Most Common Mistakes in Selling

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Most Common Mistakes in Selling

Do you wish that your quest for clients and customers were more fruitful? It will be if you avoid falling into these common traps.

1. Does selling often feel like begging?

Too often, salespeople fail to think of their time with a prospect as an interview to find out whether the prospect qualifies to do business with their company. Instead of asking the questions that will determine whether it's possible to move the prospect to the level of customer, salespeople often find themselves hoping...wishing...and even begging for the opportunity to "just show my wares" and maybe make a sale.

Think of yourself as a doctor instead. A physician examines the patient thoroughly before making a recommendation, using various instruments to conduct the examination. In selling, questions are the instrument to conduct a qualifying examination of the prospect.

2. Do you talk too much?

Salespeople who are too focused on their pitch end up dominating the time with a prospect with their talk, while the prospect must listen (whether they're interested or not. As a result, for every hour spent in front of a prospect, five minutes is spent selling the product or service - and 55 minutes saying things that might actually be buying it back. Result: no order, canceled order or "I'll think it over."

The 80/20 Rule (80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients) applies to selling, as well. The goal should be to get the prospect to do 80 percent of the talking, while you do only 20 percent.

3. Do you make too many presumptions?

Most companies are no longer in the business of selling products but of providing solutions. This is fine, except that often salespeople try to tell the prospect the solution before they even understand the problem. If salespeople were held accountable for their solutions, as doctors are for their prescriptions, they would be forced - at the risk of malpractice - to examine the problem thoroughly before proposing a cure. The salesperson must ask questions up front to get a complete understanding of the prospect's perspective.

4. Do you answer unasked questions?

When a customer says something like, "Your price is too high," salespeople often switch into a defensive mode. They'll begin a lengthy speech on quality or value, or they might respond with a concession or price reduction. If customers can get a discount by merely making a statement, they will reason that they shouldn't buy before trying something more powerful to get an even better price. "Your price is too high" is not a question; it does not require an answer.

5. Do you fail to get the prospect to reveal budget up front?

How can the salesperson possibly propose a solution without knowing the prospect's priority on a problem? Knowing whether money has been allocated for a project can help distinguish someone who is ready to solve a problem from someone who is merely fishing around. The amount of money the prospect is willing to invest to solve a problem will help determine whether a solution is feasible, and if so, which approach will be best

6. Do you make too many follow-up calls?

Whether because of a stubborn attitude that every prospect can be fumed into a customer or ignorance that a sale is truly dead, salespeople sometimes spend too much time chasing accounts that don't qualify for a product or service. This fact should have been detected far earlier in the sales interview process.

7. Do you fail to get a prospect's commitment to purchase before making a presentation?

Salespeople jump too easily at any opportunity to show how smart they are by making a presentation about their product's or service's features and benefits. They forget their true goal - to make a sale - and end up merely educating their prospects, who then have all the information they need to buy from a competitor.

8. Do you chat about everything and avoid starting the sale?

Building rapport is essential, but not if the small talk doesn't end and the sale doesn't begin. Unfortunately, the prospect usually recognizes this before the salesperson. The result: the salesperson is back on the street wondering how he or she did with that prospect.

9. Do you prefer to hear "I want to think it over" rather than "no"?

Prospects frequently end a sales interview with the standard "think it over" line. The salesperson often accepts this indecision. It's easier to tell a manager or convince yourself that the prospect may buy in the future than to admit that the prospect is not a qualified candidate for the product or service. After all, isn't it the salesperson's job to go out and get prospects to say yes? Getting the prospect to say no can make you feel rejected or a failure. But a no allows you to go on to more promising prospects.

10. Do you hove a systematic approach to selling?

When you find yourself ad-libbing or pursuing a hit-or-miss approach to a sale, the prospect controls the selling process. Salespeople who are disorganized in their presentation often leave a sales call confused and unsure of where they stand. This happens because they don't know where they have been and what the next step should be. Following a specific sequence, and controlling the steps through the selling process, is vital to an organized, professional sales effort.








How to Develop Personal Creativity

Creativity is a complex, multi-faceted process. Many myths have grown up around the process, one of which is that creative people have no say in the matter; that somehow creativity strikes certain people and misses others. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creativity can be developed, sharpened, amplified, because it is a factor of nurture as well as nature.

1. Believe You Are Creative

Everyone is. Or has the potential to be. It is part of being human.

2. Broaden Your Interests

Consciously seek out what you have not sought out before. Be open to new experiences, new sources of information.

3. Prepare to Create

Gather information, hunches, impressions, colors, textures, sounds. Keep Notes!

4. Look for (or, better still, make) Connections.

The more varied your interests, the greater the chance of cross-fertilization; of combining two or more things that have not been combined before. Look for relationships between things that are not related.

5. Break Habits.

Our own habits are what often keep us from being more creative. The more you follow the script, the less you can improvise. Breaking even little habits can shake up the system enough to allow new connections to happen, new points of view to form.

6. Provide the Right Environment (for you).

Some people like to listen to music, others prefer silence once they are in the creative flow. Experiment until you find what works for you.

7. Provide Time To Create

(1) Time to sleep on it. Time without your conscious manipulation. Time for seemingly random thoughts and bits of input to percolate and bump into each other. (2) Time away from the immediate demands of work and/or home, dedicated to the creative task at hand. In certain environments, time is so precious that this seems like an unrealistic element of developing your creativity. But even five minutes could make a difference.

8. Persevere

Don't give up on yourself or your project. Creativity is not necessarily easy. Make lots of mistakes. Learn from them. It is to be expected. It is a part of the process. Keep going. There is a paradox here because sometimes an important part of being creative is knowing when to abandon an unproductive idea.

9. Maximize All Of Your Senses

The more you utilize all of your senses to gather and process information, the greater the chance of those bits of ideas bumping into each other . . . and sticking together to create a new something.

10. Forget How Much You Know.

Adopt the beginner's mind. Conventional wisdom may say this or that cannot be done and then unconventional wisdom goes right ahead and does it. Learn to look at things with a fresh eye. Don't be afraid to ask the "dumb" questions.


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