If you’ve talked to me or read anything I’ve written here, you already know that I’m an advocate of the nobility of sales. That said, a poor performing sales professional may, from time to time, cut corners in order to “seal the deal”. Racing to the close, pushing into an agreement before the client is ready, omitting potential “objection creating” facts is often how our industry gets a bad wrap.
So how does a sales professional be successful? How do we avoid the end of month desperation?
Here are Seven Reasons Salespeople Fail. Use them as a cautionary tale to tell yourself and your sales team to avoid the end of month rush and enjoy the success that only a career in sales can bring.
1. Insufficient Product Knowledge
You must know what you are selling. Only after you become a master of how your product or service works, can you creatively offer solutions to your clients. If you’re brand new, use your team, your trainer, your mentor, Google, company training decks – anything – to be a master of your craft. The time of generalists is over. Knowledge is power and lack thereof is the death rattle of a sales professional.
2. Don’t Know the Sales Presentation
If you haven’t rehearsed your sales presentation, you’re wasting your time and opportunity. Even though you may have your product knowledge nailed down, developing an efficient and interesting way to deliver that value is vital to your success. Rehearse your pitch. Call yourself and leave a voicemail – how does it sound? Record yourself when you prospect – how did you deliver? Constantly adjust and improve. What you don’t measure, you can’t manage.
3. Poor Time Management Skills
This is what I love about a commission only environment. There is no place to hide. A hefty base salary and time flexibility often creates a scenario where the hustlers perform to afford the lazy a place to hide and skirt their responsibilities. If you’re not rolling out until 10am and your job is prospecting, then you’re failing. If you ordered 200 business cards and you’re 3 months into a new job and haven’t reordered… you aren’t selling. Building connections and relationships requires effort.
4. Lack of Curiosity
You can’t solve a problem that you don’t know exists. You can’t diagnose a problem if you don’t know what problems your product or service can solve. Innate curiosity is arguably the most important skill of an outbound sales professional. Be hungry, not just for income, but for information, for knowledge, and the ability to solve problems.
5. Swimming in the Wrong Lane
Know your lane. Does your company do best with companies that do less than $5,000 per month in sales with 1-2 employees? No? Then stop prospecting those customers. Leverage your time towards those types of customers whether it’s revenue, technology needs, complexity, simplicity, head count, etc. that will benefit most from what you have to offer. Know your avatar – that ideal customer – and aim your scope in that direction.
6. Diligent Intention
Often, sales people are great at starting and struggle to finish. They struggle even more to follow through once the sale is completed. The best sales people area innate problem solvers and follow through disasters, which is why they put systems in place. What is your follow through system? How intentional are you with your daily activity?
7. Lack of Activity
Let’s face it, sales is a numbers game. Whether you’re dialing for dollars, pulling the doors of local businesses, or working through inbound leads… sales is activity. The one thing that doesn’t lie is your commission check. What truths are revealed when you get your check, your bonus, your annual review? No one ever failed in a sales role from a lack of contacted prospects, a lack of follow up, or a lack of sales appointments.
In the end, it’s up to you. You are responsible for your destiny – that’s the beauty of sales. Here’s seven things to work on. If you are smashing all seven and still struggling to crush your financial objectives, it’s time for us to chat about Beyond.