You know that hindsight is 20-20. What if you didn’t have to rely on hindsight to be more successful in sales? Here’s how you can save yourself the hassles in selling when you know what you need to know early in your selling.
Prevent sales results from going dead.
I was talking with several sales professionals and a common complaint is with what happens after the salesman delivers the proposal. What’s the complaint? Nothing happens. It’s not that the process moves slowly. It’s that with some customers they won’t give you an answer. Did they pick another supplier? Did they do nothing? Did they cancel the project? You never know because your phone calls aren’t returned and emails get no reply.
This should happen infrequently if your questioning strategy is good. Why? When you ask the right questions, you uncover customer concerns that the customer wants to address with a sense of urgency. That means you will get a response. So how do you prevent those sales processes that get derailed? When you present your proposal, make sure you talk about how you will be notified of the outcome. Determine the customer’s criteria for selection. If all else fails, you can go ask the secretary to get some specific information. At least there’s some chance that you’ll get an answer.
Don’t burn bridges.
If you work for a large corporation, you see a lot of people moving up the corporate ladder. You also see a lot of people moving down. Some people move up, down and then up again. The person you had a major altercation with at one level can later become your boss.
Watch how you disagree with other people. You can disagree politely with people. When the name calling starts, you’ve gone too far. Learn to control your emotions with people who tend to push your buttons. You may have a deep dislike for some people. Watch your actions. Try to be neutral instead of nasty. You might be very grateful that you held your tongue some day later on in your career.
This applies to customers, too. They move around. When you manage your relationships well you will find that your customers take you and your products with them when they move. I knew one very good sales professional who stayed in the oil business and moved to four distributors. Each time he took his business with him. He could. He was well respected. If you deliver bad service or treat a customer poorly, you will live to regret it when your customer moves to a prime prospect and they pick your competitor to serve them.
Learn from others what NOT to do.
I’ve made my share of mistakes. I would like to think that I’ve made different mistakes just once. You might be able to spare yourself even making those mistakes. Watch what other people do. When someone makes a mistake, learn the lesson without experiencing the pain. You’ve heard the expression to learn from your mistakes. What better way is there to learn than from other people’s mistakes?
Neils Bohr, the physicist, once said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.” Hopefully, with more experience your sales expertise improves. Knowing a few more mistakes to avoid will send you that much farther on your path to becoming a sales expert.