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Five Mistakes to Avoid in Selling

Are you wondering why you lost a deal even after putting 100% effort? Did not figure out why your prospect said ‘No’? We feel you.

All of us talk about proven tips and the obvious ways to win a deal. But how often is it that we sit back and contemplate the reasons for losing one? That is why we have summed up five mistakes even the best sales reps could commit when pursuing a deal. Read on.

  1. Not preparing for a sales meeting
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    You might think that meeting with your prospect is as easy as presenting your solution and returning with a win. But it’s not that simple. Preparation is the key to a successful meeting.

    “What can I do to make my meeting successful?”, you ask?

    • Research. Your first task must be to learn about your prospect and their requirements. Visit the prospect’s LinkedIn or Twitter profile and note their position, activities, skills, and interests. Visit the profiles of the prospect’s organization to learn about its size, industry type, recent updates, and other critical details.
    • Plan the meeting.Value your prospect’s time – create an agenda for your meeting and share it with your prospect. The agenda must contain details such as the objective, duration, participants, discussion points, and the location of the meeting. This will save your prospect’s time as well as yours.
    • Rehearse for the meeting. To succeed, you must practice. Hold a rehearsal meeting with your colleagues and ask for feedback. Focus on your choice of words, statements, and questions, and the action that you want your prospect to take. Work on your improvement areas, and you’re good to go.
    • Note the MOM. Write down the minutes of the meeting – the discussions that took place, decisions that were made, and the actions that need to be taken. They will help you in your future conversations with the prospect and finding the perfect solution for them.

  3. Selling where there’s no need
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    If you try to sell to a prospect who doesn’t have a necessity for your product or service, it is highly unlikely that you will build a long-term relationship with them. They may buy from you but may not need you in the long run. So, how do you find out how important your offering is to the prospect? Here’re some ways:

    • Create buyer personas.Buyer personas are descriptive profiles of ideal buyers, containing details such as their age, ethnicity, gender, hobbies, income, designation, and other details. When you define buyer personas, you can assess your customers’ interests and buying habits. This way, you will not end up pursuing the wrong deal.
    • Identify your value in their business. Does your product/service add significant value to their business? Does it solve their most concerning problems? If you think you have the ultimate solution for them, go ahead and make efforts to sell. Else, take a backstep.
    • Pay attention to their budget. If your product/service does not fit their budget and you cannot settle for a lesser price, then it is unlikely that they will buy from you. If they extend their budget to buy from you, then you may be their ultimate problem-solver.

  5. Trying to sell to the wrong person
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    In small companies, there is usually just one stakeholder. But in large organizations, there are many people involved in the decision-making panel, and you must identify the right stakeholder. Perform Stakeholder Analysis to identify the person you should focus on to close a deal.

    Understand the pain points, gather requirements, and propose your solutions to the right stakeholder. Maybe even do a little research to learn about them – google them or find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or public forums. This way, you’ll understand your prospect and know what will make them buy from you.

  7. Attempting to sell in the first meeting
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    You are meeting your prospect for the first time. You obviously don’t know about their requirements. So, trying to sell in the first meeting is a big NO. Instead, place your efforts in making the first impression.

    Here’re a few things you can do to make a positive first impression:

    • Try to build a rapport. Show sincere interest – address them by their name or compliment them genuinely for a thing that you admire about them, maybe their office, work culture, or website. Find your common ground; this is a great way to build rapport.
    • Listen to their concerns. Give your prospect a chance to speak and listen carefully. In fact, listen more and speak less. This will show that you are genuinely interested in them.
    • Ask questions. Ask open-ended questions that get your prospect to express the challenges that they’re facing. Ask questions to gain clarity about their problems – you may ask them about their objective, expectations, budget, and their needs. In cases where a prospect rejects you, you may ask them, “Why not us?”, so that you can make improvements to your offering.
    • Empathize with their situation. Don’t propose your solution right away; also, don’t brag about your offering. Wait. Empathize with their problems and tell them you have their back. Then, tell them what you’ve got to ease their problem.
    • Be friendly. Smile. Maybe even crack a little joke. But also give them a chance to talk about themselves. Don’t be too rigid. This might make your prospect uncomfortable.

  9. Exhibiting or proposing the wrong solutions
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    You make this mistake when you don’t listen. So, the key to successfully solving a prospect’s problem is to listen to them. Don’t pitch in your solution before thinking it through. If you do, you may win the deal in some cases, but it won’t help you in the long run.

    And, in cases where your prospect’s problem does not fit your solution, do not hesitate to say ‘No.’

When all is said and done, building an emotional connection with your prospect, planning, and research will help you crack a deal. If you only focus on generating revenue rather than trying to solve a prospect’s problem, then you are on the wrong track. As it’s said well by Katherine Barchetti, a successful American upscale retailer, “Make a customer, not a sale.”

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