Written by Sean McPheat |
It’s not easy being in sales these days.
All the pressures of hitting targets, completing your sales plans, competitive activity…it can sometimes feel as if it’s all too much.
Many salespeople heap more pressure on themselves by making mistakes that actually attract objections from prospects and customers.
The prospect may really want the product or service you can provide….then you make an error that immediately causes them to stop and wonder if you are the right provider.
Here I discuss just five of those blunders that can be avoided:
1. Being Underprepared
If you think you can go into a meeting and just ‘wing it’, you may succeed for a short time, and then eventually you’ll be caught out.
Customers won’t expect you to have the answer to every question they have, but if the basics haven’t been prepared for (e.g. not having proof of the claims you make for your product) then you stand to lose any credibility you had in the beginning.
Preparing for a meeting by knowing the customer’s business, being aware of what their business challenges are and how your product can overcome them, are the very basics expected these days.
Objection that may be attracted: If you’re unprepared for this meeting, how can the prospect have faith that you will take care of their account in the future?
2. Not Analysing Needs Deeply Enough
Salespeople often get excited when they approach a prospect with whom they have built rapport and see options that can be fulfilled. Jumping ahead, they go for the close too early and try to gain a sale before the customer has been truly convinced this is the best option for them.
That’s understandable, as enthusiasm is a great virtue when used correctly. It’s when it causes us to get ahead of ourselves that problems can emerge. Remember to fully cover the needs of the prospect before moving on and recommending solutions.
Objection that may be attracted: The prospect will doubt whether yours is the right solution if you don’t analyse all their needs and cover them before presenting solutions.
3. Being Overly Assertive
Assertiveness is an attractive trait among salespeople when it is done to the right level. It gives the prospect confidence that you know what you are talking about and you that your recommendations would be good for their business.
Being overly assertive, though, can create an aggressive tone. When you step over that demarkation line, you cause the customer to switch from being honest and with you all the way, to wondering whether they are now being pressurised and being forced into making the wrong decision.
So make sure you don’t overstate your claims or create doubt in those claims in their mind. Be assertive but not too pushy.
Objection that may be attracted: They may go from agreeing to your ideas to ‘stalling’ objections, where they ‘need to think about it’ or ‘having to see other options first’.
4. Being Overly Prepared & Making It Sound Like Your Reading A Script
Hang on, didn’t I say that you shouldn’t be underprepared? Yes, but this mistake is making you sound like you are reading something that’s been prepared for you, and you lose credibility and integrity.
I remember being approached by a salesperson who recited his product’s benefits and stopped after the fifth one. He then said ‘I know there are two more benefits but I’ve forgotten them right now’.
Immediately, he lost his cool and any credibility that he as a salesperson may have built up with me. Instead, he should have discovered my needs and wants and then simply discussed how his product could help my business to achieve those wants.
Objection that might be attracted: Lack of trust in you, your product and solution because it’s simply a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach that doesn’t apply to his business or his specific need.
5. Becoming Defensive
It’s a natural tendency to defend yourself if you are being attacked. The brain switches to fight or flight mode when something occurs that makes you fearful or you feel there is danger ahead.
When a customer doesn’t see the benefit in your solution or questions the product in some way, it’s obvious that you are going to try to defend it or counteract the argument with the opposite point of view.
When you get defensive, though, what may come across is a lack of confidence, or some form of insecurity. You feel you have to persuade the prospect or push the solution even more on them. You keep talking about why they should see things your way.
They may have misunderstood something, or got the wrong end of the stick. Or they may not have the full picture and so come to a wrong conclusion about what you’re offering.
Whatever the cause, you end up in some form of disagreement and it may sound like you’re arguing your case.
Instead, it’s always better to calmly ask why that’s a concern for the prospect and give yourself time to accurately assess what needs to be done to turn the situation around without it sounding like you’re belittling the prospect.
Objection that may be attracted: The prospect may feel pressurised by your defensive attitude and cease to see the relevance of your presentation, hence bringing up objections that will stall progress and cast doubt on any solution you recommend.
So, be aware of these mistakes and make sure you build proper rapport before trying to recommend solutions.
Originally published: 9 June, 2015