Behind their assertions of self-confidence and annoying arrogance is an undeniable fact: It takes guts to get the endless unknowns and oddities of customers. But that’s what salespeople do.
At the end of the day, it isn’t how many calls you make, appointments you go on, or proposals you prepare. It’s how much revenue you chalk-up. Some sales are better than others, but every sale counts. After losing a sale, how many times have you said, “I can’t believe it. I was sure I had that one.”
(Related: How to Avoid Looking Stupid in Marketing and Sales)
No one sets out to lose a sale. But it happens. That’s why recognizing the danger signals can help avoid unnecessary losses. Here they are:
1. Deciding who will buy and who won’t.
No matter what they may say, no one dislikes disappointment more than salespeople. So, they come up with the clever little trick to avoid it by claiming they can tell if a customer is going to buy or not. Having been through it so many times, they have a sense of what’s going to happen.
This thought process helps avoid the downer of disappointment. You knew the outcome, so just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on. It also erases the need to analyze what you could have done differently to get the sale.
2. Assuming the sale is a sure thing.
Because selling is a tough game, salespeople are prone to believe that having “the right attitude” they can influence the outcome of a sale. If they think the sale will go their way, it will.
Unfortunately, this approach keeps the focus on the salesperson and takes it away from the customer. To try to do both at the same time doesn’t work, as Stanford University has shown with multi-tasking research. In fact, they found that the human brain is built to do one thing at a time.
This suggests that salespeople are at a disadvantage if they try to keep the focus on both themselves and the customer at the same time. It’s counterproductive if they try, and it may send a signal to the prospect that the salesperson “isn’t all there,” which is exactly the case.
3. Playing the “friend game.”
The salesperson’s mission is to present a compelling case for winning the order, not to make a friend or to feign friendship just to get the sale. Customers can see through such thinly veiled tricks. They’ve seen it and they don’t like being used.
More than anything, the goal is to be viewed as competent. Impress the customer by being laser focused on the customer so that you thoroughly understand the business and the issues and can differentiate yourself from the competition.
If a friendship should occur, it will be after you get the account, not because of it.
4. Quitting too soon.
For serious salespeople, the “Urgent” sign is lit up all the time. Get in, get the order, and get out. And it’s understandable and even commendable because that’s what gets the job done. But not always.
There are times when you can be too sure of yourself and overly confident. After giving it your best effort, you decide the prospect can’t make a decision or isn’t serious.