In my sales coaching practice I see quite a lot that needs to be fixed or tweaked with account teams’ sales processes. So here’s my list of Top 10 Sales Mistakes based on what most often bogs my clients down. You’ll find that these are common companions to anemic pipelines and longer sales cycles. How many on my list below sound a bit too familiar?
- Waiting too long to follow up when faced with unreturned calls or emails. I had one coaching client who used to wait a full 2 weeks . . . A sure-fire way to lose momentum!
- Failing to solidly establish value based on your solution at the onset of the sales cycle. Is it any wonder then that your customer’s final negotiations come down to price?
- Selling at your comfort level. Failing to engage executive decision makers will leave you at a complete disadvantage to influencing buying outcomes. Don’t expect your contact to sell up the chain on your behalf.
- Not COMPLETLEY understanding your customer’s business. If you can’t tie your solution back to the customer’s business pains as well as corporate objectives and strategies you might as well have “JUST ANOTHER VENDOR” taped to your forehead.
- Submitting your proposal . . . And waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting. Killing time until a customer gets back to you is not a strategy for closing a deal.
- Not committing sacred time for prospecting. As a result, this critical, on-going sales activity gets relegated behind “checking my email for the 14th. time today” or better yet, “too busy closing deals”.
- Confusing being busy with being productive. Business hours should be allocated to 80% revenue producing activity. See above!
- Not leveraging resources. This includes your business network, management and specialists as well as sales support. No successful salesperson is a lone wolf.
- Not keeping up with your industry and its trends because you are “too busy selling”. Knowledge is power and it’s what sets you apart as a trusted advisor.
- Not taking a vacation because the business and customers can’t live without you. They can. .. and they do. Even the most productive manufacturing lines must go down for maintenance periodically. Take care of the machinery!
The worst mistake, however, is not adjusting your or your team’s behavior to be more effective, create more pipeline and close more deals this year and into 2014. Sales Coaching can help set concrete developmental goals and strategies to keep account managers focused on the critical success factors that drive results. Like my clients, it’s too easy to get into a style rut or forget the very basics of sales success. A coaching partner who is as committed to your sales results as you are will help you leverage your strengths, discover opportunities for growth and ditch the habits that no longer serve you.
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