3 Common Mistakes Sales People Make

I was recently interviewed by Matt Ruddle, Customer Success Director for InTouch CRM as part of his Carpool Conversations series, who asked me for my top 3 tips for Field Sales People.

Here’s the link to the video: Carpool Conversations with Matt Ruddle & Martyn Sloman

Here are some further thoughts and recommendations based off findings from some recent accompanied visits and observations:

  1. Have a clear yet flexible agenda-

What are the customer’s/ Prospect’s objectives from the meeting? Has anything changed since you last spoke/ agreed it? And it’s great to clarify- it shows you are focussed on them, their success factors and their business.

  1. Prepare some great questions-and remember to signpost!

This is not as obvious as it sounds. The mistake lots of us make is that we misinterpret the customer’s/ Prospect’s responses as the main priority/ motive/ requirement.  What if it isn’t though? We need to check! Signposting is a great way to flag an opportunity: you ask a little about it then park it by promising to come back to it. You can then move on to other areas and explore them further and it will soon become evident what the priority is.

  1. Establish the next action

This is THE most common bit which is missed! And it’s the reason pipelines stall. Does any of this sound familiar:

“I’ll call you in a few days…”

“I’ll send the proposal over and follow up in a few days…”

“I’ll send the quote over and we’ll go from there…”

We’ve all done it! And it’s just too vague plus there’s one big problem- who is deciding the next actions here? We are! It’s not about us though- it’s about them. This is so important- instead of making an assumption about how and when to follow up we need to tip it upside down and ask them. So it should look like this:

“When do you suggest we speak again?”

“What do you need to see in the proposal and when will you have a chance to review it?”

“What do you need to see in the quote and when will you have a chance to review it?”

By doing this it tells us so much about the Prospect’s buy-in. If they are really specific and requiring you know it’s firmly on their agenda. If their responses to those questions are vague then alarm bells should ring and you need to do some investigation to understand why.

The final piece when establishing the next action is that you should always agree it in the current meeting/ conversation with a time and date set. Plus you and the Prospect should have agreed actions no matter how small to do by the next time you interact.

Here’s the link to the video again: Carpool Conversations with Matt Ruddle & Martyn Sloman

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