Based upon many years of research with salespeople, sales leaders and business owners across the globe please allow me to share ten ways to kill a sale:
- Prospect aimlessly…grab anyone who will listen and give them the same sales pitch over and over and over again
- Be oblivious to the prospects buying rhythm…just jump in and sell!
- Lead with as many features as possible…something’s BOUND to stick
- Sell as low in the organization as possible…never bother the decision makers
- Try to sell something to someone who can’t buy
- Make sure that your demos cover every aspect of every feature…or at least until your audience falls asleep
- Bad mouth the competition
- Miss deadlines…break promises
- Discount your price early and often
- Never differentiate yourself from your competition…after all; we’re all the same aren’t we?
Naturally, the best salespeople do the exact opposite. If salespeople want to improve their closing percentage, increase their average order size and shorten their sales cycle they need to make sure they follow these five steps:
- Understand your prospects needs
- Analyze the financial and operational impact of those needs
- Create a new vision with a bias towards your companies capabilities
- Differentiate yourself from your competition in the eyes of your prospect
- Cost justify your solution to make it easy for your prospect to do business with you
Let me briefly expand on each of the steps above:
Our research has shown that business “needs” normally fall in one of three distinct categories. Those categories include: increasing revenue (or increasing sales), decreasing costs (or improving profitability) or improving operational efficiencies. Make sure that you understand which of the three are most pressing to your prospect.
Step two asks you to analyze the impact of not having your capabilities. In other words, what does it cost your prospect to do business without you?
Step three enables you to create a vision with a bias towards your capabilities. In other words, paint a word picture describing how your prospect can use your capabilities to address their “needs” without ever mentioning your products name, its price or any of its wonderful features.
Step four asks you to differentiate yourself from your competition in the eyes of your prospect. Insert your unique value proposition (UVP).
Lastly, be prepared to cost justify your solutions. The best time to establish value and build the cost justification necessary to close a sale is during the need development phase of the sales cycle when the potential buyers are revealing their problems and issues.