To a small business, one lost sale can sometimes spell disaster. This is especially true when things seem to be going well during the sales cycle, as you may consider that money “in the bank” and start operating like the sale is a sure thing. The problem is, one small mistake – even near the end of a sale – can sour the deal almost immediately.
One day with a bad attitude or one forgetful moment can have a huge impact on your bottom line…
While references, work portfolios, and positive reviews are all important, communication will always be the #1 thing that makes or breaks a sale. Unfortunately, it’s also the easiest thing to mess up. One day with a bad attitude or one forgetful moment can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
The solution? Learn to recognize some of the bad habits you have when talking to potential clients, and strive to cut them out of your sales process altogether. Below are five things you may be doing that are negatively affecting your sales:
Answering Unasked Questions
During the sales process, you want to identify the areas where your potential client needs help, and then explain how you or your product will be able to provide that help. The last thing you want to do is play a guessing game that ends up leaving the client with more doubts than they had when you started.
If you begin any of your sentences with, “You may be wondering if…” then you’re not only making it sound like you’re reading from a sales page, you’re also communicating to the potential client that you’re either A) not listening to their problems or B) not understanding their needs. If a client is in fact wondering about something, chances are they’ll bring it up without prompting. If they don’t, concentrate on what they ARE telling you instead.
Selling Features, Not Solutions
When you’re talking to a potential client, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to boast about all the things that you or your product can offer. The problem, however, is that the person you’re talking to isn’t necessarily interested in what your product can do – they’re interested it what it can do for them! Take time to identify the problems that your potential client is having, and focus on how you can solve those problems. Any additional features will be seen as a “bonus” in the client’s eyes anyway.
Talking Instead Of Listening
This one goes hand in hand with the first two points – if you’re constantly running your mouth, there’s absolutely no way that you’ll be able to identify the areas where your client needs your help. In addition, if it’s evident to your potential client that you’re not willing to step back and let them voice their concerns and opinions, you can bet that your chances of closing the sale will drop to zero. Always allow the person on the other end of the phone to steer the conversation toward their particular wants and needs – once you know for sure what they want, you can confidently proceed to educate them on how you can provide it for them.
Leaving It Up To Them
People are forgetful, and that’s especially true when they’ve been given a responsibility they don’t want or need. If you send a client information, don’t put it on them to contact you once they’ve looked over it. It’s your job is to sell them your product or services, not theirs. Instead of telling them to give you a call if they want to move forward, tell them that you’ll give them a few days to read over the information you sent and then you’ll contact them to see what they think. It’s on you to keep the conversation going.
Being A Pest
On the opposite spectrum of the previous tip is the salesperson who pesters potential clients until they finally give up – not because they’re not interested in the product, but because they can’t imagine what they’ll have to deal with once they’ve actually signed a contract. Unless someone has specifically said that they want to be called every day, nobody wants to be called every day! If you sent over a proposal at 5pm yesterday, 8am this morning is not a great time to call about it. Do your part to keep the lines of communication open, but realize that sales take time, and every unnecessary call or email only serves to push the client further and further from a “yes.”
Have you ever done something and later realized that it was the thing that ruined a sale? Do you have a trick for recovering after you accidentally put a “sure thing” in jeopardy? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!