All sales professionals make mistakes from time to time, irrespective of their industry, product, or skill level; and some are more common than the others. However, when it comes to business success, there is little or no room for mistakes because each one comes with a consequence.
Let’s look at a few common errors that small businesses make and how to avoid them, thereby creating happier, more satisfied customers.
Many assume that when the going is good, business will keep coming in. However, it is important that you prospect at all times. In fact, prospecting should be made a part of the weekly agenda.
Avoiding complacency and building a solid customer base is essential to the success of your organization. Startups, in particular, can never do enough prospecting, and if this practice is developed well, it can be highly instrumental in ensuring successful sales.
Not Researching Enough
This refers to knowing your customers as well as your product/service/organization. Before you approach a specific client, you need to know what they’re all about—their method of doing business, the sales channel they prefer, and so on.
You also need to have thorough knowledge about your offerings. Your clients may have a lot of questions on their mind, and you should be adequately prepared to answer them correctly.
By simply listening to your customers, it becomes easier to figure out how to target, acclimate and focus your offerings to suit their requirements.
Not only that, you will also be successful in gaining their trust and their business, if they feel that you get what they’re trying to convey.
Presuming Instead of Asking
If you’re unclear about what your customer is asking for, you may want to be upfront and politely ask them about it. This is important to meet their expectations.
Presuming their requirements and preferences can land you in a soup, and you may end up losing customers instead of getting repeat orders.
Revealing Too Much Information
Refrain from answering unasked questions, doling out impertinent information, and providing more information than you’ve been asked for. Keep your message informative, yet succinct.
Avoid unnecessary conversation, small talk and jargon. They may just make you come across as someone who’s trying too hard to bag the deal.
While an eagerness to sell is a great thing, you also need to know where to draw the line to avoid coming across as pushy and abhorrent. By trying to oversell, you may just leave your potential customer with no room to make a good decision.
Saying ‘Yes’ to Everything
Sometimes, saying ‘Yes’ just seems like an easy way out. However, by doing so every time, you may be setting yourself up something that you may not be able to deal with. You might just end up giving up the control of the entire sales process to the client, and their requests may become never-ending.
Let your customer know you have certain parameters. It makes sense to comply with requests that work for them and profit you as well. If you think things are getting out of hand or becoming impractical, a simple ‘No’ will bail you out.
Not Asking for Referrals
Cold calling and asking for referrals is crucial and it is important to ask for them properly. Try and be specific as you can about who/what you are looking for in a potential client. No one knows better than you what an ideal referral should be like.
Following up on leads is a vital aspect of the sale process, but is often overlooked. Do not assume that just because a customer did not buy immediately, he will not be interested later on. Do follow up with him every once in a while, especially if he has requested information.
Jumping Straight to the Sale
No one will give you business on a silver platter if they don’t trust you. It is, therefore, important that you work on establishing a healthy relationship with your customers initially, instead of jumping into making the sale in your very first meeting.
Educate them about your offering(s) and point out how it can provide value to them and you’ll have them coming back.
Sales growth signifies a flourishing business. Falling sales figures can give even the most seasoned entrepreneur sleepless nights. Every customer is different and so are their expectations. And while there is no specific way to handle every single prospect, there are ways to make a better sale. Using these tips as broad guidelines should steer you in the right direction when approaching prospects and help you close that deal the right way.
Author: Stan Roach is the Chief Customer Officer at Agiliron Inc., an SaaS solution provider for Omni-channel commerce. He has over 30 years of experience with a track record of launching several B2C and B2B software products.
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