Friday, July 10, 2009

5 Serious Sales Mistakes Made by Many

In today’s environment, reaching your target audience and key decision makers is more difficult than ever. Whether you are in a corporate sales position, involved in internet or retail sales or simply just pitching a solution or idea to a colleague, chances are you are making some critical mistakes that are resulting in you not reaching your goal – the sale!

There are dozen obstacles in your way – busy schedules, limited budgets, gatekeepers and communication breakdown. So how do you overcome these obstacles and engage your customer to take action? You have a small window of opportunity to entice your prospective customers to want do business with you and with your company. You must improve your skills and work through a process that delivers the optimal results. However, in order to do this, you must avoid 5 common and costly mistakes many people make while selling.

Mistake # 1: Allowing Customers to Lead the Sales Process
The customer is always right has been burned into our brains since the moment you enter into business so it is a natural action to follow the customers lead and allow them to dictate the steps of the process but before you know it, your meeting has been high jacked and every aspect controlled by your prospect.

You need to own the sales process and be in complete control of every aspect while allowing you customer to feel they are still in control. The best way is to ask quality questions that uncover specific issues, concerns or initiatives that your customers are faced with and bring them back to a similar situation where you supplied the answer and make the emotional connection that your solution was the answer. You will immediately position yourself as an expert and gain instant credibility.
Once you have this emotional connection, you can easily guide them through your process, educating them along the way as to the next steps and what they can expect. This will move you closer to your sale and when done correctly, will keep you in complete control.

Mistake #2: Focusing To Much on “The Pitch”
Many sales people feel compelled to share all the information they can with a prospective customer during the first interaction –a meeting, a sales page or a marketing message. They arm themselves with the company presentation booklets and head out to make a typical canned sales pitch.

It looks something like this:
•“Introduction to Company”
•“Products & Services”
•“Client List”
•“Key Differentiators (you know the ones – quality service, market leader, one stop shop, strategic partnerships, etc.)”
•“ Process Overview”
•and finally “Questions”.

This may be the only opportunity you have so don’t waste precious time on the “company pitch”, focus on engaging your audience and demonstrating you understand their needs and the issue at hand. Audiences need to be engaged and be part of the process early on so organize your sales discussion in a way that provokes interest in you and your company.
Treat each sales call, presentation and message as an opportunity to personalize the conversation between you and your prospect. Demonstrate a genuine interest in their problems and bring forward your solution and why your solution is the right decision for them. Stay away from generic buzz words that do not really tell the customer anything about your product and/or service and customize a discussion based upon the customer and not your company.

Mistake # 3: Selling the Features of a Product vs. the Emotional Connection
You should never focus your sales message to selling a specific product – even if that is the end goal. You are selling a result, a benefit, an experience or in other words, an emotional connection. All products are a dime a dozen even if you have the fanciest widget on the block.
Your customer will buy based upon a perceived emotion and where many sales people fail is to use emotion as an effective selling tool for closing the sale.

For example, if you are selling fractional shares of a luxury jet to the super affluent, you could focus on engine power, wind speed, and all the mechanical items that go into flying a plane, or you could focus on the status, the experience and luxury of time and create an emotional response that motivates your customer to buy. Connect with your prospect and show them how this purchase will empower them.

Mistake # 4: Not Focusing on the Specific Business Challenges
Over 90% of sales meeting are held with individuals who are satisfied with the status quo for a variety of reasons. They may be too busy, they may have existing relationships or the thought of making a change is an unbelievable undertaken that they would rather stay right where they are then even think about it. Regardless, if you do not switch the focus of your meeting to address these constraints and what it means to the individuals involved, you are making a serious selling mistake that may delay your process or end it right there.

Decisions are made by people and most people are tuned into their own radio stations WIIFM (Whats in it for me). You need to do your research and understand your prospect’s business, limitations and current situation. How will he or she be impacted? What is important for them to reach their goals? Is there a specific business challenge or issue they are faced with? And lastly, can what you are offering solve their problem and cause the least pain along the way.

Mistake # 5: Neglecting To Ask For the Sale
Many people who are selling are concerned with coming across too pushy and often look for ways for a sale to happen “naturally” so they neglect to ask for the sale. They present their ideas and solutions and lose control of the entire process at the end of the meeting and never restate what they really want – the sale. There are many ways to ask for the sale in a non-threatening, confident way where people will usually respond in a favorable manner.

It is okay to ask “what do I have to do to win the mandate for your business” and if you have demonstrated to ask for the business. In the event you do not win the business, don’t be afraid to ask for second best. Perhaps there is a second tier piece of business out there and unless you ask, the answer will always be no.

©Kellie D’Andrea & Associates

Kellie D’Andrea is the creator of the BLAST system and publishes “The Marketing Edge” a FREE award winning ezine for small business owners who want to gain the competitive edge with strategic marketing and branding techniques that actually work.

Find out the 23 Common Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs make with a FREE report offered at

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