by North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Salespeople often make the fatal mistake of blaming other things, circumstances, and people for their own inability to create a buying atmosphere. And that mistake has double jeopardy. One, you're blaming the wrong party, and two, you issue blame instead of taking responsibility. You fail to see the urgent need for more self-improvement training.
Jeffery Gitomer has identified 12.5 fatal flaws of selling. Real reasons why salespeople fail to make the sale. Painful as this exercise may be, he suggests rating yourself instead of just reading them. And for your maximum enjoyment and benefit, a one sentence "flawless" remedy or suggestion follows each flaw.
Here are the fatal flaws that Gitomer has identified. How many of them are fatal to you? He suggests that you get a red pen and as you read, put an "F" by the flaws you may want to improve.
1. Being a puppy, puppet or pawn. Salespeople are too happy to oblige without getting a commitment or adding an idea or thought. Flawless: When you send a brochure, make an appointment at the same time. When you get a request for proposal, try to change some of the terms to favor your selection.
2. Speaking before asking. Does a doctor tell you where he went to medical school? No. How many years he's been practicing? No. He asks, "Where does it hurt?" Flawless: Ask compelling questions. Ask questions that reveal pain or emotion. Ask questions your competition doesn't ask.
3. Making a verbal agreement for services to be provided. Nothing more fatal than a prospect thinking there is more to the deal than you do. When the prospect says. "I thought you said..." whatever follows is a problem. Flawless: Write down and repeat back ALL promises and terms.
4. Negatively referring to the competition. Okay, they're a bunch of dirty rotten creeps. What's your point? When you put them down, you degrade yourself. Flawless: Always refer to the competition as "industry standard" and "my worthy competition."
5. Following up to see if you "got my literature," and to see if you "have any questions." The salesman thinks he is being seen as helpful and professional but he's a pest and looks dumb. Flawless: Call with ideas and smart questions.
6. Asking "what will it take to get your business?" THE worst question in sales. Will ALWAYS lead to lies, lower price points, and a loss of respect from buyer to salesman. Flawless: "I'd like a brief opportunity to share with you why some of my customers bought from me because I'm NOT the lowest price."
7. Assuming the prospect hasn't heard this crap. It's likely that the prospect has a preconceived notion about your company, your product, or both. You may want to change this before you start. Flawless: make them ask for a demo or a sales pitch. Flawless: Ask "What's been your experience with _______ so far?" or "How would you describe my product to me?"
8. Assuming the prospect hasn't made up his or her mind. Your reputation may have preceded you, your prospect may have already decided to buy from someone else, or your prospect may have already decided to buy from you, and is using your sales presentation to "confirm" rather than "decide." Flawless: Make friends as fast as you can before you start. Ask a few questions about where they are on the decision-making scale.
9. Adding nothing of interest or value to the prospect when making a follow up call. Follow-up calls are loosely defined as "checking on your money." "Did you make a decision yet?" "Yeah pal, we picked you, but we weren't gonna tell you." Hello! Flawless: After the proposal or presentation is the best time to create, shine ,and be memorable. Think of information of value to the prospect, not just questions about how to fill your wallet.
10. Trying to overcome objections with your words rather than customer testimonials. An objection is a statement that says "You haven't sold me yet but I'm interested" Flawless: Use testimonials to overcome objections. This is a complex process, but the most (only) powerful way to put the doubt of the prospect to rest. NOTE: if you are forced to use your words, ask compelling (not sharp-angle, old-world-sales-type) questions rather than make statements.
11. Making a verbal agreement for the next step of the sales cycle – The most fallen-into sales trap is agreeing to let the prospect “get back to you with an answer” Letting the prospect call you (aka: giving away control of the selling process) – “I’ll get back to you tomorrow,” is the biggest lie told to you by a prospect besides. “I can get it someplace else cheaper.”
Flawless: Make a firm appointment for a follow up call -- make your prospect write it in his or her day planner -- YOU make the call at the appointed time -- fax a reminder with something of value (an article about employee productivity or something
12. And the worst of them all: Giving the price before someone asks for it. The biggest buying signal in the world is “How much is it?” Most salespeople go right past it or never allow it to occur. Wanting the price is an indication of interest to buy. Flawless: don’t give a price until someone asks for it, and ask for the sale at the same time.
12.5 There is one flaw that I have found to be the most damaging to both the prospect and the salesperson – but it’s not an outside flaw – it’s an inside flaw.. Thinking you are smarter than the prospect. Condescending, interrupting, assumptive, crass, and impatient salespeople are the ones who lose sales and blame others. Flawless: Polite humility. Employ the Gitomer Diamond Rule of Sales and Service: Do unto customers as you would like to be done unto when you’re a customer.