Mistakes in Selling
Do you wish that your quest
for clients and customers were more fruitful? It will be
if you avoid falling into these common traps.
selling often feel like begging?
Too often, salespeople fail
to think of their time with a prospect as an interview to
find out whether the prospect qualifies to do business
with their company. Instead of asking the questions that
will determine whether it's possible to move the prospect
to the level of customer, salespeople often find
themselves hoping...wishing...and even begging for the
opportunity to "just show my wares" and maybe make a sale.
Think of yourself as a
doctor instead. A physician examines the patient
thoroughly before making a recommendation, using various
instruments to conduct the examination. In selling,
questions are the instrument to conduct a qualifying
examination of the prospect.
2. Do you
talk too much?
Salespeople who are too
focused on their pitch end up dominating the time with a
prospect with their talk, while the prospect must listen
(whether they're interested or not. As a result, for every
hour spent in front of a prospect, five minutes is spent
selling the product or service - and 55 minutes saying
things that might actually be buying it back. Result: no
order, canceled order or "I'll think it over."
The 80/20 Rule (80 percent
of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients)
applies to selling, as well. The goal should be to get the
prospect to do 80 percent of the talking, while you do
only 20 percent.
3. Do you
make too many presumptions?
Most companies are no
longer in the business of selling products but of
providing solutions. This is fine, except that often
salespeople try to tell the prospect the solution before
they even understand the problem. If salespeople were held
accountable for their solutions, as doctors are for their
prescriptions, they would be forced - at the risk of
malpractice - to examine the problem thoroughly before
proposing a cure. The salesperson must ask questions up
front to get a complete understanding of the prospect's
4. Do you
answer unasked questions?
When a customer says
something like, "Your price is too high," salespeople
often switch into a defensive mode. They'll begin a
lengthy speech on quality or value, or they might respond
with a concession or price reduction. If customers can get
a discount by merely making a statement, they will reason
that they shouldn't buy before trying something more
powerful to get an even better price. "Your price is too
high" is not a question; it does not require an answer.
5. Do you
fail to get the prospect to reveal budget up front?
How can the salesperson
possibly propose a solution without knowing the prospect's
priority on a problem? Knowing whether money has been
allocated for a project can help distinguish someone who
is ready to solve a problem from someone who is merely
fishing around. The amount of money the prospect is
willing to invest to solve a problem will help determine
whether a solution is feasible, and if so, which approach
will be best
6. Do you
make too many follow-up calls?
Whether because of a
stubborn attitude that every prospect can be fumed into a
customer or ignorance that a sale is truly dead,
salespeople sometimes spend too much time chasing accounts
that don't qualify for a product or service. This fact
should have been detected far earlier in the sales
7. Do you
fail to get a prospect's commitment to purchase before
making a presentation?
Salespeople jump too easily
at any opportunity to show how smart they are by making a
presentation about their product's or service's features
and benefits. They forget their true goal - to make a sale
- and end up merely educating their prospects, who then
have all the information they need to buy from a
8. Do you
chat about everything and avoid starting the sale?
Building rapport is
essential, but not if the small talk doesn't end and the
sale doesn't begin. Unfortunately, the prospect usually
recognizes this before the salesperson. The result: the
salesperson is back on the street wondering how he or she
did with that prospect.
9. Do you
prefer to hear "I want to think it over" rather than "no"?
Prospects frequently end a
sales interview with the standard "think it over" line.
The salesperson often accepts this indecision. It's easier
to tell a manager or convince yourself that the prospect
may buy in the future than to admit that the prospect is
not a qualified candidate for the product or service.
After all, isn't it the salesperson's job to go out and
get prospects to say yes? Getting the prospect to say no
can make you feel rejected or a failure. But a no allows
you to go on to more promising prospects.
10. Do you
hove a systematic approach to selling?
When you find yourself
ad-libbing or pursuing a hit-or-miss approach to a sale,
the prospect controls the selling process. Salespeople who
are disorganized in their presentation often leave a sales
call confused and unsure of where they stand. This happens
because they don't know where they have been and what the
next step should be. Following a specific sequence, and
controlling the steps through the selling process, is
vital to an organized, professional sales effort.
Creativity is a complex,
multi-faceted process. Many myths have grown up around
the process, one of which is that creative people have
no say in the matter; that somehow creativity strikes
certain people and misses others. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Creativity can be developed,
sharpened, amplified, because it is a factor of nurture
as well as nature.
You Are Creative
Everyone is. Or has the
potential to be. It is part of being human.
Consciously seek out what
you have not sought out before. Be open to new
experiences, new sources of information.
hunches, impressions, colors, textures, sounds. Keep
4. Look for
(or, better still, make) Connections.
The more varied your
interests, the greater the chance of
cross-fertilization; of combining two or more things
that have not been combined before. Look for
relationships between things that are not related.
Our own habits are what
often keep us from being more creative. The more you
follow the script, the less you can improvise. Breaking
even little habits can shake up the system enough to
allow new connections to happen, new points of view to
the Right Environment (for you).
Some people like to
listen to music, others prefer silence once they are in
the creative flow. Experiment until you find what works
Time To Create
(1) Time to sleep on it.
Time without your conscious manipulation. Time for
seemingly random thoughts and bits of input to percolate
and bump into each other. (2) Time away from the
immediate demands of work and/or home, dedicated to the
creative task at hand. In certain environments, time is
so precious that this seems like an unrealistic element
of developing your creativity. But even five minutes
could make a difference.
Don't give up on yourself
or your project. Creativity is not necessarily easy.
Make lots of mistakes. Learn from them. It is to be
expected. It is a part of the process. Keep going. There
is a paradox here because sometimes an important part of
being creative is knowing when to abandon an
All Of Your Senses
The more you utilize all
of your senses to gather and process information, the
greater the chance of those bits of ideas bumping into
each other . . . and sticking together to create a new
How Much You Know.
Adopt the beginner's
mind. Conventional wisdom may say this or that cannot be
done and then unconventional wisdom goes right ahead and
does it. Learn to look at things with a fresh eye. Don't
be afraid to ask the "dumb" questions.