I have shared this example many times in the past, but I personally can tell you that I learnt about this because I was making this error myself. When I was quite new to sales, I started to work for an office automation company (printers/copiers/faxes, etc.). After a couple of weeks of training on the products, we were finally allowed out into our respective territories.
I uncovered a lead, and went in to do a formal presentation for the company owner. It had been researched properly, I knew what our competitor’s machines could do, and I was all set. I delivered the brochure about the particular machine that would solve his requirements, and sold the product fabulously. What I did NOT do, was ask for the business. After doing the presentation, we carried on talking. Eventually, it required him to ask: "So, what will it take for me to get this machine?”
I realised my error, and we went through the various options of either paying cash, credit terms etc, and then I asked which he would prefer, and started the paperwork. But it took him to ask me in order to get started. Why had I not just asked him? I knew that he had been keen all the way through the presentation!
It is an error that I was careful to avoid after that, but dealing with many salespeople since then, I can tell you that they all make the same mistake.
They give you the options, do a great job of presenting the product, and then almost leave it to you to ask. I have heard one salesperson field an inbound telephone call, and instead of simply making the sale, went through so many options that the person ended the call going away to think about the options. Not once had the person asked for the business!
Sales trainers and sales coaches that either attend meetings with salespeople, or listen to recorded calls, all give this as the single biggest reason for people failing to close the sale. If you are in sales, ask yourself: Do you ask for the business every time? If you own a business or run a sales team, ask yourself: What are our closing rates? Do I know if our team is asking for the business every time? Can we improve sales by doing this?
If you answered that you are NOT doing it every time, or your staff are not, you can improve sales easily. If you know your closing rates, get people to focus on this and watch those rates go up.
So, if you want to avoid the mistake that I had been making, of not winning sales because either you or your staff are not asking for the business, then this is something that you can attend to straight away. There are multiple ways to ask of course, and can also use trail closes to get a feel for what the client is thinking. If you would like to get help for either yourself or your team on how to improve this skill, contact us for ways to do that. I can guarantee that it will see an increase in sales!
If you would like to look at other very basic ways to improve your sales ability, look at Harvey Mackay’s books, in particular “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”.
What is your opinion? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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10 Errors to Avoid in Sales