Stop Doing That! – 9 Common Selling Mistakes

A big part of sales management is giving your reps the skills and training necessary to succeed, and a big part of sales coaching and training involves correcting common mistakes. Unfortunately, your sales reps could be making seemingly correctable selling mistakes without even knowing it.  It’s on you, the sales manager, to diagnose these issues and  address them in your sales coaching sessions.  Here are 9 common selling mistakes to watch out for among your reps and tell them, “Stop doing that!”

1. Wrong targets

Salespeople spend too much time selling to people who don’t wield any real decision-making power.  They should be trying their level best to speak only to the leaders who will have the biggest influence during the decision-making process.  If you get influencers on your side early, it will be much easier for them to convince any remaining skeptics on his side.

2. Jumping to conclusions

Salespeople have to make guesses and assumptions sometimes, but they need to make sure they are backed up by as much data as possible.  Rectify this situation by constantly asking your reps why – why do you think that? What leads you to believe that? That will get them thinking of ways to support their initiatives with more data and information.

3. Understanding pain points

Even though pain points should be central to any sales pitch, many salespeople don’t bother with them.  They are stuck trying to sell a product instead of a solution to a problem.  Help your reps identify the likely pain points for your client ahead of time, and then ask tough questions during opportunity review meetings to make sure they understand exactly what the client wants.

4. Insufficient research and preparation

It is easy for your reps to think they can improvise on a sales call, but they can’t.  They have to research the client thoroughly before approaching them.  This will give them things to talk about so that they can establish a connection.  It can also tell them whether the customer is a good fit so they don’t waste time on someone who doesn’t need your product.  With the expansion of web-based information and social selling, your reps have no excuse to be underprepared on a sales call.

5. Dancing around the point

Some salespeople spend too much time on small talk.  Establishing a good relationship is important, but they need to sell at some point.  If reps are too chatty they risk coming across as disingenuous.  They will end up boring the client without accomplishing what they set out to do – selling the product.  Don’t let your sales reps waste the clients’ time; some small talk is good, but they need to get down to business promptly.

6. An over-optimistic outlook

A positive attitude is welcome, but when a rep is too positive, he or she can ignore important signs that a customer is slipping away.  If this rep frames every interaction in a positive light, they won’t notice that they are losing the opportunity until it is already gone.  Help your reps be optimistic, but make sure they stay aware and realistic.

7. Focusing on activities at the expense of activity efficiency

Sales reps who are under pressure at their job will think that by bringing their numbers of dials, emails and general attempts up, it will look like they are working very hard at their job. The truth is that raw numbers of activities are poor sales performance metrics, ones that can be easily manipulated. Instead, look for activity efficiency – what are your reps’ conversion rates from calls to connects to, eventually deals? Reps with a high activity conversion ratio are much more effective than reps who simply have record raw numbers of activities.

8. A lack of expertise

Researching the prospect is not the only preparation your salespeople should do.  They need to have an extremely thorough knowledge of what they are selling.  There’s nothing worse than being unable to answer a prospect’s question about your product.  If the reps don’t know enough they will sound like stammering amateurs when they should be explaining the minutiae of what they are selling that can solve the client’s pain.  You need to fully educate your sales reps about the product so they can pass on the relevant knowledge to the clients.

9. No differentiation

If your sales reps are only giving an overview of the product during meetings, your company will end up looking like everybody else.  When you fail to differentiate yourself, you lose value. The rep needs to explain exactly why your company can serve the customer’s needs best.  Have them acknowledge the competition and prove that your company is a better fit by highlighting what makes your product unique.

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