6 Mistakes That Lose the Deal
Sales success sometimes appears mysterious to those who haven’t studied it in great depth. Despite the desire by many to believe that success in sales is dependent upon inherent traits like charm and likeability, sales success is actually based on a skill set. Those who are extremely successful spend years honing their craft.
One way to learn to sell is to study what not to do. By examining and understanding what salespeople do to lose the sale, you’ll become a better salesperson.
Fear of Rejection
The number one reason most people fail is their fear of failure and rejection. This fear holds them back from so many of the actions necessary to be successful before and during the sales call. Salespeople often blow the deal very early in the process by letting fear get in the way. It stops them from picking up the phone to make the cold call to set up the appointment with the prospect they really want to get in front of. In fact, they make excuse after excuse as to why cold calling doesn’t work just to avoid the rejection they fear.
Often fear makes them lose the deal in the initial discovery meeting. The salesperson gets in the door, but then is afraid to ask the tough questions that will provide a real understanding of the prospect’s challenges and how they can help solve them.
Fear has eaten many salespeople for breakfast.
Lacking Sales and Business Acumen
In the old days, sales acumen was the foundation of a successful salesperson. It primarily encompassed understanding the sales process and the right tactics to use at each step throughout the process. Of course, sales acumen is still necessary, but without a real understanding of how business works a salesperson can’t keep up in this high-pressure world of free-flowing information.
How can you help your customer really understand their problems and potential solutions if you don’t understand business fundamentals? The answer is, you can’t, so you must educate yourself. You do that by reading blogs and books, taking courses, and studying successful businesses and what makes them succeed. You can be certain that there is another salesperson in your market doing just that. If they get in front of your prospect they will win the deal because their business acumen will give them a leg up on you if you lack it.
Not Gaining a Commitment for a Next Step
Too many people put tons of work into the front end of the deal. They prospect accurately, they cold call successfully, and they land the appointment. They even have a pleasant first sales call with their prospect, but they make one crucial mistake – they don’t gain a commitment for the next step during that first call.
Whether you’re selling a simple product or something more complex, if you do all of the lead-up work to land a call but don’t walk away from it with a commitment for a next step – no matter how small that step may seem – you’ve probably blown the deal.
Not Getting all of the Stakeholders in on the Decision Making Process
When you finally work your way up to the close – to the point you’ve worked so hard for, the ask – you will blow it if you don’t have all of the people who have a say in the deal in the conversation. This is where business acumen again comes into play. You need to be able to understand who really makes the decisions and who their stakeholders are. Who are the people on the ground that will use the solution you sell? In order to be successful, you need to involve all of the decision makers and get all of them to buy in. Otherwise, you may win the trust of some of the stakeholders, but you won’t be successful if the practitioners aren’t on board.
Lack of Differentiation
It isn’t enough to be liked. It isn’t enough to build relationships. In order to close the deal, you need to be able to differentiate yourself and your product from your competitors. Whether it be through the service your company provides, the type of salesperson you are, or benefits and features your product has, your client needs to see you and your offering as different. It is the salesperson’s job to make the prospect see and believe that their product is different; otherwise, they’ll simply continue to do business with your competitor who they’ve known far longer.
Your prospect may like you, and even like your offering, but they won’t budge from their current solution if you haven’t made yours stand out.
Not Making the Ask
This ties us back to the beginning of the discussion on what causes salespeople to blow the deal. The primary reason is because they don’t make the ask. Your prospect will not normally ask you to purchase your offering – you absolutely must ask them. That means putting yourself out there and yes, it means they may say no. But prolonging the sales process simply to avoid hearing “no” is the critical mistake so many salespeople make.
If you’ve done your prospecting research properly, built a relationship, created dissatisfaction and differentiated your product, there is nothing holding you back – but yourself – from making the ask. It must be done for you to find success. The worst thing that can happen is you get a negative response, but even that has an upside IF you didn’t protract the sales process. Now you know, you can learn from the experience and ask the prospect for the exact reasons for their negative response, and move on to better opportunities. Honing your sales skills is an integral part of success, and each blown deal is a learning opportunity.
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