Two of the Most Common (And Costly) Sales Mistakes

As a salesperson, when was the last time you caught yourself chasing the unchaseable? Better yet, when you do get a hold of one, and there’s interest, at what point did you mess up closing the sale?

Being oblivious to dead end prospects and flubbing the close are two of the most common (and costly) mistakes salespeople make. Let’s look at why they persist, and how you can fix the problems to improve your bottom line for 2014.

Treating Every Prospect Like “The One”

When you go all in on every prospect that pays attention to you, you’re setting yourself up for burnout and, more importantly, for fewer opportunities to close the bigger fish. If every prospect was a $40,000 or higher deal, then by all means work your tail off to get every signature. But if you’re putting the same energy and resources toward a $40 deal, the numbers game will not be kind to you.

The number of deals closed may look bigger if you try and close all the small, side projects, but will that hurt your quarterly goals if the dollar signs aren’t matching up?

Time is so precious that before you know it, the quarter’s almost up and you’re panicking because while you may have a lot of small deals closed, the bigger deals either haven’t panned out, or sign two months later than you need.

That’s because either the unmet need isn’t discovered, or it’s discovered WAY too late. Getting to the unmet needs and pushing to close big deals sometimes means you need to just really analyze which leads are small potatoes and shouldn’t eat up your time as much.

Talking Your Way Out of a Deal

Making the sale in a timely manner is high on every salesperson’s list. Going from pre-calls to building rapport and finding the unmet need eventually leads to the moment you close. But some factors get in the way: either you are met with objection after objection, or you talk yourself out of the sale.

Talking too much during the key moments of the close is dangerous for many reasons. One, you’re providing more time for the prospect to find some other doubt. Two, you’re extending your time that much more. Both of these are a detriment to that handshake, signature and deserved celebratory scream as soon as you leave their premises.

Every negotiation is about communication and knowing how to balance between silence and questioning. Salespeople are naturally chatty - and that’s wonderful. Healthy dialogue builds rapport and establishes the kind of trust you need for later.

However, if you’re about to close and you see that look in the prospect’s eye where you’ve checked off needs and see dollar signs metaphorically spinning inside each iris, don’t talk anymore. Put the coffee down, say “Let’s do this,” or “Ready to give an order it’s wings?” or whatever response you use to close… and keep quiet! 

You should have a good idea of when needs are fulfilled by how many times the customer is nodding in approval to your pitch. All too often, the sale (and talking about the sale) becomes an unnecessary game of seeing if you can be best friends, explaining how cute their kid is in their soccer outfit, dissecting the history of BBQ, and more - all before you’ve signed off on anything.

Practice being aware of the right moments to stop and let your final pitch sink into the prospect’s head. (Watch our When to Shut Up course for more).

Final Thoughts

These aren’t the only mistakes salespeople make during the stages of a sale - but these two really can sting. Lessen the bite and become better organized with your sales approach. Learn to prioritize the big fish and practice on knowing when to keep quiet when negotiations start to tip in your favor.

Learn to handle sales curveballs with our series on “Objections” right now with a free trial of Thinkzoom.

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