Some salespeople, contends Jim Schneider, president of Schneider Sales Management Inc. and author of The Feel of Success In Selling
, seem to anchor themselves in the fundamentals of selling, while others repeat the same mistakes over and over again. When comparing low sales producers to high producers in hundreds of in-depth interviews, Schneider cites these 14 most common mistakes of low sales producers:
- They focus on products and presentation as opposed to the customer and his responses. The old saying goes, A prospect doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care.
- They talk too much. By not listening, sellers lose the feel of the sale.
- They over plan. Causing sellers to miss unexpected opportunities. It may seem advantageous to fill your appointment book to the rim with meetings with new prospects, but don't neglect the opportunity to service existing accounts.
- They don't get the information they need. Good sellers don't assume a customer's objectives, they ask fact-finding, open-ended questions.
- They sell technology and product features. Customers are primarily interested in results. Sell the benefits.
- They don't establish clear differences. This thereby creates price resistance for them.
- When what they're doing isn't working, they do it again. The best sellers confront resistance and change course when necessary, they don't get trapped in the no-selling zone.
- They lose their mental toughness. Optimism and relaxation are crucial in selling. Sellers have to maintain the feel of success.
- They under plan. Sellers fail when they sell without specific objectives or don't plan for likely resistance. They succeed when they are well-prepared.
- They underestimate the impact of rapport. The best sellers adjust their selling style to the customer's relationship needs.
- They don't network. The best sellers gain the cooperation of their inside support team and build an outside network for referrals.
- They prospect only when they need sales. The best sellers continually add new prospects.
- They chase potential instead of probability. Many sellers waste their time on the big ones that always get away instead of concentrating on their most probable sales. Remember the somewhat trite, but effective, saying, Big things come in small packages.
- They don't set goals. Goals work simply because we try harder and longer to achieve them.
In a world of change, the only way to keep pace is stick to the fundamentals of selling. The most fundamental principle of selling is to sell with the purpose of solving problems for your customer. If your customer is changing, your selling will change with him.