Ask any sales person what the toughest part of their job is and you’ll be hearing about it for weeks! But the truth is that that being a part of the sales team has got to be one of the most pressure-filled yet winning experiences for individuals in the profession, because let’s face it, the company’s long term success is depending on you. No pressure, though.
While most salespersons can brag about their degrees and the greatest deals they’ve closed in the past five years, there is a certain diary of ‘should nots’ that have surfaced on the basis of their game. Trial and error may be the war cry of the sales department of any company or organisation, but sometimes even these can lead to employee slip-ups that end up costing lump-sums.
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To avoid the scandal of having lost a huge deal for the company and that imminent ‘call’ into your boss’ office, we list out a few of the greatest and most common mistakes that a salesperson often makes in the process of closing the deal.
Not enough knowledge on the product
As a sales person, you may think that poring over the product or service details the night before a big meeting will get you by, but in most cases, it falls short by a wide margin. That is because there is another factor you have to draw into conclusion – the psyche of the client. Any interested client will be shooting questions at you, and assuming that they have detailed knowledge on the subject at hand, they will definitely expect the same of you in terms of the product or service you are representing. For clients that have been actively involved in the industry you are catering to, it is essential that you prepare solutions and suggestions to all probable outcomes, old school included, so that you can be ready for the cross-fire. But for that, you need to know your product or service inside out and spend a good amount of time in becoming one with it, so as to make a convincing sale for yourself, and more importantly, for your client.
Under-prepared for presentations
The key to a good presentation isn’t limited to one’s PowerPoint skills. A presentation is a combination of what you show on the screen and what you pitch to your client, while using the help of the former. While both are co-dependent, there is no use of a good-looking PowerPoint presentation if you can’t do the talking for it. As a sales person, it is your responsibility to contain any and every information regarding your pitch in terms of the presentation, including possible outcomes, potential users and crisis-management solutions. In some cases, the sales person may prepare for a presentation within the bounds of the one they have open on screen but draw blank on the questions that follow beyond it.
Under-delivering on a promise made to customer
For many salespeople, the victory is limited to the signing of the deal. After this is achieved, they move on to the next project without ensuring whether this deal went exactly as planned. As a result of their disinterest, customers often find themselves at the wrong end of the gun because what they were promised wasn’t followed up on. For instance, a customer could be interested in the idea of a product by a diligent salesperson but not hear back from them for weeks. This could lead to a system of ‘under-delivering’ that props up and encourages the said customer to not invest time or money in the company again.
Not meeting targets on a regular basis
One successful deal may be the cause of much celebration, but it should lead to further involvement, not apathy. While most salespeople have an assigned target for the year that they are expected to meet efficiently, there are situations where they get lax after signing off one or two game-changing deals. But the problem with that is that the curve to that employee’s contribution will then face a mighty down-ward slope at the end of the year-evaluations and could place not only the employee but also the company at a great risk, in the long-run.
Drawing out the wait-period
As a salesperson, you are duty bound by your company to not act too clingy and frighten the client seconds after a deal is discussed. But it is also your prerogative to not draw out the wait-period either. Today’s client is busy reaching out to all the players in the field. As a result of the wait, in several cases, the said client ends up signing a deal with the competitors instead of the company you represent because you didn’t leap at the opportunity fast enough. For this, you need to keep on your toes and judging the situation, reach out to your client at the very first instance before he or she is snagged by the others for the same purpose!
As a closing note, we’d like to quote Zig Ziglar, who says, “For every sale you miss because you're too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you're not enthusiastic enough.”