1.) Not Doing Your Homework: Clients are unique and want to be treated like they are special. Before meeting with a prospect, do your homework and research their company. Discover their needs and offer a customized solution. Not only do you position yourself better to close the sale, you also save valuable time by ensuring that you don’t spend a meeting learning the basic information about your potential client when you could be getting down to business.
2.) Not Following Up on Leads: After meeting with a prospect, drop them a thank you note. Then make sure you call them a week later to see if they have any questions. Never assume that silence means they are not interested. A no-pressure ‘just touching base’ call is a good way to get back on the radar screen of a busy executive or staffer.
3.) Relying on Cookie-Cutter Presentations: You’ve done your homework, right? Now make sure you tailor your sales pitch to that client. A prospect knows a canned presentation when they see it, and trust us…they won’t be impressed.
4.) Allowing the Client to Take Over the Presentation: While presenting to your prospect, you most certainly want to listen to their comments and body language and make adjustments in response. However, don’t forget that this is your sales presentation and not theirs. Don’t let it get derailed on tangents and side conversations. If chit chat about the weekend game it taking over your presentation, it is up to you to steer the discussion back on topic.
5.) Failing to Ask for the Sale: There are a number of closing techniques that can be used depending on your client and their personality. Regardless of which you choose, make sure you don’t leave the table without asking your prospect to make a sale or at least take the next step.
6.) Failing to Ask for Referrals: Referrals are the lifeblood of any successful business. Make sure you have a system in place to ask for referrals on a regular basis. When contacting a referral, don’t forget to follow-up with your client and thank them for the warm lead.
7.) Skipping Opportunities for Professional Development: There are many avenues to refine your pitch and increase sales. Good sales reps are constantly seeking out ways to get better. These may be books, seminars or professional development series offered by business groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce.
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Maryalene LaPonsie is an accomplished writer who has extensive experience reporting on education, career advancement and workforce development topics. She specializes in sales and marketing consultation as well as general copywriting services.