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, first I need to 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 he or she wants it by and what his or her budget is. 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 is? It’s not forgetting to qualify. It’s saying “yes”.
When a potential customer makes a request, you naturally want to say “yes”. And once you say yes a few times, you’ll realize that you’re walking down a slippery slope because the customer will keep making requests. Each one of those requests will not only cost you money, but it will also let the customer know that he or she can be demanding and walk all over you.
If what a customer wants is profitable to you and you can deliver, 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 say yes constantly, even when I couldn’t deliver. This produced 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. When people are confused, they don’t become customers.
Learn to get your message out in a quick and concise 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.
Similarly to avoiding offering potential customers too much information, you will be wise to not oversell. If you’re too pushy, you’ll turn off a lot of people.
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 act like you don’t care to make the sale. At the end of the day, if your product or service is that good, the person you are selling to should feel privileged to use it.
If you are one of those people who wants 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 told potential prospects that if they wanted to work with me, they had to sign the contract by X date as I only had one opening next month. When using this tactic, I increased my closing ratio by over 50%. 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? 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 to get your message across as quickly 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 chances are there will be delays.
So, why not 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. By having them sign up right now, you can always give them a discount to entice them.
What I also like doing is to close the sale ahead of time and tell companies that 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 countless number of times because they keep 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 he or she wants to be a customer. If you can’t, this is the best time to chit-chat about random subjects that aren’t related to politics or religion.
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 closing 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.