One of the most frustrating feelings in sales is failing to secure a deal and not knowing where you went wrong.
As you become familiar with these common pitfalls, you’ll change your approach to selling and ultimately become more successful in your role.
1. No compelling need
Sales teams are not going to win a deal when no deal is possible because your prospective client has no compelling need. If your prospective client has no need, you need to create one they can act on. Failure to do so will result in a lost deal.
2. Skipping stages of the sales process
Skipping stages means you’re not taking the actions you know are necessary to win. Make sure you’re following every step, from discovery all the way to close. Shortcuts rarely lead to wins.
3. Failing to control the sales process
Most of the time your buyer’s process doesn’t serve you. If you constantly agree to that process, you’re sure to lose. You can’t let the buyer control the process.
4. Failing to gain the commitments you need
By failing to get the commitments you know you need, you endanger your deal and increase the odds of a loss. Always remember to be open and ask for all the information you need.
5. Failing to create value for your prospects during sales calls
It’s difficult to gain a commitment that moves an opportunity forward if sales teams haven’t done any work to deserve that commitment. Use every interaction you have with a client to create value. Understand their needs and serve as their adviser.
6. Focusing on low levels of value in your solution
Unless you’re calling on an end user, the lower levers of value in the features and benefits of your product are not compelling enough on their own to get a win. Get strategic and focus on the right things that appeal to decision makers, not just the minor details.
7. Failing to elevate the discovery conversation to strategic outcomes
Without identifying the strategic outcomes worth pursuing, you make a “no” more likely. Find out what is compelling to your prospects outside of the features and benefits of your service.
8. Not developing a compelling case for change
The most difficult sale you make is creating a compelling case for change. Without it, you lose. You need to use evidence to help your prospect understand why they have to change now.
9. Transactional behaviors
Transactional behaviors are behaviors that make your prospective client feel as if all you are trying to do is get a quick close. There’s no focus on value creation. Unless what you sell should be sold transactionally, this will kill your deal. You need to assume the role of an adviser.
10. Choosing to communicate using lesser mediums
The most important conversations you have should be held using the best and most effective medium. Failure to do so will cost you an opportunity.
11. Being self-oriented
The more your prospective client feels your motive is purely about your commission check, the more likely you are to lose that deal. Avoid language that may convey that and instead focus solely on creating value for them.
12. Failing to identify the buying committee
In small sales, you may be dealing with a single decision maker. But in larger, more complex B2B sales, that is unlikely. If you don’t identify the stakeholders and understand their needs, you end up with a big “L.” Make sure to meet with everyone involved and solve all of their needs.
13. Failing to build consensus
One of the easiest ways to lose an opportunity is failure to create consensus among the stakeholders who will eventually vote on whether or not to choose you and your solution. You need to win them over, or they’ll vote against you.
14. Not tailoring the value to the individual stakeholders
It isn’t easy to give each stakeholder what they need in a solution, but without customizing the value to the different stakeholders, you are unlikely to gain their support. This often results in a loss.
15. Not dealing with obstacles
There are all kinds of obstacles sales teams need to overcome on the way to a deal. These can be barriers that prevent your solution from being acceptable. If you don’t address these obstacles, you jeopardize a “yes.”
16. Selling without a conversation about money and budget
At some point, you’ll need to talk about money. Frame the conversation around the investment your prospective client needs to make in order to get the results they want.
17. Focusing on price
Believe it or not, you can lose opportunities because you are so focused on price when you should be focused on creating value in a solution. Price is just an expression of the value you create.
18. Solving the wrong problem
If the customer tells you exactly what you need to address to solve the problem and you present something different, you lose. You need to solve the right problem to win.
19. Presenting poorly
If your presentation is overpowered by images of your corporate office and your executive management team, you’ll prove nothing.
20. Presenting a solution your client hasn’t already said ‘yes’ to
There is no reason that your prospective client should be surprised by what you show them in your presentation.
21. Allowing the customer to believe price and cost are the same thing
Your client will think price and cost are the same thing unless you do something about it. Again, frame the conversation around investing.
22. Failing to justify the delta between your price and your competitor’s price
Your price is higher than the competition for a reason. If you can’t explain that reason, you don’t deserve to win.
23. Failing to provide the necessary proof
If your dream client needs you to provide evidence of what you’ve said and what you promised, you need to provide it. Otherwise, it’s a loss. Always ask what proof they need.
24. Trying to match your competitor’s price or strategy
If your competitor has a lower price, that may be their strategy, but it isn’t yours. You have to play your game and compete where you’re strong and they’re weak.
25. Poor deal strategy
If you haven’t tested the ideas you believe make up your strategy with a red team, you aren’t anticipating how you might lose. Without toughening up your deals, you risk a loss. Know how you plan on beating the competition.