It's no secret that the main goal of any commercial company, regardless of its size and profile, is to make a profit. The amount of profit, in turn, depends on the number of successful transactions that you enter into with your customers, or, more simply, the number of sales. They determine the fate of your business.
Most companies fail not because of a bad concept or lack of demand for their goods and services. The main reason for their failure is not enough effective or incorrect actions in the field of marketing and sales.
If you notice that the level of sales in your company has decreased or just stopped at one point, do not rush to blame the government, a bad economy or competitors for your troubles. Surely, you yourself have done or are doing something wrong.
Next, we look at the 10 most common mistakes in sales that many entrepreneurs make, both beginners and more experienced ones. Try to avoid them at all costs. After all, your money is at stake.
- 2. Lack of appropriate tools
- 3. Inability to listen to customers
- 4. Excessive concentration on details.
- 5. Wrong attitude to customer failures.
- 6. Negative comments to competitors
- 7. Failure to use all possibilities
- 8. Lack of follow-up on potential customers.
- 9. No sincere desire to help customers.
- 10. Conclusion of transactions, which then have to regret
- Constantly learn - on others and your mistakes
1. Lack of a clear plan
Success in any field is impossible without a carefully designed plan. Imagine that you set a goal - to learn English. It sounds too vague, right? First, it is not clear by what time you plan to achieve your goal; secondly, it remains a mystery how you will assess your progress. If your goal is too blurred, then you will constantly postpone it for later.
If in your plans there will be more specifics, then it is likely that you will nevertheless begin to embody it into reality. “To learn English over the next three years, then work abroad” is already much better.
However, your overall plan should also be divided into intermediate steps so that you know exactly what steps you need to take at the moment. In the case of the English language, they should sound as follows: "Attend language courses three times a week" or "Do at home every day for half an hour."
In the field of business, vague plans are generally unacceptable. After all, you are aiming at a specific profit, expressed in numbers, and not at abstract income. Therefore, the target profit that you seek to make, for example, in 5 years, should be divided into annual, monthly, weekly and even daily profits.
Let's say your goal is to earn 5 million rubles in 5 years. Then your intermediate goals will look like this:
- Earn 1 million rubles a year;
- Earn 83 333 rubles per month;
- Earn 20 833 rubles per week;
- Earn 2976 rubles a day.
Of course, your income will not always coincide with these figures. The main thing is that it does not differ much from them in a smaller direction.
With concrete numbers in front of you, you can improve your business processes. For example, if the daily profit of your company is far from the desired value, you will understand that your current sales tactics are no longer working, and start looking for a replacement for them.
2. Lack of appropriate tools
Every businessman should have the tools to help him make sales. These include, first of all, the so-called customer relationship management systems or CRM systems. They store important information about your current and potential customers, as well as help to monitor the various stages of sales.
Secondly, this is a quality website that contains detailed information about your sales offer. At the same time, it is necessary to pay special attention to the design of its landing page, which we have already spoken about more than once (for example, in the articles on the Landing Page Design and 21 typical landing page problems). After all, it is able to turn your potential customers into real ones.
And finally, you need good sales professionals. They are the ones who interact with your customers directly and make deals with them. The success of your company depends on their professional and personal qualities. So be very selective when hiring employees in the sales department. Make sure they really have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience.
3. Inability to listen to customers
The proverb "the word is silver, silence is gold" is especially relevant in the field of sales. Most of the time, you have to listen to your customers, and not tell them about the benefits of your products and services.
What problems worry them the most? What prevents them from sleeping at night? How will their lives change if they can solve their problems? Without knowing the answers to these questions, you will not be able to offer your customers solutions that will be in demand with them. Therefore, try to thoroughly examine all their complaints, requests, difficulties, to know how you can help them.
4. Excessive concentration on details.
When you carefully listen to your customers, and you have the opportunity to speak, you should not go into unnecessary details of your offer. For example, if you are helping any company to develop an Internet marketing strategy, you should not explain to them how the AdWords service works, what the essence of link building is, or what the specificity of promotion in social networks is.
Customers pay you not for your knowledge, but for ready-made solutions. Because you should not overload their heads with extra information. The main question that interests them is how you can solve their problems. If they need additional information, they will require it themselves. In general, you should not run ahead of the locomotive and inform customers of the details that in most cases they are not interested.
5. Wrong attitude to customer failures.
Entrepreneurs lose a lot of lucrative opportunities, perceiving customer failure as the end of a deal. In other words, they immediately surrender, without making attempts to convince potential buyers of the benefits of their product.
In fact, customers do not refuse your offer at all. By saying no, they hint that they do not understand your proposal and do not know how it can help them. They simply do not have enough experience to evaluate its real value. You yourself have to prove to them that your products and services are just what they need.
Imagine that your company is selling a new model of vacuum cleaners with a number of featured functions. Customers have not used them before, so their first reaction is expected. Surely, they will bring many arguments to not buy your product, for example: "It costs too much", "It is too heaped up" or "I do not believe in its effectiveness." What will be the actions of short-sighted entrepreneurs? That's right, they will immediately put an end to these clients, arguing their decision as follows: "This is not our client. What is the point of spending time and energy on it?"
Wiser businessmen will do otherwise. They will try to convince customers. For example, if the potential buyer is confused by the price of a vacuum cleaner, they will say to them: "In fact, the price of our product fully corresponds to its quality and functions. Let me explain to you what the advantages of our vacuum cleaner are." If a client is confused by the excessive number of functions of a vacuum cleaner, you can give the following answer: "Our company’s vacuum cleaners do indeed have many functions that greatly improve the quality of cleaning. Our experts will help you understand them."
In general, use all the features to change the negative customer perception of your product. If the client is deaf to your arguments and insists on his own, well, then you are already powerless ... You should not be too intrusive. Most importantly, you have attempted to convince a potential buyer. And the final decision depends on him.
6. Negative comments to competitors
Even if you hate your competitors and just dream of their failure, you shouldn’t talk about it with your customers. Otherwise, they will think that you are not sure about the quality of your goods and services and want to rise by lowering your opponents.
This does not mean that you should in every way praise your competitors and talk about how wonderful they are. Just try to be restrained and diplomatic when asked about them. For example, you can say the following: "Yes, this company also provides similar services, but I'm not sure if it can solve your problem. You should contact her and clarify all the details."
Let customers decide which company is better. If you want them to give preference to you, work on the quality of your sales offer. If you are the best, not in words but in deeds, they will choose your company without thinking.
7. Failure to use all possibilities
Your meeting with a potential client may have different outcomes. At best, you can convince him of the benefits of your product and immediately make a deal with him. What businessman does not dream about it?
However, not always everything works out the first time, and this is not a reason to despair. Even if the client doesn’t peck at your offer right away, you can arrange for him to meet again in the future.
If you realize that the client is not at all interested in your services, you can benefit from this situation. Ask him to recommend your services to your friends and colleagues. Thus, you can attract new customers to your company.
As you can see, there are no hopeless situations. As a sensible entrepreneur, you can wrap all circumstances in your favor. The main thing is to think big.
8. Lack of follow-up on potential customers.
According to statistics, only 1 out of 10 potential customers acquire goods or services of the company immediately after the first meeting or conversation with its representative. For the remaining 90% of potential buyers, follow-up measures are necessary, for example, to schedule them to meet again or call them again. Otherwise, you will miss a lot of profitable opportunities.
If it seems to you that this category of clients is not so important, let us go back to the statistics. Imagine that you meet with 10 potential customers every business day. It turns out that you communicate with 200 new faces every month. Suppose that only 10% of them make a deal with you. Thus, each month, accumulates 180 potential customers that you have not yet managed to persuade to purchase. And their annual number will reach 2160. And you still want to give up the opportunity to convince them?
9. No sincere desire to help customers.
In some situations, a potential customer needs products and services that you cannot offer them. It also happens that your prices simply exceed the capacity of its budget. You understand that the client cannot solve his problem. In this case, you will not get material benefits by helping him. What to do in such situations? Pretend that "my hut is on the edge, and I do not know anything"? Or still try to help a person, even if it does not bring you a penny of profit?
The second option is much more reasonable. After all, not everything in this world comes down to money. It's not for nothing that they say that the Earth is round: today another person needs your help, and tomorrow you may need his help. So if your company is not able to solve the problem of the client, recommend him the services of a company that can help him, even if she is your direct competitor.
Imagine that you run a large network of bookstores. One day a middle-aged man comes to you, wishing to acquire a rare textbook for his son-pupil. Unfortunately, there is no such book in your stores. If you know that it is definitely in your competitor’s store, why not let the buyer know about it? Thus, a person will save a lot of time and effort, getting rid of aimless searches, and will be very grateful to you.
10. Conclusion of transactions, which then have to regret
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid communicating with the category of "difficult" customers who demand too much from you. For example, they ask you to give them a big discount or to take other actions that are contrary to the norms adopted in your company.
The only solution in such situations is a polite refusal. Try to explain too arrogant customers that your company has rules that are not accepted to be violated.
In no case, do not compromise your principles, just to make a deal. Such actions can ruin your reputation, and potential clients will no longer trust you.
Constantly learn - on others and your mistakes
The ability to sell is an art that needs to learn throughout life. It comes only with experience - no academic degrees and titles can replace it for you. Someone else's experience can save you only from some mistakes, but not all. After all, the path of each entrepreneur is unique, so it is impossible to predict all the difficulties that you may encounter.
The most important thing is to keep a finger on the pulse and monitor the level of sales in your company. This indicator, like a litmus test, speaks about the success of your business. If the sales volume in your company meets your expectations and even exceeds them, you can be congratulated. This means that your sales methods are effective. If the number of deals concluded over the last month does not please you, it is time to sound the alarm. This means that your sales engine failed. Your task is to identify its faults and immediately eliminate them.
Translation and adaptation of material Doltika 10 Sales Blunders No Entrepreneur Should Ever Make