By John White
In my previous article I discussed several best practices related to B2B tech sales. Now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin: The sales behaviors that will cost you the deal, and in the process sink the company’s bottom line.
Many sales reps are guilty of over-communicating with their prospects after the initial pitch. They fail to set a proper timeline for following up. Before they know it, the end of the month nears, and big pressure starts coming down from management; once this happens, many sales executives go into panic mode and begin to psycho-dial their prospects.
What is a psycho dial, you might ask? That is when the rep calls over and over in hopes that the client might pick up. They don’t leave a voice message because they already have left one or two. Besides, most professionals hate the chore of listening to voicemail, especially in the tech world, where voicemail is considered so “1980’s.” Ultimately, psycho dialing makes you come across as desperate and pushy.
Pro Tip: Instead of calling, try sending your prospect a text. Many times your prospects are too busy to take your call. Most professionals view text as the least-invasive communication method. You would be surprised how much higher your rate of return will be via text versus calling and leaving a voicemail.
Sending the ‘Just Checking In’ Email
Avoid sending the “just checking in” email. This email contains no value to your prospect and it wastes their time.
Pro Tip: Schedule a time of when the follow-up is supposed to happen. If you contact them in between, make sure that the email contains value-based information such as additional references, or a link to a relevant blog or website.
Poor Presale Work
In order to sell the customer, you must understand their business and how your product or service can help them solve a problem. If you fail at this critical step, you will lose the deal to one of your competitors that has taken the time to better understand the prospect’s business.
Pro Tip: Invest some time researching the company prior to making the first contact.
The Hard Close
B2B sales is about making long-term clients. Pushy sales tactics only work in a transactional sales environment. The hard close is not a sustainable strategy, and generally makes you look like a jerk.
Pro Tip: Focus more on relationship building by adding value. People buy from those that they like and trust. A consultative approach will not only enable you to close more deals, it will enable you to establish long term business relationships and referrals.
Talking Instead of Listening
Many sales people make the mistake of over-selling their product. They end up talking too much in meetings. Thus, they don’t qualify their prospects business needs. The result is a lack of engagement. If you leave the first meeting without knowing the following information, you have failed miserably:
- Customer business needs
- Their time frame
- Their budget
Pro Tip: In order to properly qualify your prospect’s business needs, it is vital to ask a lot of questions. You ask the questions and let your potential client do most of the talking. It is your job to find out as much information as possible about their business so that you can come back to them with a value-based recommendation on how your product can impact their business.
Bash the Competition
Talking bad about the competition not only makes you look foolish, it turns the focus away from your solution. Bashing the competition is a cardinal sin to avoid at all cost.
Pro Tip: Do understand your competitor’s offerings so that you can strategically and professionally sell against them.
Losing a deal is a humbling and frustrating experience. If your sales team’s closing percentage is not where you would like it to be, maybe your team is committing a few of the fatal errors discussed above. That means it’s time for a re-evaluation of your techniques.
John White is a dad, MBA candidate, sales and marketing expert, B2B technology and communications consultant, and blogger.
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