For many years, the conventional view held that sales success was mostly a matter of luck. Top players were described as “naturals,” and that elusive “it” factor was believed to be something you either had or you didn’t.
Although the top sales gurus still recognize that some people are just more naturally inclined towards sales than others are, the prevailing belief today is that sales success is much more the result of skill than of chance. In other words, with enough diligence and effort, you can learn to be a more effective sales professional just as readily as you could teach yourself to speak a foreign language or master a new software program.
With the economic woes facing many in the IT space today, most VARs can’t afford the risk of having a sales team with sub-par skills. How does your team’s sales acumen stack up? Refer to this list of common sales mistakes to see if any of your sales personnel may be prone to these potentially costly gaffes, pitfalls, and missteps.
Approach the sales process from a collaborative mindset. The era of viewing a sale as an adversarial situation that pits seller against buyer is long past. The new paradigm frames the sales process as just one phase of a long-term, mutually amenable partnership. Don’t take an overly aggressive approach, and try to avoid falling into the bad habit of viewing prospects as “the enemy.”
Ask the right kind of questions. Every skilled sales professional knows that questions are a key component of the sales process, but it’s even more important to ensure that the questions you’re putting forth will elicit the kind of information you need. Research effective interviewing techniques to increase your skill at formulating and posing the right questions to your clients.
Respond effectively to objections. Many sales professionals view objections with dread, but in reality, they can often be a boon when you’re trying to close a difficult deal. An objection shows that your prospect is interested enough to have questions and concerns about your products. Even more importantly, an objection offers you another chance to use persuasion to overcome potentially deal-killing hesitation on the buyer’s part. Don’t treat these unparalleled opportunities lightly!
Follow up early and often. Whether the deal closes successfully or gets lost in limbo, it’s up to you to make the most of the momentum and rapport that your interactions with the prospect have generated. Don’t squander the opportunity by failing to follow up and follow through.
Shake off rejections and setbacks. It happens to the best of us, so don’t let the occasional “no” slow you down. Don’t take rejections personally or view them as a definitive assessment of your sales skills. Most importantly, don’t let the occasional setback rob you of your confidence.
Are there any common sales mistakes that you’ve seen befall others or that you’ve personally overcome? Add your nominations to this list in the comments.