Sales mistakes to avoid – 5 common habits
I would argue that sales and customer service people are the most important part of any business. Simply because they deal with more customers on a daily basis than anyone else.
Salespeople are the public face and image of your company. Good levels of professionalism and attentiveness reflects well on everyone in the company. Conversely, sloppy attention to detail, mistakes, poor motivation all reflect badly on everyone in the company from the Chief Executive down. Make sure you avoid these, and you’ll benefit from better relationships with customers. Which of course makes selling easier.
1. Blaming the company or other departments for mistakes. Remember you’re all on the same team. The customer doesn’t differentiate and nor do they want to differentiate between you and any of your colleagues. As far as they are concerned you are the company. Sometimes when you’re up against it, it may be tempting to blame someone else. However, when the salesperson blames the company or a colleague, the customer’s trust in the company and therefore by extension in the salesperson falls. It may be the easy option but it’s not the best option. Trust takes a long time to build, but can be destroyed in an instant.
2. Failing to recommend a better solution. It may seem obvious to always do everything to push the products and services you have to offer. And yes in the short-term this makes sense. However to build long-term trust and therefore long-term sales with a customer sometimes needs high levels of integrity. Can you imagine recommending that a customer stick as they are – until perhaps your newer, better model comes out? Or heaven forbid even a competitor’s product if you believe it better suits your customer’s needs? All of these options should be in your mind when building a long-term trading relationship.
3. Offering too many options. This seems counter-intuitive and yet it is plain old common sense. I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of approach where the salesperson offered me too many options and went into too much depth about what they could offer. In a little windowless room after 40 minutes, I lost interest and that adviser never did get my mortgage business. But I’m not feeling too smug, because I’ve also blown sales opportunities in the past by offering too many options. Ask plenty of questions to start to narrow down the best options. Lots of choices and making them do lots of thinking is not clever. What is clever is YOU doing the thinking and working it out for them.
4. Treating your commitments lightly. Business relationships are based around trust, and so your behaviour must reflect this. Ensuring you don’t cancel meetings with clients “because something else came up” and that you’re always prepared for meetings is important. And if you say you’ll get back to them by Wednesday, then get back to them by Wednesday. You word is your bond etc. Customers often have to get used to sales people saying something just to get the sale, only to lose interest once the order has been won.
5. High pressure tactics. The good news is that B2B sales people don’t do this as regularly as sales people selling to consumers. Utilities, home improvements, solar and insurance companies have all been accused of high pressure tactics. And many legal cases are testament to this. Avoid the impression that it is your agenda you’re interested in. By questioning, listening, showing interest and building up an awareness of what they need and would like, it will help your cause. Taking this approach builds integrity and ensures you offer them the best solution for THEM. This is what will make them come back and buy again from you.
For this approach to selling and other pearls of wisdom and experience book onto one of our 2 day telephone sales masterclasses. To Market runs these courses across the Midlands and Eastern Counties, covering; Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry, Derby, Nottingham, Northampton, Wellingborough, Corby, Kettering, Peterborough, Cambridge, Newmarket, Bury St. Edmunds as well as wider parts of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
first published 14th May 2014