People always tell me I have a natural gift with sales.
A knack, or a way with people, that leads them to one inevitable conclusion.
Closing the sale.
But I want to be honest with you. I don’t have any sort of natural gift. I was actually a rather awkward kid. Shy to talk to girls. Book smart but with zero “street” skills.
I was actually a bit of a geek in school.
Not the traits you consider with big-ticket sales, and I’ve definitely come a long way since then. And that all has to do with practice.
- With practice you learn what you’re doing wrong.
- With practice you refine and improve your process.
- With practice you figure out where it’s going pear shaped.
But it can be frustrating, right?
As you push through deal after deal but you’re not able to close. You’ve got prospects blowing up in your face and you’re struggling.
Of course, when it comes to advice one size doesn’t fit each and every situation, but there’s a few hard and fast reasons you may be locking in less deals than you should be.
You didn’t spark a connection
It was in a business communication class at university where my professor told me you’ve got seven seconds to make your first impression.
Seven seconds, for a random person you’ve just met, to determine whether or not they like you. Whether they feel a connection to you.
If you want to sell effectively, people have to like you.
Because prospects buy from people they like. They open up, share, and are willing to actually talk to the people they like. If they don’t like you, you’re going to struggle.
First your presence is a powerful force.
Did anyone notice the transformation Joaquin Phoenix made in Joker?
When he finally snaps, he is instantly more likeable because he’s confident. His body language is speaking louder than words ever could. Confidence plants the seed for trust to develop.
Then comes the connection.
If you’re throwing up walls, acting aloof and uninterested, people are going to turn away.
But if you’re engaging, asking questions, and genuinely interested in your prospects (throwing a bit of your personality in too), you’ll be well placed to start forging the connection you need.
You talked too much
Simple as that.
If you don’t give a prospect the chance to get a word in edgewise, you’re killing the deal before it even gets off the ground. Your prospect wants to feel heard.
And if you’re doing all the talking, you can kiss that lead goodbye.
Sales calls are almost like a first date.
You need to ask questions.
You need to listen.
And if all goes well, maybe you get the chance for a second date.
But if you’re doing all the talking, and none of the listening, you’re going to be the one who gets ghosted.
You didn’t ask the right questions
I struggled with this initially, because I looked at every lead coming into my agency as a prospect. Wasting hours and hours on quotes and pitches, only to hear crickets.
In retrospect, they were never really good leads to begin with.
Because not everyone is going to fit your model for a target customer.
And that’s OK.
What you need is a plan that allows you to quickly and effectively reach this conclusion.
Some sales reps have a questionnaire they tick off, others use pre-qualifying surveys and landing pages, but when it all comes down to it, there’s three things that are key.
- Are you speaking to the final decision maker?
- Is their business ready for the product you’re selling?
- Do they have a budget that aligns with your rates?
If you’re not properly qualifying a prospect, things go astray fast. You need to ensure they are a good fit, before you start trying to sell them anything.
You didn’t tap into their problems
I’m going to be a bit brutal here, but your prospect doesn’t care about your product.
They don’t care about all the bells and whistles, the features you’ve worked so hard on.
What you need to realize is they’re in pain.
Something is going wrong, and that’s what’s triggered them to reach out. It’s at this part of a call you start tapping into the potential problems that may exist, asking probing questions that, you guessed it, gets your prospect talking.
Ask a question, then shut up and listen.
If I’m selling a new website, I’d ask about the results they’ve had with their current one.
If I’m selling a landing page, I’d ask about the performance of their last big campaign.
Because the client is only in it for the payoff. They don’t want the features you’re selling, they’re actually only interested in solving the problem they currently face.
You didn’t get to the heart of the problem
That’s the secret, what your prospect really wants to uncover.
(even though they may not realize it themselves)
Once you figure out the particular problem that exists, you need to push deeper, asking why, understanding the pains and challenges that exist.
The question I like to ask here is usually something around the lines of, “what would your business look like today if this was no longer an issue,” or “how would a solution that solves XYZ transform your current business?”
The trick, is to get your client describing this ideal scenario.
Because as they start talking about the real crux of the issue they have, it triggers a realization. You’ve guided them on a path, Inception-ized them if you like, that plants a seed in their brain. They now see and understand the consequences.
If your solution solves this core issue, and they’ve made that same realization themselves, they are in a very good place to buy what you’re selling.
You didn’t connect your solution to their needs
Tied into the last point, it’s your job to ensure they actually make this realization.
You need to ask the right questions, get to the heart of the problem, and make it crystal clear how your particular solution, is what they’ve been looking for.
I like to frame this part of the call like this.
“So, as I understand it, you’re looking for a solution to address ABC and XYZ, that caters to Pain #1, Pain #2 and Pain #3. Our product…”
You simply repeat back to them, almost word-for-word, everything they’ve talked about so far, but with an additional hook.
How your product solves every challenge.
It’s more than just listing features. You need to tap into the benefits your product provides, that are highly-specific and directly-related to the challenges this prospect faces.
Many deals fall apart at this stage, and if you’ve ever had someone tell you “but it’s just not what I’m looking for,” there’s a good chance you’re failing to connect your solution to their needs.
You overwhelm with too much info
This reason is all about overwhelm.
If you dump too much information on someone too quickly, they’ll just shut down.
The problem arises when you haven’t actually been listening to their needs, and instead of highlighting the two or three key benefits the customer needs…
You start listing off feature, after feature after feature.
You’re no longer crafting a pitch tailored to the prospect, you’re just reciting a list of info you’ve practiced, rehearsed, and it becomes too much.
They tune out, stop listening, and push back.
Because it sounds too hard, and they don’t have the energy or effort to do it.
What you need to do, is focus on their core needs, and show them exactly what they need to hear, and that you were actually paying attention when they talked.
If you can limit your pitch to what they need, once they get a handle on that you can start to try an upsell. Don’t do it right out of the gate.
You put too much pressure on
High pressure sales tactics only serve one outcome.
To burn your bridges with that particular prospect.
If you’re not taking your cues from the customer as you walk them through your sales pipeline, you’re probably going at the wrong pace. And unfortunately, that usually means you’re going too fast, and the prospect on the line, is feeling the pressure.
Not only does it leave a bad taste in their mouth, it reeks of desperation.
And that’s the last thing you want to do when closing a sale.
If a prospect feels like you don’t have their best interests at heart, you’ll lose the sale.
Simple as that.
You didn’t ask for the sale
Finally, and this is probably the biggest mistake you could make.
You didn’t ask for the sale.
There’s a natural point in every sales call where a particular prospect has all the information they need. You’ve tapped into their needs, found the heart of their problem, and presented your solution as the ideal way to solve every pain point they have.
Here is where you need to stop talking, and make your close.
If you fail to hit this point, and keep talking and talking and talking, you can talk yourself out of a deal. Raising potential issues that weren’t even previously considered, or uncovering additional problems your solution simply doesn’t solve.
Learn to read the room, and when the time is right be confident in asking for the sale.
Think now back on all of those sales calls that perhaps didn’t go quite as you planned. And be honest with yourself. Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes?
Heck, I know I am. But awareness is the first step, and once you know what to look out for, you can take a measured approach in avoiding each of these nine reasons you’re killing the deal. Do it effectively, and you’ll quickly start booking a heck of a lot more business.
Keep up the great work,