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Tip of the Day – Six Sales Sins

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Here are six common mistakes salespeople make and how to avoid them.

1. Fuzzy Thinking
If you can’t describe the objective of your interaction in one sentence, you may be guilty of fuzzy focus, trying to say too much at once. You’ll confuse your listener, and that doesn’t make the sale.

Decide exactly what you want and need to accomplish in this contact. What would be a positive outcome? For example, imagine that a busy executive says, “You have exactly 10 minutes of my time to tell me what you want me to know about your company. In one sentence, tell me how I should describe your benefits when I talk to my managers tomorrow.” At any stage of the sales process, you should know in advance why you are interacting, what benefits you are offering your prospect or client, and what you’d like the next step to be.

2. Talking Too Much
Salespeople often talk too much about themselves and their service or product. They make a speech rather than having an exchange or interaction, otherwise known as conversation.

The key to connecting with a client is conversation; the secret of client conversation is to ask questions; the quality of client information received depends on the quality of the questions – and waiting for, and listening to, the answers. In fact, a successful encounter early in the sales process should probably be mostly open-ended questions, the kind that require answers other than just “yes” and “no.”

And, don’t rush on with pre-programmed questions that pay no attention to the answer you’ve just received. Learn to listen, even pausing to wait for further comments. Silence draws people out.

3. No Memorable Stories
People rarely remember your exact words. Instead, they remember the mental images your words inspire. Support your key points with vivid, relevant stories.

Help them “make the movie” in their minds by using memorable characters, exciting situations, intriguing dialogue, suspense and humor. Telling stories of satisfied clients and painting a picture of how this client’s condition will be improved with your product or service is appropriate.

4. No Third-Person Endorsements
There’s a limit to how many bold claims you can make about your company and product results, but there is no limit to the words of praise you can put in the mouths of your delighted clients. Use case histories of your clients’ success stories about the benefits they received from your service or product.

When you are using their actual dialogue, you can say much more glowing things about yourself and your company than you could if the words were your own. Your endorsement stories should use the same ingredients as a good Hollywood movie: Create memorable characters, use vivid dialogue, and provide a dramatic lesson learned.
5. No Emotional Connection
The most powerful communication combines both intellectual and emotional connections. Intellectual means appealing to educated self-interest with data and reasoned arguments. Emotion comes from engaging the listeners’ imaginations, involving them in your illustrative stories by frequent use of the word “you” and from answering their unspoken question, “What’s in this for me?”

Obviously, a customer is going to justify doing business with you for specific analytical reasons. What gives you the edge is creating an emotional connection, too. Build it by using stories with characters that they can relate to and by providing a high you/I ratio, using the word “you” as often as possible and talking from their point of view.

6. Not Having a Strong Opening and Closing
Engage your audience immediately with a powerful, relevant opening that includes them. For example, “You have an awesome responsibility.” Then fill in what it is: increasing sales, reducing errors, cutting overhead, whatever your product can help your prospect do.

Another excellent strategy is to do some research. Then you can say, “Congratulations on your company’s recent success,” and describe it. Or, “I love your new commercials.” Most salespeople start by talking about their company. Talk about your prospect instead.

From Advantages magazine.


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