Don’t worry, although I’m quite fond of martial arts, I’m not going to present you with any ninja moves to annihilate your customers or your competition.
Rather, let’s talk about some mistakes you make in a business process.
Let’s break this down into three distinct moments.
The first moment will be when we don’t know the customer yet and want to approach them to set up a meeting.
At this stage, the biggest mistakes that I often find are related to the fact that most sales people don’t do their homework.
That is, preparing the processes for approaching the potential customer.
Many times we pick up the phone and start trying to talk to the potential customer without even knowing what they do specifically, in what way, what their economic background is, etc.
In other words, our approach is often something like:
“Good afternoon, I would like to speak with Mr. Eng. XYZ.”
On the other side, most of the time, we have a person who immediately thinks:
“You and three hundred others today!”
And who asks:
“What’s the reason?”
To which we reply:
“It was to set up a meeting with him, to see if we can work in partnership, to get to know you, to see opportunities for both companies.”
Or some other bullshit that on the other side sets off the alarms that say in big red letters, accompanied by a police siren:
And from here on it’s all lost, we get the usual.
“Can’t come to the phone, call back later next week, he’s gone on a trip to the far orient.”
But how can we avoid this?
Well, if we do our homework, we can investigate what our products can do for his company and on the phone be much more effective.
“I would like to schedule a meeting with Mr. Engineer XYZ, as we are working with some companies in your industry and given an innovative product we have, we can achieve 30% savings on your consumption of… I only need 15 minutes of his time.”
Now let’s analyze this.
1st “working with…” establishes a basis that can create curiosity on the other side and gives us credibility at the same time.
If we can use names of real clients, even better!
2nd “we can save you 30%…” gives him a clear idea that we can help him solve a problem he has.
3rd “15 minutes of your time” shows him that I will be quick and probably not waste his time.
The trick here is for him to realize what he has to gain by having us over and be thinking:
“What do I lose by investing 15 minutes of my time?”
If we accomplish this, we have already won the 1st battle.
The 2nd moment I’d like to talk to you about is the meeting process.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in this area has to do with two vectors:
Talking too much
Most salespeople don’t know how to listen.
They think that listening means mentally preparing a counter argument, or else thinking about anything but what the customer is so generously providing.
Linked to this comes the other problem.
They “talk” too much.
Instead of leading the commercial process with a few intelligent questions that get the customer talking, they advance like killers to a verbiage of commercial arguments, many of them without any connection to the customer’s real needs.
That’s why I often say to the sales people I train and work with: “bite your tongue”, maybe then they will shut up and really listen to your customers.
In the course of the post-meeting commercial process, one of the biggest mistakes I see has to do with the lack of calm on the part of salespeople.
One of the things that some salespeople don’t seem to understand, especially the younger ones, is that it’s not because they make 20 follow-up phone calls/emails that your customers will close the deal.
The only thing they will accomplish is to saturate Your customer and make him think that they are desperate.
What may be considered proactive by some is a clear signal to a savvy buyer that he will be able to squeeze the seller based on this situation.
In other words, if he is distressed, then let’s squeeze him here, that he will have to lower his prices.
In some of the professional buyer courses I attended (I like to see the other side too…) one of the things that was taught was body language patterns of desperation and need.
Trainees were taught that if these patterns existed, they could “squeeze” sellers a little harder and the potential to have good results would go up exponentially.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why I choose to teach negotiation in our sales courses from the perspective of the buyer, not the seller.
I like people to realize the extent of techniques and forms of pressure used on an inexperienced salesperson on a daily basis.
Also published on Medium.