When you’re a small business owner trying to grow her business like me, you are selling 24/7 to everyone you meet all the time. At least it feels that way sometimes. So here are some really sound tips to avoid:
1. Answering Objections the Customer Hasn’t Surfaced
Fix: Never start any sentence with “You may be wondering …” or “Perhaps you’re asking yourself …”
2. Leaving the ‘Next Step’ to the Customer
Fix: Keep the ball in your own court. Try substituting a closer like this: “I will call you next week to discuss whether it makes sense to discuss this matter further.”
3. Selling Features Rather Than Results
Fix: Figure out why a customer buys your product, rather than somebody else’s. Then sell that result, using the features to buttress your ability to deliver that result.
4. Faking Intimacy
Fix: Remain personable and professional–but no more–until such time as you actually forge a friendship, which typically takes weeks.
5. Writing a Sales Proposal Too Soon
Fix: Only write a sales proposal after you’ve got a verbal agreement.
6. Talking More Than Listening
Fix: In your mind, redefine selling as a passive activity that consists mostly of listening, considering, and reacting to what the customer does and says.
7. Wasting Time on Dead-End ‘Opportunities’
Fix: Within the first five minutes of your first conversation, ask questions that will reveal whether the customer has a real need–as well as the money to satisfy it.
8. Failing to Follow Through
Fix: Get religious about your to-do list and scheduling specific events. Only make commitments that you’re 100% certain you can keep.
9. Treating a “Close” as the End of the Process
Fix: Always aim for long-term relationships rather than short-term revenue. That way a “close” is the beginning, not the end, of the process.
10. Asking for a Referral Too Soon
Fix: Only ask for referrals after the customer is delighted with the products or services that you’ve sold.
Everybody buys, fewer people sell. Even fewer are good at it and even fewer than that actually crave it to be happy. It is however, a solid fact of life that if you own a business you have to attract and sell to other humans. Learn from those who are good at it and stop making dumb sales mistakes so you can earn the respect and liking of those humans you’re trying to attract.