Selling is one of the most complex disciplines and also just happens to be the most important one in any business. That said mistakes in sales are mistakes that hit you where it hurts most, your bank account. You’d want to avoid making mistakes especially these elementary ones that I’m about to highlight on. A lot of these seem harmless on the surface but we have to understand how they can negatively impact your sales and results.

Not listening

Sales are made with your ears, not your mouth. I’ve worked in sales and I recall one specific organisation where there was a salesperson who talked their way into sales. They had the highest number of sales. However, they had a large number of low-value sales and were often beaten at the value of business brought in by others because they brought in fewer but bigger sales. Listening is crucial in selling because it tells you what the prospect wants and needs. That way you can see how to best align them with the product. In addition to listening, asking questions is also very important as it opens them up more.

Not showing you care

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. When speaking to a prospect be sure not to make them feel like another number or paycheck. How does this happen? Well if you appear pushy or desperate this can happen. Finding the right solution is hard work and what customers ideally want is someone who takes care of the hard work of doing the research. A business that shows customers that they understand their circumstances and constraints goes a long way toward doing this.

Not setting face to face meetings

We are doing a lot of business online and remotely aren’t we? Face to face meetings are not old fashioned as some would have you believe and it makes sense to have more of them. All depending of course on the size of the business being done. I would not set up a face to face meeting to discuss the sale of a small generic product but if I’m providing a bespoke service it is absolutely essential. A face to face meeting allows you to sell more than your product. Who you go into business with is just as important as what you go into business with them for. And if you still need any more convincing as to why you should set face to face meetings, they are also great starting points for networking.

No follow up

Not following up on your conversations could be costing you a lot of potential customers. If you think prospects are going to buy your products at the first interaction with it you’re living on the wrong side of 1999. Follow up is absolutely essential because buyers need multiple interactions with products before even being aware of them and further when making a buy decision. In today’s market it is normal for people to check online, China and South Africa for a product before making the buy decision when you have a conversation with a prospect who expresses real interest create a follow-up. “So can I get back to Friday at 11 a.m. on the matter?”. A simple request for a follow-up.

Not reaching existing customers

Existing customers, assuming you provided excellent service as you should are really your easiest and often best customers. Referred to as back end sales they are the dream of any business. Not only are happy customers willing to purchase again, but they are also very happy to recommend other people to you. It’s going to vary widely with your type of business but the fact is communication is somewhat easier today than it has ever been. Checking on existing customers and leveraging the relationship with them can do wonders for your sales. Customer retention does much more for growth than customer acquisition.