What Differentiates Winners from Losers?
Winners learn from their mistakes, pick themselves up and move on from failure to success. Most winners have failed more times than losers have even tried. In baseball, the home run king has struck out more times that most others have been at bat. If Thomas Edison had given up after his first 9,000 tries we would probably still be walking around in the dark. It took him a reported 10,000 attempts to create the light bulb.
Stephan Schiffman, in his book 25 Most Common Sales Mistakes and how to avoid them (available on Amazon) lists a good deal of important items that many sales professionals stumble over. The more you can learn to avoid some of these common pitfalls the more successful and higher your sales volume will become.
We all have our own areas of shortcomings when it comes to interacting with others. Few of us are schooled in the art and psychology of inter-personal relationships and how they relate to the sales process. More likely than not small business owners are more familiar with their own area of expertise than they are with the sales process. My professional background is being a chef, managing food budgets, food costs, menus, and staffing.
Sales and marketing were not part of my paradigm. I had to learn on the fly, so-to-speak, when starting my first catering business. Here is a list of my own top ten roadblocks to sales success. I highly recommend Mr. Schiffman’s book 25 Most Common Mistakes – for the rest of the story.
As you are reading through this list make note of the areas you struggle with. Think about how many sales you may be losing due to that particular point. Then add a dollar amount to those lost sales. You should then be able to extrapolate an estimate of potential lost sales dollars for a year. The good news is – if you’re a winner you’ll learn the lessons and move forward to sales success.
Top Ten Sales Mistakes
- Getting distracted:
Focus is essential. I have somewhat of an attention deficit and require a bit of motivation to keep my focus. Two items have helped me in this area; having a powerful “why” and clearly defined goals. Your “why” is what gets you motivated and your goals help keep focus.
- Not planning the day efficiently:
Having a plan will have positive impact on both your outlook and results. The reality is that we do all have the same amount of time each day. What are you doing with those hours? Here are five points to consider in planning your daily sales tasks:
- Remember that tomorrow begins today.
- Plan your day around accomplishing your major outcomes rather than tasks that keep you busy.
- Allocate time to spend with other high-performing people.
- Build into your plan a goal you know you will be able to accomplish early in the day.
- Ask yourself, “What did I learn today and how will I use it tomorrow?”
Learn more about these day planning steps @ https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/08/5-fail-proof-steps-planning-your-day-gp.html
- Underestimating the importance of prospecting:
Remember the 1989 Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams?” One of the main themes was “If you build it they will come.” This concept may work well in the movies, but in practice, not so much. Prospecting is an essential element, especially for small enterprises. There are many innovative ways to prospect in our modern era. Many these days rely solely on social media. Those who fall into this trap are missing out on the Lion’s Share of prospective business. Nothing will ever compare to the value of interpersonal communication when it comes to sales prospecting. No, don’t ignore social media. I build social media into my own sales funnel. However, once your social media audience has turned into a qualified prospect – more direct and personal contact is required.
- Not taking notes:
Taking notes when talking to prospects, clients and customers is essential. When taking notes in person it shows that you have an interest in what they are saying. Taking notes allows you to better remember facts that are important to that prospect. Their priorities should be yours. Understanding their needs is an important part of being able to tailor your sales process to better meet their expectations.
- Failing to follow up:
The sales process rarely succeeds with a one-time contact. Consider the following sales statistics:
- 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact
- Not keeping in touch with past clients:
Keeping in touch with both past and existing clients is probably more important than following up with prospects. The bread and butter of most businesses is returning customers. The power of the Lion’s Share Network can be realized through our top tier Customer Relationship Management (CRM) component. Modern tech tools can help you better manage both your existing customer base as well as track your prospects
- Trying to convince rather than convey:
In sales it is our job to convey the value of our products and services. In our prospecting we need to be diligent in getting to know our client/customer needs rather than “rushing the sale.”
- Rushing the Sale:
“Never let them see you sweat. Never take a "no" from someone who isn't qualified to tell you "yes." Never let the nay-sayers get you down.”
Rushing a sale does little more than make you look desperate, and you run the risk of pressuring yourself out of a sale.
- Being fooled by sure things:
How many sales have slipped through your fingers that you thought were a ‘done deal?’ In sales, like in sports you must keep your eye on the ball! Keeping yourself focused on the end-game will get you more closed sales than rushing to premature conclusions.
- Taking rejection personally:
No, it’s usually not personal. No matter how well prepared you may be, relatively few sales are a “sure thing.” Oftentimes a “no” just means that the prospect may just need more information. Sometimes you have to hear a number of NOs on the way to a “yes” answer. Also, refer back to points 7-9 above.
Not getting Started – Analysis Paralysis:
Nobody appreciates being wrong. When it comes to making a decision, we all want to be “right.” One thing is true for certain – if you never start you’ll never win.
Getting started is the key component to success. Here are some points to keep you on track and avoid the trap of Analysis Paralysis:
- Set a “Drop Dead” start date for your new venture
- Do a “Reality check.” After you’ve done your due diligence and have not found any red flags, ask a friend or two to look for red flags as well.
- Curb your curiosity.
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Arthur Conan Doyle
If the information you have now answers the call, it’s time to move forward.
The Lion’s Share Network offers a proven business model designed to get your business off to a rapid start with minimal investment. The return on your investment is only limited by your own efforts and dedication. Learning the above lessons will go a long way towards ensuring your success moving forward with your own business.