I’ve been on many a sales call where sales people make the mistake of talking about the meeting they just had in the building of the prospect/client they just met with or they talk about it in some other public place without thinking a second thought about privacy. One place they seem to think they can talk freely in is the elevator - even if other people are in it. In no case should you ever talk about the meeting in the building where you had the meeting and you should never talk about potential deals in public places where others can hear you – including your own building. Many a deal has been lost due to careless communication in earshot of people who might find your product a threat, etc. Until you have a check in your hand and the ink is dry, keep those loose lips whispering or closed.
Are you the type that takes over when going on a sales call with a member of your team? You just can’t help yourself, you have to butt in and take control. Do you find yourself doing this frequently? If you do, you need to keep reading this post because by taking control your sales people can’t improve and you’ll wind up de-motivating, making them dependent on you and worse – you’ll fail in the end. The only time you should have to take control in a sales meeting is when the sales person gets into trouble or ask for your help.
I’ve seen it happen over and over where the sales manager manages to make the client and the salesperson dependent on them in-order to close the deal. In many cases, a salesperson never learns to close properly because this type of manager can’t lead properly. Frequently, this type of sales manager fails to make the company goals because they are doing all the selling themselves and the quota is based on a team effort not a single person. You often find this style of managing with people who were the major producers before being made sales manager. These types frequently need to be coached in letting go, leading and mentoring. If this sounds like you or someone you know or if your about to manage a sales team – ask your management to pay for a coach who can guide and mentor you away from this behavior.
How many times have you heard “I’m interested and will discuss with xxx and get back to you in a few days” or “We will take a look at this in a month” or “I’ll have my team review this and get back to you in a week”? This is often music to a salespersons ears. But there’s a problem if you keep hearing it from the same prospect and keep waiting for the deal that never comes. You need to wake-up, move-on and sell to a well qualified prospect. Funny thing is that many salespeople just want to hang in there even when they know they are being lied to. There are prospects out there that just don’t know how to let you know that they can’t buy, won’t buy, or have no intention of buying. It’s important that you validate the true level of interest early in the sales process or you may find a pipeline full of hot air. You will need to spot the time wasters early in the game. Here are some suspects you should be on the lookout for:
1) Suspect says that they are the decision maker but you never get a decision.
2) The person is in a learning mode and is using you to come up to speed. Yes, you are his/her subject matter expert and he has no intention of buying anything
3) Prospect is just interested in getting your pricing and has already made a decision on another vendor
4) Prospect is afraid of change and can’t get to yes. You need to uncover their problem and try to get them over the fear – otherwise move on.
Knowing the distinct points of differentiation of your product can help you win a deal no matter who you are competing with. In a difficult market where there are so many me to offerings, how do you sell to your prospect? What can make a prospect select your product/service over more well known brands?
One key way is to know your product inside and out and know all of the differentiating characteristics of the product. If you or the company has not done a good job of identifying those unique points of differentiation along with understanding what is most valued by the prospect, you have a problem. If you know the characteristics, you have an advantage and need to place an emphasis on what has been enhanced and what is unique about the product versus those bigger name brands.
Be sure to look at how you stack up against the competition when it comes to things like ease of use – is there a learning curve? What does product delivery look like, are there any company infrastructures advantages for the customer, any customer service improvements and what does your product cost vs those other named brands?