There is a lot of debate over how much of the buying decision is made before a buyer will speak to a salesperson. Some have said as much as 70%. But irregardless of what that actual number is, the fact remains that with much more educated buyer prospects and a shorter amount of time for you as a salesperson to connect with buyers, you can’t afford to make mistakes.
With so much information for buyers to sift through, the last thing you want to do as a salesperson is make a buyer’s decision more difficult. Your job as a salesperson should be to empower the buyer.
But , empowerment in sales can be a delicate task. After all, you don’t want to turn over total control of a conversation to the buyer, but you don’t want to overwhelm the buyer with excessive attention either.
- Being overly responsive
- Caring too much about being liked
- Being overly conflict-averse
- Dominating the conversation
- Letting prospects dominate the conversation
Here’s why you should avoid these common mistakes and our take on why these will hurt your sales.
1. Being Overly Responsive
Think of a time you’ve been looking for a solution to a problem you have. You aren't sure what the right solution is, so you ask a salesperson for help. The last thing you want is them going into a 30 minute dissertation on every aspect of their product or service or give you multiple pamphlets and product sheets. You just want them to answer your specific questions in a clear and concise manner so you can make a decision.
Keep in mind that your potential buyers have reached out to you for help. Remember, they are professionals who need additional information to make a decision. They don’t need you to make things more confusing or pressure them to buy now.
Instead, focus on what they need, give them guidance on what matters the most, educate them on the solutions that give them the greatest value and answer any questions right away.
Your goal should be to help them find a solution…not push them so hard that they don't want to do business with you.
2. Caring Too Much About Being Liked
Although sales involves a significant level of interaction and the building of a relationship, that’s where it ends. It can be easy for salespeople to lose sight of what this professional engagement is about...the prospect has a problem and they need a solution.
Caring too much about being liked can make salespeople lose sight of their role in your company’s sales process...to help the prospect so you can convert them into a customer. It’s common to want to develop a personal bond with another individual, but it’s easy to lose your way when you focus more on that bond than helping the customer.
This doesn’t mean you should not care at all, or be cold and robotic in your sales approach. It simply means to keep the old adage in mind, “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”
3. Being Overly Conflict-Averse
If you don’t like conflict, you’re not alone. A lot of people are averse to conflict. But in sales, it’s normal to deal with objections and tension. The best salespeople are able to embrace the discomfort that comes with conflict and use that to address any objections that a potential customer may have when evaluating your product or service.
Being well-prepared for any pushback you may receive will help you navigate these conflicts. This is another example of where having a buyer persona can benefit your sales process.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior. When determining a buyer persona, other information to take into account includes speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.
Knowing these potential concerns ahead of time can help you resist the urge to avoid any sort of conflict and back away from potential clients who may only need a little reassuring or some additional information to help them during the buying process.
4. Dominating The Conversation
Do you remember a situation in your life where you felt like you couldn’t get a word in? If so, you likely remember how frustrating that experience was and how you wanted to avoid any future experiences like that.
The same goes for sales. If you become too overzealous and talkative and end up dominating a conversation, this can hurt your ability to close a sale. Or worse, it can make your prospect walk away completely.
Most likely, the prospect will be too overloaded with information or will simply begin to feel like you don’t listen to them.
A conversation should be a give and take situation; they shouldn't be lectures.
5. Letting Prospects Dominate The Conversation
At the same time, you don’t want to just be listening. While you don’t want to talk over your prospect, you don’t want them to do the same to you. You may think you’re being helpful, but you’re doing the exact opposite.
It’s important that your prospect knows you are listening, but there’s a fine line between participating in a conversation and dominating a conversation. You need the opportunity to convey the value your product or service holds for that potential customer.
An effective way to accomplish this is to direct the conversation while leaving room for the prospect to address any concerns. While you don’t want to be aggressive, you do want to be assertive and make sure you are able to provide your prospects with the appropriate information that they need to make decisions.
Friendly, But Not Too Friendly
Being helpful is an important part of the sales process, especially in this digital age. There’s no denying that. But sometimes salespeople can become overly helpful, hurting their chances of closing deals.
Instead, focus on educating, being mindful of what your prospect needs, staying professional, solving conflict with knowledge and leading a two-way conversation. Do this, while remaining composed and thoughtful, and you’ll be on your way toward closing more deals.
Olivia is the Co-Owner and VP of Sales for InTouch. She loves getting to know and connecting with people.