Know-alls tend to come up empty

19/07/2018 - 08:59


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Take the wrong attitude into a sales meeting and your prospect will more than likely walk out in search of a better deal.

Know-alls tend to come up empty
If you think you have all the answers, chances are you don’t. Photo: Stockphoto

There is good and bad in all professions, sales included.

I recently received a call from a guy who said he went to a car dealer with cash, wanting a new car. The salesman was so bad he left without purchasing, still hasn’t purchased, and has told about 50 people how bad the experience was. Unfortunately this is far from an isolated experience. There are thousands of examples of poor salesmanship. But it isn’t you, is it?

Every business owner and sales pro reading this will swear, ‘It can’t happen here’. And they are dead wrong. Salespeople get cocky, think they know it all, think the customer is stupid or unwise to their tactics, treat everyone in the same manner, and end up losing the sale.

They fail to focus on the fundamental elements to position the customer or prospect for the buy.

Relax, you don’t always have to sell it; if you do it right, 95 per cent of the time the customer will buy it.

Here are 10 common mistakes made by know-all salespeople (who actually know little or nothing).

• Prejudging the prospect

By looks, dress or speech, the salesperson has made up their mind what type of person this is, and whether they will buy, or have money.

• Poor prospect qualification

Failure to ask the right questions about what the prospect wants or needs before the selling process begins.

• Not listening

Concentrating on a selling angle instead of trying to understand how the prospect wants (needs) to buy.

• Condescending

Talking above (or talking down to) the prospect. Making the buyer feel unequal in the selling/buying process. Indicates a lack of respect.

• Pressure to buy today

If you have to resort to those tactics, it’s because you are afraid of the customer finding a better deal elsewhere. Also indicates a ‘no relationship’ attitude.

• Not addressing needs

If you listen to the prospect, he or she will tell you exactly what they want or need. Sell back something that addresses those needs and the prospect will buy it. Don’t sell in terms of you, sell in terms of the prospect.

• Telegraphing closes and hard selling

‘If I can get you this price, will you buy it today?’ is a repulsive sales line reserved for salespeople in need of training, or salespeople who like losing sales. When you close, don’t make it obvious.

• Making the buyer doubt your intentions

If you change from friendly to pressure at the end of the presentation, or change terms or prices, the buyer loses confidence, and you lose the sale.

• Lack of sincerity

Sincerity is the key; if you can fake that, you’ve got it made, is an old sales adage. It’s half true. Sincerity is the key to building trust and establishing a relationship with a prospect who will become a customer if you are successful at conveying the feeling.

• Poor attitude

I’m doing you a favour by selling to you. Don’t ask me to go out of my way, because I won’t.

Here is an easy self-test to determine if you are losing customers. Can you answer ‘yes’ to these?

• Do I know my prospect’s needs before I begin the selling process?

• Am I addressing the needs of the prospect during the sale?

• Do I look at the prospect when they are talking?

• Do I take notes and ask questions to determine my understanding?

• Would I buy from me if I were the customer?

• Am I sincere?

• Will this customer bring another back for the same treatment?

I hope you can answer ‘no’ to these.

• Do I use pressure tactics to get the customer to buy today?

• Do I have to resort to telling the customer about some sales contest or sob story to try to elicit the sale?

• Do I use antiquated sales tactics and think my prospect is too stupid to know?

• Do buyers doubt my intentions?

• Are contracts being cancelled after the prospect goes home and thinks about it?

Whenever you’re frustrated or mad at a salesperson, please don’t be too hard on him or her. Usually in situations when poor salesmanship is at fault the blame goes to the person who trained them.


Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.                   


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