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Are You Turning Off Your Prospects? Handling a qualified prospect well can dramatically improve the bottom-line of your business

By Sharat Sharma

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As the prospects turn into happy customers they not only help you achieve your sales numbers but also help you grow your business by offering quality referrals.

Every time you interact with a prospect on a sales call or a sales meeting, the key to success is to make the prospect believe that you can solve their problems and give them the solution they are seeking. Yet, most sales executives are focused on closing the numbers and getting the sale done much before understanding the customer and adding them right value.

Their focus is narrowed only to add a number of accounts/ clients to their list and not to solve the problems. When the sales executive is in tremendous pressure and only wants to close the numbers, they sound irrelevant, the pitch sounds repetitive, the selling pressure becomes evident and it turns-off the prospect from engaging in any further dialogue.

Speaking and facilitating high-impact sales workshop, one comes across following mistakes which most sales executives end-up doing which is a big turn-off to most prospects.

1) Faking Enthusiasm

Have received that sales call or been in that sales meeting where the sales executive has a solution to all your problems, the one who is overly enthusiastic and smiles at every objection. The one who never wants to say "NO" and nods to every question with a grin? The only focus of this sales executive is probably to get the sale done for which he is willing to fake the enthusiasm.

Probably they believed in the old adage - FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT! That's what some sales trainers and coaches often advocate as well. As you FAKE it, the prospect can easily differentiate between real and fake enthusiasm. The moment he feels it, the only thing the prospect can think of is a NO.

Well, showing enthusiasm is bad but faking enthusiasm or faking energy during conversation is a big turn-off. The prospect can easily differentiate that you are faking it.

Next time watch-out you can never make it if you fake it!

2) Not Being Prepared

Going on a sales call or a sale meeting unprepared is like going to a war without a weapon. In war you might die but in a sales call/ meeting, you will end up being embarrassed and may as well get humiliated.

Most sales executives are in hurry to close their numbers. They pick up the phone and dial in without doing their basic preparation. As soon as the prospect gives a nod and asks few questions, you are stumped. You also fail to build that rapport.

The prospect wants you to be prepared. They want you to know about them, their organization and their industry. They want you to be one step ahead of them. If not at least they expect you to build the rapport and know them during the meeting.

When the sales executive walks-in without any basic preparation and starts from the scratch, it's a big turns-off. The prospect values their time and wants you to value their time as well.

3) Not Listening/ Ignoring

Your aim during the prospecting call or the presentation is to listen to the customer and know their need. Your customer wants you to listen to them and expect a customized solution and not a generic solution.

On the contrary, most sales executives are all about themselves and their products. They do not see anything beyond the product that they are selling. They are not attentive to the things that the prospect is sharing. As a result they fail to build the rapport and offer customized solutions.

When sales executives are not lending their ears to listen and understand the prospects are turned-off. Sales executives must develop service mind-set than selfish mind-set. They must listen to the prospect than just the numbers they are chasing.

4) Creating Selling Pressure

Have you heard them say - Always Be Closing! If you have spent some time in sales you have heard this.

Many sales executives are trained hard to believe that the mantra to succeed in selling is "Always Be Closing". When sales executives adapt this mantra, they often end-up believing that they need to close the sale as early as possible. They try to create unreasonable pressure on the prospect to get the deal done and at times they as well try to up-sell/ cross-sell too early.

When you are always creating unwanted pressure it turns the prospect off and they take the business elsewhere. They think that you are not someone who believes in adding value and which turns off the prospect.

5) Not Demonstrating Authority

In the age where information is just a click away, your prospects want to know more than they already know. They do not want you to show them the traditional information which is just a few clicks away.

Most sales executives are trying to impress the prospect with statistics which are irrelevant to their work or business. They do not customize the information for the client and fail to demonstrate authority in what they are speaking/ presenting.

Showing irrelevant information or available information demonstrates poor or lack of authority. This is a big turn-off for a prospect.

These common mistakes done by sales executives not just make them lose out on getting their sales done but also lose out on opportunities to build a growing business.

What are the mistakes that you have seen your sales executives do? What mistakes have you done in the past which serve as a great lesson today? Do leave your comments.

Sharat Sharma

Co-founder, IAM Human Capital Consulting

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