Avoid these 10 common sales mistakes to increase your sales.
Upnify Editorial Team - 11 de mayo, 2023
Warning! Each of the above mistakes can cost your company revenue and growth.
These mistakes cause your salespeople's drive and competitive spirit to weaken. Experience shows that 90% of sales professionals make these mistakes unconsciously or without knowing how to get rid of them and settle for "their current sales level".
Help your sales force to be aware of these mistakes and increase their effectiveness, increase their sales, motivate them, and achieve the company's objectives.
How to increase sales? This is the most recurrent question that any salesperson, manager, director, or owner has in mind. Generate more profit. More cash flow. More growth.
In this article, we do not pretend to give you all the tools that exist about sales, nor give you the complete solutions to all the problems that occur in sales, but we want to give you tips, that although some are "basic" or "obvious", we usually overlook them, and cause lost sales daily.
What if your sales force has the tools to increase sales?
Mistake #1: Selling is not possible for the salesperson due to very well-founded ideas.
Surely you have heard the word paradigm many times, but we do not know how it fits into our work.
You have come across ideas like: "it's not my season, that's why I can't sell", "people don't have money" etc.
These ideas are the main obstacle salespeople have in doing their job. These ideas are so well "founded" (even endorsed by public opinion)
Why are they accepted?
- Because they seem logical or "reasonable".
- Many people believe them.
- Sometimes they are 'desirable'.
- It is introduced as an excuse.
While the technology on paradigms and their resolution are vast, I will give you a very simple piece of advice.
"We cannot solve problems by thinking the same way we thought when the problem was created" - Albert Einstein.
How to think differently?
Find and eliminate paradigms to create a "different" thinking process.
Mistake #2: All the salesperson's attention is on the product and not on the customer.
Everyone has heard that a good salesperson must be enthusiastic, convinced of his product, persistent, careful, honest, and passionate. And he must be able to listen, too.
All these qualities are necessary to be successful. But there is one that outweighs the others in importance.
The salesman who only presents the product forgets the factor that he is there to help the customer. When all the attention is on the development and not on the customer, you are reducing your chances of selling by 70%.
When it comes to selling, curiosity is the most important quality. This quality focuses your attention on your customer, their wants, their needs, their goals, and objectives (related to your product or service, or not).
Let me give you an example of "interest" in your customer. Let's take this example from the successful Starbucks chain:
Focusing their operation on the customer.
Each coffeehouse in the chain has been dedicated to building personal relationships with its customers since its inception, with the awareness that to ensure long-term success it is essential to focus on the relationship with consumers. Therefore, the Starbucks experience puts the consumer at the center of everything they do.
Mistake #3: The salesperson "thinks" they are listening to the customer, but in reality, they are more interested in the sale.
While this is directly related to mistake #2, let's look at it from another point of view.
What do 90% of salespeople do that bores customer? They don't listen.
Salespeople try to offer and even close without knowing the customers’ needs perfectly. Many "think they know them", but there is much more to it than just knowing what they "need".
- What motivates the customer to buy?
- Why does he need it?
- How can it help?
- How can it help them?
- Does he/she know how to use it?
And you could go on with the list of questions...
Learn to listen to your client. Learn to control the interview.
Taking the time to understand what they need will make them feel appreciated, and in them achieving their goals. Find out what people want.
"...and it's not about misleading people or convincing them that they want something they don't need. And I think we're pretty good at finding out what people are going to want. That's what we get paid for." Steve Jobs
Mistake #4: The customer didn't buy, because they never bought from the salesperson.
It might come as a bit of a shock what I'm about to tell you...
It has nothing to do with your product!
To back up this fact, you can see a lot of amazing products dying on the shelves.
And this is where this fact comes in: the first reason a customer doesn't buy from you is because of their "lack of trust".
Your job as a salesperson is to Gain the customer's Trust and then close.
The first barrier to overcome when selling is: a lack of trust.
Nowadays no customer will buy anything from a salesperson they feel they cannot trust.
How do you gain your customer's trust? By showing a genuine interest in their needs and wants; by working hard to discover and understand what is going on inside their head.
Having the ability to forget your product or service is the most important factor and at the same time the most difficult task. Paying full attention to your customer is vital in this first step.
Who do you think your customer considers to be the most important person on the planet? Exactly - him! And you cannot acknowledge that fact by talking about your product or service. You can only acknowledge it (and make him feel it) by putting all your attention on him, and showing him that he is the most important thing.
Mistake #5: The salesperson has an inadequate idea of selling.
There are many views today on "what selling is".
Have you ever heard "I don't like selling", or "I don't like pushing people, I'm an engineer, not a salesman"? People have many misconceptions about selling. The original meaning of "selling" was "giving". Then it became something negative, like "to deceive" or "to betray". Although it is now defined as "to persuade", many successful people think of selling as helping.
The dictionary defines selling as:
- To give up or yield to another something in exchange for value: to deliver to a buyer for a price.
- To persuade or induce (someone) to buy something.
- To cause or persuade to accept; convince.
Source: Webstern's Encyclopedic Dictionary of English Language
Help: "...you can get what you want if you help people get what they want." Zig Ziglar.
Responsible: "...If your prospect wants or needs your product, you're a criminal if you don't sell it to them..." Joe Gandolfo
Conviction: "...It's the notion of personal conviction for what you do that allows you to push through to the end..." Napoleon Hill
Mistake #6: The salesperson is "driving the sale away" instead of "attracting the sale".
The better you understand the various levels of interest a prospect can go through (e.g., from very interested, to moderately interested, to not interested at all) the better equipped you are to guide the prospect to the point of the highest interest and close the sale.
Contrary to what many people believe, a prospect can be taken from the point of "no interest" to "high interest" if you know the right tools.
At the beginning of the sales cycle, a prospect may not have much interest. The salesperson must discover and develop interest to move the prospect through the steps of the sales cycle.
The salesperson could start trying to interest the prospect and gives up very quickly.
What could also happen is that the salesperson has not located the real point that will make the prospect respond. As a result, he thinks that the prospect is "not interested" so he stops trying to interest the prospect.
Another very common thing that happens is that a salesperson, encountering resistance from the customer, starts to push the sale too hard, instead of just being there to help answer questions, guide, and continue to engage the prospect.
When the salesperson pushes with high pressure the sale, at which point the prospect pushes back too hard and the salesperson gives up.
Mistake #7: Not following up with customers who didn't buy.
Why do most salespeople fail to follow up with a customer?
It's a typical sales situation. You generate a lead. You don't close it. You abandon it. Have you ever experienced it?
Possibly one of the most important factors for a customer is to follow up.
Follow-up in sales means only "being interested in the need (problem or difficulty) your customer has, which could be solved by your product or service".
Think back to a time when you were interested in something, for example, a friend's problem. Even though you might not be able to help them, would you still keep in touch with them to see how they are doing? The same goes for a customer.
There are several tools for follow-up. You can use a CRM, an Excel sheet, or simply your diary.
But none of these means in itself that you are "following up".
The real solution is to feel interested in that customer yourself. How?
- Evaluate how your product can help that customer.
- Convince yourself why they need your product or service.
- Think about what would happen if your customer solved his problem or need with your product or service? How would he feel?
- The last question: Are you interested in your customer solving it?
If the answer is YES, then you have already achieved interest in your customer. If the answer is NO, the best thing to do is to pass them on to another salesperson.
Mistake #8: The salesperson tries to close when the time is not yet right.
Many salespeople try to make a "quick" close. Most of the time, they try to close at the wrong time.
When it is not yet time to close and the salesperson tries to close, what automatically happens is that they "push the sale away".
Have you ever tried to close when you were not yet convinced to buy the product?
How did you feel about that salesperson?
The time to make the close is given to you by the interview.
If you have conducted a successful interview, this includes:
- You have detected the customer's needs
- You have detected the customer's "desire to buy".
- You know your customer is interested
- Your customer knows that your product or service is the solution for him/her.
- You have used emotional arguments (not just technical or logical ones).
Then it's time to jump into the closing and start resolving objections. A well-done interview, by itself, takes you to the closing. And it's going to be a very easy close.
Mistake #9: The salesperson makes no more than 3 closing attempts.
How many closing attempts do we make?
70% of sellers don't make more than 3 closing attempts.
The seller gives up on the third objection.
Learn how to successfully resolve objections.
There is a very accurate technique on how to do it. Easy to learn and if you master it, you can achieve your sales goals.
But know this: If the steps before closing are not done right, you will never get to the close. It's like trying to score a goal by coming out of the goal alone.
Mistake #10: The salesperson fails to acknowledge some of their mistakes and justifies them by giving "other reasons".
This is normal. Sales is a "human" job, different from working with machinery. In sales, you are using "human relations technology".
Unfortunately, there is no "sales school" or "human relations school". And salespeople are usually "empirical".
These mistakes exist in 95% of unsuccessful salespeople. Even if they don't realize or even believe they don't have them. These are the causes of their lack of success. It never hurts to give yourself a chance and be a little self-critical. Look inside yourself a little and find something you can improve about yourself.
For many, sales have become an impossible mission.
The first reason is: there are more and more competitors who swear they have a better product or service than yours.
The second: customers are more confused and sceptical than ever. The more options there are, the more difficult it is for them to make a decision.
Third: the classic old-fashioned sales system no longer works. No matter how "good" a sales pitch you present, someone else can present a "better" one. Your "better" logical argument of superiority does not guarantee that they will buy from you.
I would like to close with an inspiring story from a professional. Michael Jordan. And what his coach once said:
"He had an eternal will to get better at the game, every year Jordan spent time in the off-season improving parts of his game that he felt were deficient so that he could overcome fatigue, pain, and illness.
He improved his ball handling. He became an excellent defender. He improved his shooting; he practiced late, challenging shooters from a distance until he was good enough to participate in All-Star Game contests. When heavier opponents beat him, he started lifting weights so he could play low post.
"When he found out that Scotie Pippen could bald it with his left foot, he learned how to do it." John Bach
"Michael is always trying to figure out how to turn his weaknesses into strengths" - Phil Jackson.
Upnify´s Editorial Team; formed by professionals and experts in Marketing, Sales, Communication, Design and other areas. They share their experience through articles enriching the commercial culture.