Most sales strategies focus on what you and your team should be doing to increase sales effectiveness. This makes sense, given the fact that an effective sales team will need to be actively implementing strategies that close deals and create happy and loyal customers.
However, there are some all-too-common sales practices that can have a significantly negative impact on overall sales effectiveness. These practices are not simply the inverse of best practices. Rather, they are actions that sales representatives often engage in, knowingly or unknowingly, that negatively impact their success.
The following are four mistakes that sales teams often make. We recommend taking steps to ensure that no one on your team is engaging in them.
Lying or “embellishing” about what a product does
Historically, there is a tendency for salespeople to have a reputation that is less-than-trustworthy. Everyone is familiar with the stereotype of a used car salesman, and it is certainly not a positive one. While the reputation of sales professionals has increased slightly since the 1970s, only 8% of Americans consider car salesmen particularly ethical or trustworthy. Outside of the car industry, Salespeople only perform slightly better on ethical and trustworthy metrics.
This means that both consumers and business owners are already wary of salespeople, and will take any evidence of unethical behavior (such as lying or exaggerating about products cost or capabilities) as confirmation of their suspicions. Your team will be significantly better off if they are straightforward and upfront about what your company and your product or services can and cannot do. If you can distinguish yourself as a trustworthy sales team, it will pay significant dividends over the long-term.
Forgetting customer-specific information in follow-up calls
Every customer is different, and the needs of one may in fact be the exact opposite of the next. Going into a follow-up sales call without customer-specific information can make the customer feel as though they are just another sale, and will make them less likely to develop the trust and rapport with your sales team that is necessary for successful outcomes. In order to prevent this problem from occurring, it is imperative that your sales team have a protocol in place to record and retain information about potential prospects and customers. You might consider developing an Insight Panel of questions that represent the most important information to uncover over time. This data can be captured and you can easily score how complete and how effective the discovery process has been.
Making follow-up calls too often
If your team simply has a list of leads that they call at every opportunity, potential customers are going to quickly become annoyed with them and your company. Instead, your team should have a set schedule for follow-up calls, as well as a system for reminding them when it is time to call. This will prevent your team from calling too often (or not often enough). It is particularly important that your team has a set contact plan to ensure that a consistent experience is delivered all of the time. This will also create baseline metrics from which you can test and develop continuous improvement.
Approach every sale with a different strategy
This one might seem counterintuitive at first. After all, listening to, understanding, and reacting properly to customer issues is a major part of an effective sales strategy. However, using a disparate approach with each potential customer will lead to missed steps and opportunity. Your team should have a standard, yet flexible, process that ensures that strategy selection is from an approved set. In fact with proper capture of customer insights this process can be automated.
Correcting these four selling mistakes will help your team make the most of their opportunities and will ease them into a more effective Insight Sales Process™. Download our white paper to see how easy it is to take advantage of these new sales techniques.