We surveyed over 130 business owners in the fall of 2011 to find trends in their actions and behaviors in correlation to their business. In our report, Movers & Head Shakers: A Study on Business Owners of Growing & Struggling Companies, we found that the biggest obstacle and fear business owners have is sales.
Responses included lead generation, selling, new business, more clients, maintaining growth, nurturing leads, but they all ultimately boiled down to sales.
Business owners often are the only person managing sales in their small business. It’s a tough job, and with marketing techniques and venues changing constantly, it’s hard to keep that sales pipeline full.
Here are 3 common sales mistakes we see business owners make, and how to avoid them:
1. The “show up and throw up”
Before the client gets a chance to talk, you whip out your 30-page Powerpoint and start chugging out information about what you do and how great you are at it before the potential client even gets a chance to talk. This leaves your prospect feeling bombarded and unheard, and on top of it, you don’t even know if you’re what they’re looking for.
Instead, get the client to talk about their problem. The more you get them to talk, the more information you can gather to identify their problem. Then, present how your services can help fix those problems.
2. Jumping the gun
Let’s say you get the prospect talking a little about the issues they’re having. Showing your expertise, you immediately point out what’s wrong and what the problem is and how to fix it. Great! …except not.
You jumped to the answer and pointed out all the things that are wrong with what they’ve been doing in no time at all. To the prospect, it doesn’t feel good. They’ve tried everything to solve it and exhausted their efforts, and reached out for outside help, and you just took a shallow look at their problem.
Instead, get them talking more, ask them things like how it all started, what’s been happening and what they’ve tried to do about it. Really understand the issue and know where they’re coming from. When they see that you really understand the issue, they’ll assume you know how to fix the problem (and they will more than likely buy).
3. Failing to close the deal
You meet with a client and it goes great. You can tell they really think you’re the solution and want to buy. Being professional, you say you’ll put a proposal together and send it to them later that week, and part ways.
Well first, great job! But you missed something – you didn’t close the deal! Yes, it’s great to put a proposal together, but if they’re asking about the cost and what working with you would look like, they’re ready to buy now. That is when the water is boiling – they’re worked up and emotionally involved and ready to go. Don’t wait until the water has boiled away by waiting until you get the proposal together. Work on getting a commitment right then, or schedule up a first meeting.
It’s always harder to get them to close the deal later on, so make them the offer then!