Are You Making These Sales Mistakes?
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Driving every business with incessant calls, door-to-door meetings etc., is the sales team. With the business vision put together, it is then transferred to the sales team to push the business forward. The sales team has to have numerous qualities – from communication to relationship building, they have to ensure that new clients for the business understand the product and are eager to use it.
However, it’s also a job which needs minimum mistakes because the sales team is the one representing your company and the business rides on their success.
Entrepreneur India spoke to start-up founders about what are the most common mistakes sales teams usually make.
Focusing Only on Product Features
A lot of times when a salesperson is pitching a product, he or she is so involved in it that they keep talking about the features of the product only. They often forget to explain how the product will actually help the client. Pranay Gupta, co-founder, 91Springboard, calls this mistake “Featuritis”! “It essentially means that the entrepreneurs tend to focus a lot on their product features versus what the key need of the client is and how they can solve for that to make the product beneficial for them,” he said.
It’s important to focus on the benefits the product will bring to the prospect. Ketan Kapoor, co-founder and CEO, Mettl, said, “You’ve spent months, even years developing and marketing your product. But the harsh reality is that prospects aren’t interested in what you have to sell. They’re interested in what your product or service can do for them.”
Kapoor believes that once you’ve discovered a need your customer wants to address, you can respond with your best solution to meet it. Keep your presentation short and simple. Prospects should be able to understand immediately what you can do for them and why they should do business with you.
Gupta has a solution for this - follow the LEM model which is - Listen, Explain and Measure. “You need to listen to the customer, explain how your product solves their problem and see if you can give a measurable benefit to the customer through your product,” said Gupta.
Just Selling Not Building Relationships
While striving to meet targets, salespersons often forget one important part of their job – to build relationships for the business. While selling your product, you have to make sure you have found a customer who will stay because of the relationship you have built with him or her for the company. “The most efficient B2B sales strategy are to stop selling. Customers want to feel they’re making a choice, not being sold your product or service,” said Kapoor.
Another problem exists here. Salespersons are often restricted only to their phones. But the bigger job lies in getting out there and meeting people to build a rapport with them. “If you’re selling an expensive, high-end product or service that requires a serious investment and understanding, you simply can’t skip on the good old facetime,” said Kapoor.
No Market Analysis
When a product is launched and the sales team goes around making the right number of calls and meeting people, it’s important to present them the whole picture. And this brings us to market research. Abhishek Agarwal, co-founder, Globepanda, believes that a grave mistake is to not do any market research related to your product or a service. “Do a proper market analysis before actually offering a product or a service,” he said and added that you have to stay ahead of the competition.
But you also have to research on the client you are approaching. While doing so, don’t be afraid to reach out to the big names, said Kapoor. “It may be easier to get in front of buyers and purchasing managers than C-suite prospects since you never have to deal with a gatekeeper in order to reach them. But those stakeholders can only help you reach the threshold,” he said.
Not Following Up/Rushing the Follow Up
Sometimes it takes multiple pitches to crack one customer. Agarwal said that not following up with the customers after numerous pitches, is a definite mistake you shouldn’t be making.
Kapoor also points out that astonishingly, 20% of the salespeople attempt five contacts or more and are the ones who ultimately win 80% of the business. “Statistics and common practice clearly show that persistence is the key to success in sales. There is no harm in persistent prospecting and success will only be achieved through perseverance,” he said.
Having said that, while it’s always a good idea to ask your prospects for a next step and follow up after each meeting, you also need to give people enough time to consider your proposal. Kapoor believes that a pushy salesperson is always a turn-off. “When it does come time to follow up, strive to understand your customer’s hesitations and be ready to respond to any objections they might have,” he said.
Being Disorganized and Inconsistent
Salespersons have to have a disciplined approach when it comes to meeting new clients. Understand that you have borrowed their time and have to be there on time for the meeting. Kapoor said that scheduling meetings with prospects without a structured sales approach will backfire.
He also said that make sure your prospects are apt to buy your product and organize leads into categories: excellent, average or weak. “Build a calendar for contacting potential customers based on their needs and the interest they expressed in your offering,” he said.
One of the biggest B2B sales mistakes salespeople make is to overpromise in order to get a deal. “Creating expectations you can’t fulfill when the time comes to deliver the product or service will frustrate your customers,” said Kapoor.
Agarwal too added that another problem is when salespersons have regular fluctuations in the price of the product or a service.