High-Impact Entrepreneurship

7 common sales mistakes, and how to avoid them

Reprinted from Quicksprout.com. See the original post here.

By Neil Patel

Do you want to get good at sales? Because if you do, there is a lot of money to be made. But before I can teach you how to sell, I need to first teach you what not to do.

If you want to make money through selling, you don’t have to be a great sales person, you just need to avoid these common mistakes:

Don’t forget to qualify

Before you can sell, you have to find someone to sell to, right? Whether it’s someone coming to you or whether you are finding someone to sell to, the first thing you have to do is qualify your potential customer.

If you forget to do the qualifying step a large percentage of your time will be wasted on potential customers who don’t really need your offering, or can’t afford it.

Every opportunity isn’t equal. Through qualifying you’ll get a better understanding of what each customer wants, when they want it by, their budget, and most importantly you’ll be able to figure out if you are talking to the person who can actually make the decision.

If you aren’t sure how to qualify people, all you have to do is ask them simple questions such as:

What are you looking for specifically?
What’s your budget?
When are you looking to start?

Don’t be a “yes” man

Do you know what the biggest sales mistake you can make? It’s not forgetting to qualify. It’s saying “yes”.

When a potential customer makes a request, you’re naturally going to want to say “yes.” And once you say yes a few times, you’ll realize that you’re walking on a slippery slope because the customer will keep on making requests and each one will not only cost you money, but it will let the customer know that they can be demanding and walk all over you.

If you can do what a customer wants and it is profitable for you, say yes. If the request is unreasonable, say no. By setting this precedent early on, you’ll have more happy customers.

When I first started selling years ago, I had a tendency to constantly say yes even when I couldn’t deliver. This caused us to have unhappy customers and it added unnecessary stress to the business. So don’t do what I did.

Don’t offer too much information

The more information you offer to people, the more likely they’ll be confused. And when people are confused, they won’t become a customer.

Learn to get your message out in a quick and short way as it will be easier to understand. Trying to look smart by using sophisticated language or talking in technical jargon is just dumb.

When pitching customers, make sure you only tell them what they need and want to know. I’ve found that when you tell them more than they want to know by trying to throw in something that’s mind blowing, sometimes you’ll increase the likelihood of closing the deal, but in most cases you’ll just bore them to death. People have short attention spans, so be careful about dragging things on.

Don’t over sell

Similar to offering potential customers too much information, you can’t over sell. If you’re too pushy it’s a big turn off.

You have to think of sales like dating. If you reek of desperation, no one will be attracted to you. You have to be casual with your sales techniques and really act like you don’t care to make the sale. Because at the end of the day, if your product or service is that good, the person you are selling to should be privileged to use it.

If you are one of those people who want to be a bit pushy instead of just waiting things out, you can always create a sense of urgency to close the deal…plus it won’t seem like you are overselling.

For example, when I had a consulting company I would always tell potential prospects that if you want to work with me, you have to sign the contract by X date as I only have one opening in next month. And when using this tactic, my close ratio went up by over 50%. But at the same time, you shouldn’t use this unless it’s true as lying to potential customers is a bad way to start a working relationship.

Don’t lose sight of the goal

You’re in sales meetings to make sales, right? Well of course you are, so why would you waste your time chit chatting about random topics with a potential customer?

You don’t have people’s undivided attention forever, so make sure you are keeping track of time and you get your message across as quick as possible. If you have spare time after that you can start chit chatting about common interests as that will help build a stronger connection, but you shouldn’t do that until you get all of your major points across and have the person on the hook.

Don’t delay your sales

If your product or service isn’t ready, you’ll have a tendency to not sell until it’s ready. The big problem with this is that you can’t predict when things are going to be ready. Yes your engineers can give you a completion date, but the chances are there will be delays.

So why not just start selling now? You don’t have to give your customers your product or service right now, you can give them access to it in the future. And by having them sign up right now, you can always give them a discount to entice them.

Or what I like doing is to close the sale ahead of time and tell companies how there is a 30 to 60 day implementation time frame as this buys me time. This works really well in a service oriented business.

Don’t talk past the sell

After you close a deal, you need to learn to stop talking. I’ve seen people lose deals a countless number of times because they keep on talking after the potential customer is ready to become a customer. They do this by saying something stupid which makes that person think twice.

Learn to keep your mouth shut after someone tells you they want to be a customer. If you can’t, this is the best time to chitchat about random subjects that aren’t related to politics or religion.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be a good sales person to close a deal, you just have to avoid the mistakes I talked about above. If you can do that, you’ll start to close more deals and make more money.

So don’t focus your time on trying to become an exceptionally great sales person, just focus on avoiding the common pitfalls I discussed.

Neil Patel is the co-founder of 2 Internet companies: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Through his entrepreneurial career Neil has helped large corporations such as Amazon, AOL, GM, HP and Viacom make more money from the web. By the age of 21 not only was Neil named a top 100 blogger by Technorati, but he was also one of the top influencers on the web according to the Wall Street Journal.

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