I have been in sales for over 10 years now, and, fortunately, by trial and error, I have learned to eliminate six of my bad habits in the sales process. These six sales mistakes could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars if you don’t correct them.
Don’t Wait To Get The Paperwork Right
If you are sitting in front of the customer and you come up with a creative way to reach their goals and have managed to re-adjust your proposal in a manner that fits their budget, don’t EVER, EVER walk out the door to re-type it and come back. Mark up the proposal, cross out lines, and re-write the totals. Whatever you do, get that signature and the deposit! I used to wait to bring back a professionally typed agreement and found that the customers needs had changed or their buying impulse was gone. All of us buy impulsively at some level. That is just human nature. Don’t EVER wait to re-write again. Use a paper napkin if you have to! You can re-write the proposal and send it back as a confirmation later, but you need the emotional and financial commitment of your client right now. Be sure you have a strong legal contract for all your work before going in, but make the edits to the agreed services or product together with the customer and get the signature!
Never, Never be Late
Customers always judge first impressions. They also judge future impressions subconsciously as well. If you want to close the sale, never be late. It’s that simple. Leave 30 minutes earlier than necessary and sit outside or around the corner. If you do telesales, get ready ahead of time for your conference call, and don’t let other calls or distractions keep you from calling in on time.
Don’t Use Weak Language
“Maybe”, “possibly”, “sometimes”, and words like that don’t sound very strong because they aren’t! When you sit down to sell something, mean it. Don’t use weak words. Use strong words like “definitely”, “absolutely”, and “always”. You get the picture. Think through what you are saying and SELL with confidence.
Never Discount Your Work
Getting in the habit discounting your work is a terrible idea. When you discount your work you are telling your client that it’s not really worth the sticker price. When you are faced with the challenge of meeting a budget, leave that up to your client. Ask them what they want to remove (as far as components, product pieces, or labor hours) and remove pieces of the proposal. Don’t discount your work routinely. It kills sales in the long run.
Don’t Depend on that One Big Lead
Novice sales people always think that they can succeed with one or two big, hot leads. Over time, I have learned that it’s more important to fill the pipeline with a large number of possibilities than it is to depend on one big lead. When that one big lead falls through, you are left with nothing. Practice chasing large and small opportunities and you will be the most satisfied.
Don’t Let Uncertainty Stop You
Some of us sales people came from a technical background and did the work that we are now selling. As a technician, it is important for you to know as much as possible about how you are going to do the work. When you become a sales person, it is my opinion that you should focus more on the art of estimation and rely on your instincts as much as facts. If you actually had to have every detail worked out before making the sale, you would never be able to deliver a proposal fast enough to close the sale. Whatever you do, don’t let uncertainty stop you. Do your best to get accurate information as quickly as possible so you can close up the deal.
Six Sales Mistakes I Used to Make used with permission and originally published on GabeArnold.com
Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity. ~ Lou Holtz