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TODAY’S BUSINESS CLIMATE is tough for sales professionals. When good prospects are few and far between, putting your best foot forward in each sales pitch becomes crucial to your survival. Given this reality, avoid these most common sales missteps to ensure you make the most of each prospect opportunity. One common mistake is telling, not selling. Selling is all about listening. Eager salespeople have a tendency to share too much, talking about every product feature and benefit before they really understand the prospect’s needs. Instead of talking over your prospect, ask questions to identify the challenges the prospect is facing. Resist the temptation to talk much until you’ve conducted a thorough needs assessment and are ready to tell the prospect how you can solve the problem or address his needs. Talking at your prospects is another common mistake. Good sales professionals know how to engage a prospect, creating a dynamic and interactive conversation. They carefully watch their prospects, adapting the conversation based on each prospect’s verbal and non-verbal cues. Some sales professionals seem not to hear what prospects are actually saying. If you’re not properly prepared for a sales pitch, you might miss key details a prospect shares because you’re focused on what you’re going to say next. Prepare enough in advance so you can relax and really listen. Be in the moment. This will allow you to reflect on what your prospect has shared and comment thoughtfully, building rapport along the way. Accepting superficial answers can be a stumbling block, too. When asked tough questions, prospects may use evasive maneuvers in lieu of providing real, candid answers. Recognize this, and don’t be afraid to probe further. Let’s say you ask a prospect about his relationship with an existing vendor and the response is, “For the most part, it’s okay.” Recognize that he has just hinted at a possible weakness, and ask a fearless follow-up question by saying, “Tell me more about what could be improved.” Other sales professionals seem desperate. Prospects can sense when you need the sale more than they need your products or services. Desperation can make you reckless, deafening your senses. Instead, think clearly about the value you’re offering the prospect. Recognize that not every prospect is going to be a good fit for your company, and walk into a sales meeting with the mindset that you’re there to determine if the prospect is a good fit for you. Talking in platitudes is another common misstep for sales professionals. Make sure you have something substantial to contribute to the conversation. When prospects gain new, relevant knowledge through your interactions, you’ll build credibility in their eyes, which makes them more likely to take your proposal seriously. Finally, remember that there’s no reason to try reading a prospect’s mind. When you get a negative response, don’t assume price is the issue. In fact, don’t make assumptions at all. Try saying, “Tell me more about your hesitation in moving forward.” If your prospect does cite price as an issue, ask what other concerns he has. Often, if you can resolve his other concerns, price becomes less important.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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