For salespeople, success is built on more than just smooth talk and charisma. It’s about building trust, instilling confidence and delivering on promises. Sadly, a lot of people make common sales mistakes that cost them deals and tarnish their reputation.
In this blog, we’ll delve into these pitfalls, exploring sales blunders to avoid and techniques that can sabotage your success.
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Small Lies, Overpromises, and Over Confidence
One of the most fatal sales mistakes in the business world is lying. Now, that might seem obvious, and we certainly don’t mean bold-faced malicious lies.
We’re talking about small fibs that, known or unknown, overstate or misrepresent the product or service you provide. In most cases, these small fibs can originate from sales team members who aren’t fully informed about the qualities of your product or service.
If there are any knowledge gaps in their understanding of the good or service, they may, in a pinch, resort to filling in those gaps with false information just to move the conversation along.
It can be something small (and it usually is in most cases), but those tiny discrepancies will add up over time as people detect that something is out of alignment with what they were sold.
Make sure your sales team is in unity with each other, and their understanding of your brand’s product is homogenous and clear across the board. If one salesperson says one thing, make sure they’re all saying it. Not only that, but make sure the images of your product match reality.
However, falsehoods are not the sole culprits.
Another treacherous pitfall is over-promising things. It can be tempting to promise grandiose things to your prospects, and it usually leads to disappointment. Even if your claims are true, you should be sparing with how many promises you make, as it can cause people to feel cautious that you can actually deliver what you tell them, and it can set you up for falling short of the mark in a very definable way.
In this example, the dress the customer ordered does not match reality:
There is wisdom in the adage: “Promises are like fine china – they are fragile and must be handled with care.” Just like with your sales pitch, you ought to keep your amount of verbal promises and guarantees to a minimum.
Instilling Confidence: Humility Over Arrogance
Acting too confident about your offer can also be a turn off to many people, making them feel like what you’re selling them is “too good to be true”. You ought to approach your pitch with a grain of humility mixed with confidence. Know what the product or service is capable of delivering and reflect that.
So don’t overdo it or underdo it. In one case or the other, you’ll be bound to upset your customer or fail to earn their business in the first place.
Clients seek assurance that you can get the job done, not that you’re the smartest person in the room. Avoid the trap of overselling or pretending to know more than your prospects. Humility goes a long way in building rapport, especially when dealing with knowledgeable clients in specialized industries.
In some scenarios, such as selling SaaS products, you may need to possess the expertise of knowing the product inside and out. In those cases, you want to have the answer to every possible question under your belt. Anything less may present the software as lacking.
Understanding the type of sale you’re engaged in is crucial to projecting confidence without coming across as overbearing.
Navigating Your Follow-Ups Conservatively
The timing and content of your follow-up efforts can make or break a deal. While persistence is commendable, bombarding clients with frequent calls can lead to annoyance and diminish your credibility. Instead, adopt a balanced approach – reach out with value-added insights that spark meaningful conversations.
Consider incorporating marketable moments into your follow-ups. Share tidbits of valuable information, such as competitor analyses or industry trends.
Show your commitment to continuous improvement, demonstrating that you’re putting in the effort to stand out in a crowded market.
Don’t Be a Bother
How soon should you follow up with your prospects, and how many times? Not much.
Being good at selling doesn’t include incessant phone calls or an avalanche of emails; it’s about nurturing authentic connections through engaging dialogues. The discerning sales professional understands that quality trumps quantity, and every interaction is an opportunity to sow the seeds of a lasting relationship between the brand and the customer.
Take Jim Rohn for a moment and think about his simple yet poignant phrase on communication after first contact: “The fortune is in the follow-up.”
The point he’s making is that the way you follow up with someone can mean the difference between deal-breaking annoyance and a gentle tap on the shoulder. You want your follow-ups to be a gesture of reminding your prospect of the value you can offer them without being pushy or hasty.
It’s all well and good to follow up within 24 hours of the first contact with your prospect, but after that, try giving it a couple of days before you follow up again:
Give them some space to breathe and think about what you’ve said. Do not pester them daily, asking them where they stand on your offer. That will inevitably lead to frustration and cause the prospect to recoil.
Last Word on Avoiding Sales Mistakes and Winning Clients
Pursuing sales excellence is a journey of continual growth. It’s not difficult to win sales more often when you step back and reassess yourself.
You may not have control, as the salesperson, over how your prospect interprets your pitch or perceives the product or brand, but you can control how you present yourself. With how much you can control, make every effort to be genuine, down-to-earth, and as honest and forthcoming as possible.
Make sure the potential customer knows as much as you would want to know about the product. Give them answers to the important questions they didn’t know they needed to ask you. If you volunteer as much upfront about the service or product before they have the chance to drill it out of you, you’ll inevitably gain their confidence and win them better and quicker.
With that, we’ll leave you to it. Happy selling!
Repurposed from our Marketing School podcast.