4 Horrible Mistakes You’re Making With Your Sales Process
You’re shopping for a new smartphone at a national chain, and you’ve already decided which model you want. You let the salesperson know up front that this is as in-the-bag as a sale gets. They literally just have to pull the phone from inventory, ring it up, and send you on your way.
The salesperson hesitates for a moment. Then the floodgates open. Would you like to purchase a maintenance plan? We have great deals on accessories! The model you’re looking at is nice, but have you considered this completely different phone from a completely different manufacturer?
You walk out of the store, without the phone you came to buy, and take your business elsewhere. If that salesperson had considered their sales process, they’d have known better than to push away such an easy sale. When one part of your sales process is off, the whole system suffers. If you want to make more sales, you need to avoid making these four disastrous mistakes in your sales process.
Unwillingness to Adapt
Most salespeople operate with some type of personal system. You’ve probably got a go-to way of landing appointments, a process for taking notes and managing relationships, and a regular routine for planning presentations. These are all good things, as long as you’re willing to adapt when the market changes or new sales tools emerge.
In other words, don’t do something a certain way simply because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Why sell yourself short? Take social selling, for example. Ten years ago, you’d have been branded a crazy person if you told your colleagues about your secret plan to sell on MySpace. Ten years later, and you’d be branded a crazy person for not selling on social. Times change.
The Sledgehammer Method
Let’s say your company is rolling out a brand new product, and it’s amazing. You’ve tried it firsthand, and you know the hype isn’t just marketing bluster. So you start selling enthusiastically, but your prospects aren’t seeing the value that you know the product offers.
You get frustrated, and that’s natural. You’re not selling snake oil, here, but people are still looking at you like you’re an infomercial hype-man. In this situation, the temptation to double down on your pitch is strong, but misguided. It’s like swinging a sledgehammer when the job calls for an artist’s chisel.
No matter how much you believe in a product, remember that your customers are coming from a totally different place. Grab your chisel, and chip away at their doubt with subtlety. You can’t expect to win hearts and minds by swinging a sledgehammer.
Automation is an extremely useful tool for marketers and salespeople, when it’s deployed properly. You’ve just got to remember that most consumers are turned off by certain types of automation. It’s only natural. The unwelcome email or social update is this generation’s version of the telemarketing phone-call during dinner in the days when phones had cords.
Automation doesn’t have to be like that, though. Used effectively, it’s a way to diminish your workload, while sending customers tailored content based on their demonstrated interests. It’s counter-intuitive, but you can actually use automation to make your sales and marketing process more personal. Your customer gets valuable content they actually want to see, and you get the benefits of building trust and remaining at the forefront of the customer’s mind.
Let’s say your team is already open-minded to technology. They know when to make a soft sell, and when to press the issue. You even have marketing automation set up in a way that appeals to your team and your customers. Everything’s gravy, right?
Almost. There’s one small matter left, and it can derail your sales process even when your team is doing everything else right. Your people need to communicate well, and often. It almost always takes more than one person to close a sale, in the big-picture sense, from marketers to appointment-setters the the salesperson themselves.
The sales process works best when all of these people actively collaborate. It can be something as small as passing along important information on a prospect, or as big as your marketing and sales teams getting together to decide which types of prospects you’re after and how to attract them. The point is that open lines of communication are vital to the success and evolution of your employees.
No sales process is perfect. The key is remaining open-minded to new solutions and striving for constant improvement in your process. Working in sales, you’re never far from the next game-changing technology or dramatic market shift. And let’s be honest, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? The next challenge is always waiting around the corner, and navigating it effectively often comes with welcome financial benefits.