2 Deal Killing Mistakes Salespeople Make Every Day
Experienced or not, sales reps know better. For one reason or another, however, they still make the same mistakes and they end up killing the deal. If you learned nothing else in your solution selling training, make sure you are not guilty of the following:
1. Not adequately preparing.
There is no valid excuse for not preparing for each client interaction. And we don’t mean just spending the five minutes in the lobby thinking through what you are going to say. We mean doing adequate research so you know what makes your prospect’s business tick well enough so that you can add compelling value and insight based upon what matters most to them. What are the key trends in their industry? Where do they fit in their marketplace? Who are their target customers? What sets them apart from their competition? What obstacles do they face as they plan future growth?
And that’s just for starters. You should also know as much as you can about the individuals in your meeting. What are their roles? What does success look like for them and for their teams? Who are the decision makers? Who are the power brokers? What keeps them up at night?
While most companies face similar problems regardless of industry, buyers want to work with people who understand them, their market and their customers. For those of you who watch Shark Tank, it is no different than when entrepreneurs walk into the Tank to pitch to Mark Cuban without having a clear grasp of their cost structure, growth plans, competitive landscape or valuation.
2. Not actively listening.
Too many salespeople get too wound up in what they have to offer and what they plan to say that they “tell” more than “listen” and “ask.” Yet, there is no more important part of successfully selling solutions than first clearly defining the customer’s most pressing problems, goals and needs. If you have done your homework, you have the background to ask intelligent, insightful and relevant questions. Try to get to the root cause of the issues your client needs resolved and the goals that they want to achieve. Keep in mind that customers do not always diagnose their problems accurately. They often rely upon you as their trusted advisor to help sort out what moves they need to make to get to where they want to go. The only way to clear away the fog is to really listen, dig deeper, ask good questions and listen again.
If you have ever been in the market for a home, you can identify with this situation. One of our co-workers knew what they wanted…in general they wanted to downsize, live in a friendly and accessible neighborhood, move closer to family, recoup some of their investment, reduce ongoing maintenance needs, and move within the year. Their realtor failed, however, to fully understand or prioritize their needs. He kept showing them houses that were in their price range but too far from the rest of their family. He missed understanding that they were actually flexible on price and “neighborhood” as long as they were closer to their grandkids. They ended up switching realtors and finding the perfect house.
We all make mistakes and, when we make them, can only reflect upon what we could have done better and move on. But remember the two watchwords that will improve your chances of success: prepare and listen. This will put you on the right path of selling solutions to help your clients to succeed.