All sales people have stories about a pitch gone terribly wrong. Face it; we all have an off day here and there. So how can you ensure that you have more happy endings than bad? You can begin by taking a closer look at your approach to sales conversations to be sure you aren’t committing one of these seven deadly sins.
#1 Being Unprepared
There’s no bigger mistake than to go into a sales pitch blind. You simply cannot sell something you don’t understand to someone you don’t know. Study your products inside and out and prepare your sales pitch with all possible questions and objections in mind. Then, research your prospect thoroughly ahead of time. Having a lead source that provides detailed prospect profiles will help you gain powerful insights that can help you start the conversation off on the right foot.
#2 Talking Too Much
Nobody likes to listen to someone talk on and on. Have a two-way conversation that is primarily focused on your prospect and his or her needs. Ask questions designed to help you get to know your prospect better, and then listen actively so you can respond with follow-up questions or comments to show that you really care about what your prospect is saying.
#3 Turning a Pitch Into an Interrogation
While it’s a good thing to have a list of questions on-hand to help you keep the conversation rolling, don’t fall into the trap of grilling your prospect with question after question. Avoid anything that might result in quick “yes” or “no” answers. Instead, use open-ended questions to help keep the conversation flowing.
#4 Losing Your Nerve
Now and then, you’re bound to run into an extremely assertive prospect. In cases such as these, you may find yourself quickly losing control of the conversation. And while you need to remain friendly and respectful, it’s vitally important that you assert yourself. Take a deep breath and insert yourself back into the conversation by asking provocative questions designed to make your prospect stop and really think about what he or she needs.
#5 Having Too Much Confidence
While confidence is a must in sales, there’s no bigger turnoff than someone who is overly confident to the point of conceit. Don’t try to impress your prospect with your knowledge or experience. Instead, keep the conversation focused on your product or service and how it’s going to help your prospect meet his or her goals. That will be far more impressive, in the long run.
#6 Making It All About Price
Don’t fall into the trap of commoditizing your product or service by focusing your pitch on price. Instead, show value by talking about benefits over features. Discuss all the ways you can help your prospect solve any problems and meet their goals. If the conversation does turn to price, use that as an opportunity to assess your prospect’s budget, and then be sure to provide examples of prior clients who have had a positive return on investment.
#7 Giving Up Too Easily
Last, but certainly not least, remember to keep at it! Just because you hear no at first doesn’t mean you should just quit and move on. Studies show that only two percent of sales happen during the first conversation. In fact, 80 percent of sales are made after five or more contacts.1 Keep at it, and you’ll see the positive results begin to grow over time.
Now that you’ve discovered what you should and shouldn’t do during your sales conversations, get out there and start selling! And don’t worry if you stumble now and then. With a little practice, you’ll become a pro at anticipating and avoiding the seven deadly sins of sales conversations.