you will improve your results. Remember, no one can stop you from succeeding without your permission.