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VOL. 36 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 18, 2012

Here’s how to avoid 10 common sales problems

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Do you know what’s preventing your sales team from consistent, exceptional performance? It most often comes down to a handful of common mistakes that preclude salespeople from realizing their full potential. Once you recognize and eliminate them, you may be surprised how rapidly you see an improvement in performance.

Selling to the non-buyer: In sales, we often encounter non-buyers who may have influence over the process but are not the decision maker. They can be significant time killers. So, when prospecting, start at the top of the house. Your objective is to get a prompt and definitive Yes or No from someone with the authority to give it.

Poor qualification process: If your close ratios are low it could be a symptom of a poor qualification process. The name of the game isn’t simply about getting more prospects in the funnel; you want more of the right prospects.

Lack of prep: Salespeople who want to work smarter, not harder, appreciate the role that call prep can make in landing new business. Skip it, and you’re essentially a telemarketer.

Lack of a defined sales process: Systemize your sales process by developing tools such as CRM (customer relationship management) software that integrates with your calendar, up-to-date sales collateral, plainspoken contracts, and relevant drip campaigns that keep your name in front of prospects between conversations.

Sharing price before value: Build enough value first, and price is less likely to be an issue.

Unwillingness to accept no: Persistency in sales may be a virtue, but refusal to hear a no is just foolish. Recognize it for the gift that it is – the freedom to move on to a prospect with a genuine interest and need for what you’re selling.

Talking too much: Use the 80/20 rule. You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

Relying too heavily on product knowledge: Buyers make largely emotional decisions and then look for rationale reinforcement to support those decisions. Build rapport and trust first. Only then does product knowledge really matter.

Accepting a stall: When a prospect says, “I’ll think about it,” don’t let them off the hook that easily. Say, “Tell me more about your hesitation in moving forward.” Peel the layers until you arrive at the real objection.

Relinquishing your power: Get in the right frame of mind. As a prospect is evaluating you and your company, you too are evaluating them as a possible “fit.” If they aren’t, walk away. If you feel desperate to land every sale, your prospect sees it and you’ve relinquished your power.

Address these top sales gaffes to put your sales team on the fast track to a record year.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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