Before you read any further, read the heading again. Our tendency is to say, “Oh that’s not me, I’m a professionally trained salesperson.” Really? Successful salespeople generally have a very high confidence level. It’s one of the reasons for their success; but, beware when you become over-confident. If you’ve been selling for any length of time, you have fallen into the 80% at one point or another.
The 80% number comes from a survey done by RainToday of over 200 buyers of professional services. You may not sell professional services, but the results are applicable to all salespeople. And, worth reviewing. Taking a look at the selling process from the buyer’s perspective can always be beneficial – even if we may not like what it says about us.
Most Common and Highest Impact Problems
This is the most interesting and helpful chart from their survey. The ranking is by most frequently encountered problems, but the highest impact on gaining new business is also very relevant. When you look at the combination you can get some sense of where to invest your time in correcting problem areas. Resist the urge to think that you don’t need to improve somewhere. If you really aren’t sure which problems pertain to you, have someone go on a call or presentation with you and give you honest feedback. Here’s the chart, followed by six tips to get you back on the path to closing deals.
6 Steps on the Path to Closing More Deals
- Listen. This one might seem very obvious (a no duh issue), but with the high percentage it is much too frequently a problem. It is clearly a problem that buyers still see too often, and it is costing you deals. Take a good, hard look at your listening skills.
- Ask Questions to Understand Needs. It’s not surprising that both listening and understanding needs head the list. You can’t do one without the other. Do your homework before your appointment in order to craft targeted and relevant questions, then listen to their answers – listen very carefully. It will help you immensely with the next step.
- Craft Compelling Solutions. It is virtually impossible to get this one right without the first 2 steps. With 63% of buyers stating they would be much more likely to consider a purchase given an improvement in this area, you would be crazy not to work on improving this. But, don’t forget #1 and #2 first.
- Keep Your Commitments. Don’t be late with anything. The buyer looks at the sales process as a test run of what they can expect when they become your client. Being late for anything is not the standard you want to communicate to a potential buyer.
- Be Careful With Past Examples of Your Work. This rates low as a problem, but ranked as the highest impact. There is no doubt that past examples can be helpful and demonstrate your experience and expertise. Make sure that they are relevant to the existing situation you are dealing with. Don’t just throw out a big name to impress the buyer. It’s best if your example is in the same industry.
- Watch Your Level of Enthusiasm. This seems to be a “goldilocks” conundrum. Too much and you’re in trouble, not enough and you might not get the deal. The impact levels are high for both, so you need to pay close attention to how your prospect is reacting to you. There is no magic formula for this one. Pay careful attention to the attitudes and the body language of the buyer and adjust your level of enthusiasm accordingly.
Improvement in any one of these areas could make a big difference. Identify your most glaring and start working on that one today.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think? What has your experience been in these areas? Do have some good examples that we could learn from? Leave your comments below.