Naturally, many young entrepreneurs are fueled by ample helpings of passion and enthusiasm. But you know what they say about too much of a good thing, right?
While zeal will serve you immensely in multiple business arenas, too much enthusiasm can, among other things, sabotage a sales meeting in a blink. Here are four reasons why excitement is the enemy of sales success -- and what you can do to channel your passion in a way that leads to better results:
1. You ask for the sale too soon. One of the biggest sales mistakes that young entrepreneurs make is asking for the sale too soon. I know what you’re thinking: “Why not ask for the sale? If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no,’ right?” Yes, it’s true that every entrepreneur needs to be bold enough and confident enough to “make the ask.” But the best way to make a successful sale is to treat it as a process.
Especially in business-to-business (B2B) sales, where you are selling a more costly service or solution, you need to be patient and build a relationship over time. The first time you talk to a prospective customer, you shouldn’t ask them for money. That will make them feel defensive. You don’t want your customers to feel like you’re reaching into their wallet before you even know their name.
2. You assume too much. Another common mistake on the first conversation with a prospect is to assume that the customer is ready to buy from you. Many over-eager entrepreneurs say things like, “So, I hear you’re in the market for our product” or, “I hear you’re looking to switch to a new service provider.”
Don’t assume too much. If the customer feels like you are already counting your money, they’re going to assume that you’re not focused on listening to their needs.
3. You overlook your product’s limitations. No matter how great your product might be, no product is perfect. No service provider is flawless. No company can be all things to all people. Too many young entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that they have created the greatest “new thing” since the invention of the printing press and assuming that everyone in the world will want to buy it.
While it’s good to express some evangelical zeal about your company, it’s also important to stay humble by recognizing what your product, service or solution cannot deliver. Not all customers are going to be the right fit for your business, and that’s OK. Part of being a good sales person is developing an understanding of which customers are ideally suited for what you sell.
If you have an unrealistic sense of your product’s limitations, you’re going to lose credibility with customers. It’s better to have a laser-like focus on what your product can do, who the right customers are and what unique value proposition you can offer that will save your customers time and money.
4. You promise more than you can muster. If you’re too excited about making a sale, you might be tempted to promise too much. This is one of the biggest challenges for young entrepreneurs: You’re excited to get a new customer. You’re hungry for the new business. You can almost hear them saying “yes….” So you find yourself agreeing to a faster deadline, or to a more aggressive implementation schedule, or to adding extra features or to promising more than you feel comfortable with delivering.
The biggest rule of keeping a customer happy is “under-promise and over deliver.” If you promise a client the world and fall short, they will lose trust in you, and you might never sell to that client again. It’s better to go slow. Only make promises that you know you can keep.
You might not be able to meet the needs of every client, and you might lose a sale or two in the short run, but your business will have a stronger foundation for growth if you know your limits and keep your customers happy.
How do you temper your excitement before a big meeting? Let us know in the comments section below.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.