When you’re getting in the mindset for success, there are many pitfalls that you need to avoid. For example, customers might generally dislike salespeople for the following reasons:
- Not listening and talking too much
- Lacking knowledge
- Failing to follow-up
- Being dishonest
- Failing to understand their needs
- Refusing to take no for an answer
The good news? All of these things can be avoided. Here are preventions and remedies for each of those pitfalls.
- Not listening and talking too much. For one thing, I've always been of the mind that when you're selling you should be talking maybe 25-30% of the time and listening during the rest. Realize that language is sacred. And so is silence. You need to just stop talking and start listening to your customer! Also, remember that the way you reply isn’t only important in the context of what you tell your prospects, but also what you tell yourself. You want to proceed with a sense of positive expectancy.
- Lack of knowledge. Before you come to the table you should already know something about your prospect and what their industry is all about. You should also be aware of how to reframe your benefits so that they can be measured with the yardsticks your your prospects are already using to measure their success. What’s more, people are more than happy to finally encounter a professional who understands the industry well enough to give them guidance to move forward.
- Failing to follow-up. One of the best traits of highly successful salespeople is consistent follow-up. I’ve written about this many times before, but no matter which method and cadence you choose, it needs to be an integral part of your process. Your relationships need to be maintained, otherwise your customers will catch on to the pattern: that you contact them only when you need something.
- Being dishonest. Of course, lying has no place at the table. No one wants to be lied to while making a deal. And if you’re good at what you do, there would never be a reason to lie! If you're smart, you’ll choose the products and services that represent your goals, values and mission in life. You'll do all the research you need so you don't over-promise and under-deliver.
- Failing to understand their needs. I'm not sure where I figured this out, but I will tell you that it changed my life. For example, instead of prospecting a building and saying, “Oh boy, this looks rather shabby and I don't think it’s worth selling to,” you could say, “Well, think about how much deferred maintenance we could solve with our offering.” If you look at things in a different way, there’s no telling what you can bring into a sales interaction.
- Refusing to take no for an answer. Okay, sometimes being persistent is appealing. If you think that what you're selling is really going to help someone, then that persistence might be appropriate. Likewise, if there has been a misunderstanding or a lull in communication, it’s your job to fix that. The key is having a legitimate reason for communicating. If there isn’t one, then your persistence will eventually turn your prospect off.
The bottom line is that if you truly believe in what you’re doing, you will faithfully recommend your offerings to people who could genuinely benefit from them. No embellishing. No interrupting. Being honest. If you’re looking for supplemental information on how to be a consummate sales professional, I recommend reading Stephan Schiffman’s The 25 Sales Habits of Highly Successful People and The 25 Most Common Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. They can give you a deeper dive and broader understanding of how to sharpen your sales skills.