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The biggest mistake salespeople make… and how to avoid it

If you’ve been in sales for longer than five minutes, there is a high chance you have experienced the challenge of selling to prospects who are reluctant to buy. They appear keen at first, saying all the right things, and you excitedly think they are a ‘hot prospect’ who will be ‘closing soon’. Yet many months down the line, the ‘hot prospect’ is yet to make a decision and you get nothing but radio silence.

So why is this? After all, you have set your agenda, you have worked hard to show them your value and you have clearly outlined the next steps.

Where did you go wrong?

Well, the answer may be a little closer to home than you think.

It could be that you are thinking too much about you.

A lot of the time when selling to prospects, the sales process we follow is dictated by our agenda. We focus on what we want to get out of the call or meeting. We talk about how we can help. We lead our prospects through our selling process and often think that they are nearer to making a decision than they actually are.

Buyers, on the other hand, do not care at about our sales process. In fact, they do not really care about us, our agenda or our goals at all. Instead, they care about their own problems, their own goals and they follow their own buying cycle.

If we try to force our prospects through our sales process, we actually make it very difficult for them to buy. This is because both parties are seeing the purchasing decision from entirely different perspectives.

Although it is great to know your sales process as it allows you to track and control the sale, if we do not adapt it to buyer psychology, we risk becoming blinkered to what our buyer wants and how they make decisions.

You will be pleased to know that there is a predictable buying cycle that every client goes through before making a purchase:

  1. CHANGE: They see a reason to shift from the status quo. If there is no recognition of change, they will not buy.
  2. CHOOSE: They find a provider who aligns with their brand and has a solution they believe will deliver results. If they are not fully bought into the brand and the solution, they will not buy.
  3. CHAMPION: They drive consensus internally and sell their choice to (on average) 6.8 stakeholders. If they don’t do this effectively, and all the key stakeholders are not bought in, they will not buy.

The biggest mistake in sales is to look at everything from the salesperson’s perspective and not that of the client.

In order to connect with your buyer as they move through their buying cycle, it is important to shift your perspective, so you see things from their point of view. Focus on making it easy for them to buy.

A better approach when selling to prospects:

Whether you are writing an introductory email, about to pick-up the phone to a prospect or putting together a pitch, ask yourself these questions to shift your mindset to the client’s perspective and plan the perfect approach every time.

  1. THE GOAL: Work out what you want to achieve.

Ask yourself: What’s my goal? What action do I want them to do as a result of this? What impact will it have? How will I know it has worked?

  1. THE REALITY: Work out what your client experiences, from their perspective.

Ask yourself: What is their reality? What does their day-to-day look like? Are they using another supplier? Do they get loads of emails/calls every day? What do they like? What do they hate? What is the process for change in their organisation?

  1. THE OPTIONS: Work out what 3 or 4 things you can do to make it easier for your client to say yes, from their perspective.

Ask yourself: What wouldn’t work? What would be the worst/ hardest thing you could do? What would work? What would be the best thing you could do? What do they need to see to gain confidence in you? When is the best time to approach them, and where? How could you surprise / delight them? How can you make it easiest for them to say yes? How could you best help them champion change?

  1. THE WAY FORWARD: Commit to your approach and go do it.

Ask yourself: Which options am I going to choose? When am I going to do it?

By running through these questions before a sales activity, you will experience first-hand the power of seeing things from your client’s perspective. Your perspective will change and with it you will experience new ideas of connecting in a way that is right for your client.

In summary, in order to change your results when selling to prospects, you have to change your perspective. Make it easy for your client to buy and they will make it easy for you to sell.

Help to make it easier for your client to buy from you, by downloading our free white paper on Sales Excellence.

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