Mistakes in sales?
One of the things I still find strange after so many years of working with companies to improve their business results is the waste of commercial opportunities that most companies make.
“Waste?” you are probably thinking.
We know that we have two ways to generate business opportunities in the basics of commercial activity.
Either we come to our customers.
Or they come to us.
Going to them or coming to us can happen through various strategies: commercial prospection work, marketing, advertisements, partnerships, or any other permissible and legal form.
In most cases, the companies we have worked with even have some strategies in place.
Be it having a commercial team that contacts customers and tries to open doors to validate possible opportunities, whether running ads or advertising to get customers to come to them or others.
Or a mixture of the two.
The problem is not there; the problem is that in most cases, in either situation, we waste a lot of the work we do.
Let’s look today at the situation where we go to the customers.
The typical situation is:
We call trying to set up a meeting;
- If we are “lucky”, that meeting is accepted;
- If we are “lucky” again, we can trigger a business opportunity;
- If we are “lucky” again, we present a proposal;
- If we are “lucky”, we win;
- If we are “unlucky”, we lose.
By luck, we mean effort, ingenuity, and professionalism.
My grandfather used to say that success is 1% luck and 99% sweat.
Nothing in sales is more valid than this.
The success factors in the commercial area are:
- Precisely the commitment.
- The method.
- Consistency in its application.
- The measurement of the results we obtain.
Generally, the method does not exist. Instead, each salesperson works in their way, with no common ground with the rest of the team.
Measurement is something that also only exists in some companies.
We measure the no. of meetings, no. of proposals presented, and no. of deals closed. Still, the intermediate components are only sometimes analyzed, with some honorable exceptions that we have come across.
Measuring the number of meetings held generally only tells us a little. We have to start much earlier.
Measure the number of contacts that led to a meeting.
If the number of contacts is very high and the number of meetings is low, you need to analyze with the salesperson what is happening.
For example, the way he approaches the customer or his arguments to get the meeting may fail.
Another example of failure in measurement is the ratio of meetings analyzed to proposals delivered. But, again, this is one of those ratios that few companies use.
You have to understand that can make the difference between a salesperson who works hard or someone who is tired of taking meetings and doesn’t achieve concrete results.
Again, by using this ratio, we can analyze that something is wrong and act on the commercial by examining what he does wrong in his approach.
And this is just one of the mistakes companies make in this area; another is the need for more consistency in the following off active commercial opportunities or those that have already been lost.
“Lost?” you are probably thinking.
But before we think about the lost ones, let’s go to something more fundamental.
While it is fundamental in terms of commercial activity, many companies need to follow up on the opportunities they generate more consistently.
They send the proposals, yes, because today, with the Internet, the habit of hand delivering the proposal, even if it is a very high value, is often lost.
Most of them follow up on each deal after some time, according to principles established in the team and the company (although, in truth, there are still some salespersons that say to clients that they will call them to talk about the deal in a week and that call never happens).
Now, when it comes to lost proposals or meetings that come to nothing, not even in a bid, we notice that a company rarely takes advantage of all this.
The idea is to have systems in the company that keep in touch with this kind of potential clients since we never know when in the future they will need something where we can help them.
Now, if we never keep in touch with them.
The problem here is: what is the way to contact them?
Asking a salesperson to call every 15 days is often not feasible, as it can cause saturation.
So why not resort to other alternatives?
Want some ideas?
- Invitation to an event;
- Sending specialized technical information;
- Social networking;
- Meetings with clients and potential clients;
In short, we have implemented so many in the companies we have helped that it would be difficult to describe them all here.
This week, stop for a moment to think:
“Do my salespeople make these mistakes in sales?”
Also published on Medium.