It happens so frequently, it almost seems as if someone is out there training salespeople to fail. For example, the woman calling launches into her sales spiel. “Our services are a perfect fit for your client. When can we set up a time to get together so I can show you what we can do …?”
It’s the perfect pitch for failure, setting off bells and
red lights in the head. There’s no need to do anything but to end the call as
quickly as possible. You want to say to her, “Don’t you get it?”
If more salespeople were as good at making sales as they are
in losing them, they could write their own ticket just about anywhere.
Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. They’re so blinded by their own
goals, they’re literally unable to see the prospect.
Here’s a checklist of 18 behaviors that contribute to losing
sales instead of closing them:
1. Don’t bother qualifying prospects.
This only takes
valuable time away from trying to find someone to talk to. Doing research only
holds you back. By not qualifying prospects, you can be sure your closing rate
will be very low.
2. When making an appointment by phone, start by talking
about what you’re selling.It doesn’t make any difference that the person
you’re calling doesn’t have any idea who you are or the company you represent
or why you’re making the call, but don’t let that stop you. Just charge ahead.
This will be almost 100 percent successful in getting the prospect to hang up.
3. Don’t waste time and money finding ways to cultivate
prospects. If prospects aren’t smart enough to figure out the value your
solutions can bring them or how your knowledge and experience can benefit them
after talking to you for a few minutes or getting a letter in the mail, don’t
bother trying to share your ideas and expertise with them.
4. Never take time to ask questions. When you’re in front of
a customer, use every minute to do as much talking as you can. Asking questions
or trying to get the prospect involved in the conversation is
counterproductive. There’s one question you should ask, however. Put prospects
on the spot and make them feel uncomfortable by asking, “What do you think?”
after giving them your presentation.
5. Be sure to drop the names of other clients. Let them know
you’re a real operator. Making them feel like they’re small potatoes is a great
way to impress customers.
6. Never listen to what the prospect is saying. Remember,
you’re there to make a sale, so don’t be distracted when the customer starts
talking about their issues or problems. Even though it can be difficult, stay
on track and be prepared to bring the conversation back to getting the order.
7. Always assume that the customer is looking for the lowest
price.Have at least a three-tiered pricing schedule in your briefcase. This
way you’ll be ready to lower the price when you call back and the customers
tell you they’re not interested or your price is too high. A few days later
call back with a new, lower, “manager approved” price. This pricing system is
certain to create customer confidence.
8. Don’t bother trying to figure out a prospect’s problems.
You don’t want to get bogged down in the prospect’s issues. They will only
deflect attention from your presentation. You’re there on a mission, so don’t
let anything distract you.
9. Forget about small accounts. You’re only interested in
getting the big fish in your boat. Put all your time and effort in going after
the big ones. Small ones are too much bother and it’s not a good use of your
time servicing them.
10. Always push for a meeting. Of course the prospect
doesn’t know you or what you do or why you want to meet. Just push for a
meeting. With face time, you’re confident you’ll get the order. Never ask
prospects how they like to work with a salesperson or what they would like from
11. Throw in the right words.Pepper your presentation with
terms such as value, 24/7, transparent, ROI, benchmark, throw a curve,
strategize, robust, seamless, drill down, core values, partnering, and
corporate culture. That’s all it takes. Don’t worry about explaining what the
terms mean. Using the jargon will send the message that you’re a “cool”
12. Focus on the low hanging fruit. Even though you know
you’re a great salesperson, it’s only smart to look for the easy sales by
pushing price to get the order. Sure, the customer will probably leave when a
pushy competitor comes along, but that’s just the way it goes.
13. Don’t bother keeping good records.Always make it known
that you’re a salesperson and that good salespeople aren’t good at details.
Anyway, you’re not a clerk or an administrative assistant. You’re the hunter
out in the bush bringing home the orders that feed the business. You can’t be
bothered with paperwork or updating the sales reporting system.
14. Don’t waste valuable selling time following up after
making the sale. Follow-up is for customer service. Keep going forward; don’t
let yourself look back. How can you be expected to meet your quota if you’re
servicing accounts? Anyway, once you have the commission, what do you care? If
the customers need something, they’ll call the office.
15. Never bother to find out about a prospect’s business.That’s nothing more than window dressing. It doesn’t meaning anything more than
making the prospect feel good. You can keep the patter going. That’s what makes
you a great salesperson.
16. If prospects don’t buy, don’t bother with them.Make it
a rule never to go back to prospects if they don’t buy after you’ve “given the
right amount of attention.” Move on to the next one.
17. Stay focused on making the sale and ignore the
prospect’s buying process. Getting on the customer’s “wavelength” is for
inexperienced salespeople, not pros. Present yourself as a “consultative
salesperson,” someone who wants to understand how the customer thinks. Talk a
lot about problem solving, even though your real objective is to get the order.
18. Never prepare or rehearse a presentation. You’ve been
selling for years so you know how to handle every situation. Just get the
appointment and play it by ear. Preparation and rehearsing are for amateurs,
the new people in sales. Who needs to practice? You’re out there doing it
day-in-and-day out. Don’t give a thought to the fact that Tiger Woods never
stops practicing. You’re a pro.
There are many other ways to lose a sale, but these 18 are a
reminder that it’s so easy for us to con ourselves into believing that selling
is different from every other job in business. Once you “have it down,” there’s
no need to perfect your skills, gain new insights or expand your knowledge.
Whatever else this is, it’s the formula for losing a sale.
Eighteen Ways to Lose the Sale
June 18, 2007