Anyone who doesn’t think the landscape has changed for sellers over the last 10 years is either not paying attention or in denial.
More and better competition, social media, the internet, and increased buyer savvy are just a few of the factors driving the changing landscape of professional sales.
Here are the top 3 Sales Fails that I see most frequently in my role as a sales trainer/consultant:
Doing the same thing and expecting different results: Many companies are still asking modern sales professionals to emulate the same mix of prospecting activities that “the company was built upon”.
While that may make sense on the surface you should ALWAYS be tracking/challenging your prospecting results to know what activities are working the best in today’s environment.
Most of the firms I work with are now moving proven social selling tactics, video selling, white papers, and digital marketing ahead of some of the “old school” tactics such as cold calling and door knocking.
We still advocate “making the dials” but only after they have been “warmed up” by more effective methods of generating interest.
Chasing unqualified prospects: While this isn’t a new problem it is even more critical than ever to make sure you are only working with truly qualified prospects. If you are seeing a lengthening of your sales cycles, your sales funnel is full of the same prospects from one quarter to the next, or your closing ratio is lower than you feel it should be, there is a pretty good chance your team is not qualifying effectively.
We have a saying, “qualify hard and sell easy” which goes hand in hand with “put the pressure on the process and not the people”.
A structured process of defining what merits a qualified prospect (actionable pain, willingness to spend the money, a thorough understanding of the decision process, and an agreement to take action if the proposal is aligned) is imperative.
Applying this process in an unemotional manner while being okay with no as an outcome will insure only qualified prospects make it to the proposal step.
No formal process in place for generating referrals: In today’s selling environment it is more important than ever to make sure you are not leaving referral generation to chance.
When I ask new clients how they get most of their customers many quite proudly state “we get most of our business from referrals”. While that is indeed something to be quite proud of it is not a scalable process if it is left to the customer to decide when to make referrals on their own.
There are many ways to make it easy to set up a great scalable referral generating engine using tools such as LinkedIn, etc. That being said, the bottom line is you have to ask and then make it incredibly easy to refer you in a way requires minimal effort on the part of the client.
There it is, 3 common Sales Fails that can stop a business from reaching their full potential for growth. Please reach out if you have any questions or comments, we love hearing from you.
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