Are your employees salespeople or order takers

Group of young people in business meeting

Are your employees salespeople or order takers? The difference could explain why you’re not getting enough market share or all of the opportunities that lurk within your existing accounts.

Here is our “top 10” list of common selling mistakes.

#10.  Not reinvesting lessons learned. Customers are a wealth of free information about how you can achieve a competitive edge through the constant improvement of your products, services, terms and sales approach. Yet most sales people allow this feedback to roll off them like water off a duck’s back. And few companies have a process in place to capture and reinvest customers’ insights.

#9.  Not leveraging the psychological aspect. Most sales people are aware that that there is an emotional and psychological aspect of selling, but they don’t know how to access and leverage it.

#8.  Asking closed ended questions. We call this “the butcher’s error”. You walk into a butcher, get handed the first item you order and you’re asked, “Anything else?” Closed ended questions are designed to end a conversation, whereas the butcher, in this case, should be opening the floodgates. So should your employees.

#7.  Arguing with customers. When a customer has a complaint, they don’t want to hear company policy or that no one has ever had the same complaint before. To an irate customer, those are fighting words. The customer just wants to hear your salesperson say, “What happened? … Then what happened? … And then what happened?” The customer wants to be heard. And your salespeople need to learn all of the facts so that they can make the customer happy with the least investment of your company’s precious resources. One of the most effective ways to build customer loyalty is by skillfully managing a complaint.

#6. Claiming benefits without explaining them. This results in bragging, providing hype. The sales person appears persuaded, but not persuasive. Effective sales people can explain exactly how the benefits of their products and services are produced. And they do so with such simplicity that the customers can explain those benefits in their own words. This transforms customers into the salesperson’s ambassadors, which is especially important where the sales person cannot get access to the ultimate decision-maker.

#5. Selling features, not benefits. People don’t pay for what your products and services are made of. They pay for how they can meet their needs. The sales process is about connecting your products and services with the customer’s needs.

#4. Not surfacing ALL of the customer’s needs. Imagine a customer walks into a hardware store to buy a paintbrush. The salesperson may determine what kind of brush will best suit the job. But what will he find out about the job itself? Is the customer merely repainting a piece of furniture or is she undertaking a major renovation? Or perhaps she is putting up a brand new building! The extent of the salesperson’s probing determines whether he spends a day selling brushes or supporting big construction projects. And the difference flows directly to your bottom line. What’s the equivalent in your organization?

#3. Not understanding why people buy. People buy to meet their needs. Yet too many sales people sell based on what they and their company need. They miss the target. Some are not even sure where to look for the target.

#2. Not listening to the voice of the customer. Products, services and terms that emerge from the imagination of the seller instead of the needs of the customer are like gambling. And like most gambling, the odds of success aren’t great.

#1. Passivity. This takes us back to the question, “Are your staff salespeople or order takers?” Effective selling is a proactive pursuit.

How many of these mistakes does YOUR Company make?

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