If you’re not experiencing the success you expected from your sales meetings, you might be making one of these mistakes. Sales is a complex process and depending on your industry and brand, you’ll have to try out different strategies in order to see what works best.
In this article, we’ve gathered the five most common mistakes salespeople make during meetings. Our actionable guide will help you avoid these mistakes and give you advice that will help you prepare for future sales, whether it be a regular BD role or a graduate sales job.
You don’t have a standardized sales process
According to research conducted by Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association, companies with a standardised sales process experience 18% more revenue growth compared to companies that don’t.
The benefit of having a company-wide standardized sales process is clear. Other benefits include:
- Having a great understanding of your sales cycle
- Having a clear path for your team members to follow
- An easier onboarding process
- Having an easier way to analyze your sales process
- Improving customer service
Most sales cycles have the same stages - finding new leads, contacting them, qualifying the potential customers, presenting your offer, closing the sales, and the follow-up process. Once the sales team sets up a sales cycle and creates content for different phases and speeds up the sales process, you’ll see what potential customers are most interested in.
Gathering client feedback is a great way to shape your sales process. Once you have an understanding of the sales cycle and your team members have a clear path to follow, you’ll easily streamline your sales process.
If you want to standardize your sales process, the first thing you need to do is coach your sales teams. They have to know everything about your product or service, understand your buyer persona and know which features and benefits to market to different customers.
We’ll go more into detail on those tips in the next chapter, for now, let’s focus on why companies standardize their sales process.
Having a structure, and curated content for every step of the sales cycle helps you find out information about your target audience that can shape your sales strategy. That kind of process helps you gain more qualified leads which can shorten your sales cycle and increase lifetime value.
If everyone in your team is doing the same thing, you can expect pretty similar results. That also means that you can use previous results to predict future sales, making it easy for you to predict your revenue.
Having a standardized sales process also helps you shape the sales cycle based on customer feedback and expectations, making it even easier for your sales team to close.
You’re not coaching or motivating your team
Although most sales teams have some sort of onboarding process, not enough companies invest in their sales team periodically. Your sales team needs to be coached on every new feature, product or service you roll out.
Start by teaching them about your product and services. They should use the product or service and be able to answer any questions your clients ask in their onboarding calls. The training courses should be frequent and shouldn’t just focus on the thing they’re selling.
Train them in sales, communication, leadership, buyer personas and such, in order to create well-rounded salespeople as well as a great sales team.
Think about teaming your inexperienced salespeople with senior sales members in order for them to learn by listening in on sales calls.
It’s also important to motivate your sales employees. As most experienced salespeople know, some periods of the year bring in more revenue than others. That drop can crush the confidence of your team.
It’s crucial to monitor the morale of your team and know when to give them an extra push. Giving them incentives that depend on the number of sales they make is a great way to motivate your workers, but think about other ways of motivating them as well.
Reward them with free lunches, benefits, and trips based on their loyalty. That type of appreciation gives people a sense of pride to work for you. Investing in your employees is never a bad idea and once newer employees see the benefits senior employees experience, they’ll be more likely to stay in the company.
You’re not organized
No matter your business model, it’s safe to assume you’ll be selling your product and services to busy people. There is nothing busy people hate more than unorganized people wasting their time.
Make sure you are on time for all of your calls and please prepare! Don’t show up to a sale meeting without researching the company, brand and the people you’ll talk to. Make sure you understand how they conduct their business and how your service or product can help them do it more effectively.
Your pitch should be personalized because the best way to secure a sale is to have specific examples of how your solution will help your clients. They will not be so interested to find out how your company was started or who your other clients are. Prepare a customized pitch for all your clients and focus on their company and how you can help them.
Make sure to focus on:
- Increasing revenue
- Decreasing costs
- Optimizing business
- Saving time
- Increasing the market value
You’re a bad listener
All sales calls may seem the same to you. However, if you view them from the client’s point of view, you’ll understand that they expect different things from the meeting than you. That’s why you need to be a good listener.
Remember that communication is key and while it’s important to talk about features and benefits, you also need to listen to your client and answer their questions. You can predict their problems and the pain points they’ll want you to help them with, but you need to be quick on your feet and be able to shift your focus based on their responses.
Different people will expect different approaches. You need to be able to assess how pushy you can be. For example, can you take a friendly approach or should you stick to a professional one? The more experience you have with sales and different types of people, the easier it will come to you.
Even if someone is very different from you, you need to be able to relate to them and find a common ground. Once you establish which approach would work best for your client, make sure to listen to their issues and worries.
Hearing you answer their questions with confidence will build their trust in you and your solution. Make sure to always mention a potential issue they may not predict and explain how to work around it.
You’re not prepared enough
You need to prepare for every sales meeting. Make sure you have an overview of all the communications the company had with the potential client and do a lot of research. Once you conduct your research and have a good understanding of what they might expect from you, shape your approach accordingly.
Start your meeting with questions, in order to further gauge their situation. The questions you should ask are:
- Do they use an alternative to your solution or do they do everything manually?
- What is the biggest problem they would like you to solve for them?
- Do they have experience with any of your competitors?
Once you get answers, you’ll know how much detailed explaining you need to do and which benefits to highlight. If they’ve used a product or service from your competitors before, you should talk about their shortcomings and how your solutions compare.
Are you the cheaper solution, do you offer better customer service, are you a better fit for the company, or something else. Play up to your strengths.
When you start talking about your solution, mention real situations your clients will find themselves in and give extra tips throughout the meeting.
Make sure to keep the meeting short. Respect your client’s time.
If you’re having a sales meeting with an existing client and you’re trying to upsell them, you’ll need to know how your clients use your solution, how quickly did they experience ROI and how much they can speed up their sales process or increase their revenue with a higher-priced package.
Prepare the math and show your clients’ real numbers based on their previous business. The more personalized process, the better.
Being prepared is a must for all sales teams. That starts with a coached team, having a standardized sales process, and an understanding of what needs to be done in specific stages of the sales cycle.
The training of your sales team should never stop, it should be an integral part of your business. That way, they’ll get more proficient and your sales process will bring in more conversions and revenue.
Make sure your sales team knows everything about your product or service and uses it often. They have to be able to answer any questions about the solution and the benefits it can bring to various clients.