Talk is Cheap ... Lost Sales are Not
Recent research uncovered nearly 80 reasons why customers dislike salespeople. Nevertheless, sales is an honorable profession. Stand out from your competition by avoiding these seven bad behaviors.
1. Failure to listen. Because salespeople neglect to listen to what their customers or prospects say, they fail to address the key issues for their customers. I remember a particular interaction with a couple of salespeople several years ago where one of them asked some great questions to learn more about my particular situation. However, his counterpart did not listen to my responses, and as a result, his solution did not address my business challenges and buying requirements. In fact, his presentation was so far off-base, I abruptly ended the meeting. Time is a precious commodity for people and when you don’t listen, you disrespect your prospect.
2. Talking too much. Many salespeople continue to think telling is selling. It’s not. Actually, a prospect or customer should do most of the talking in a sales conversation. Salespeople react to this idea by asking, “If they’re doing all the talking, how can I sell my product?” Let your customers do enough talking so you can properly present a solution to their problem or situation.
3. Lack of knowledge. In today’s information-rich world, there is no reason for salespeople to lack knowledge about the products and services they sell. Recently, a person was not only able to give me an estimate on a roof, but he knew his products and was able to speak intelligently about them and explain the differences between each. The life cycles of many products are very short and many companies introduce new products at an alarming rate. Failure to learn about your products will cost you a customer’s respect, and in all likelihood, the sale.
4. Lack of follow-up. Many salespeople say they will do something and fail to follow through. For instance, a potential customer asks for a particular piece of information and the salesperson promises to deliver it by a certain date. The deadline passes and the prospect has to call and remind the salesperson. Because the sale has not been finalized, warning signals sound in the customer’s mind. After all, if the salesperson is this slow to respond before the sale is made (the courting stage), how long will it take him or her to respond after the sale (the marriage)?