7 Sales Mistakes that Lose Deals: Part III

This is the final part of a three-part series that outlines the seven most common sales mistakes you may be making and – most importantly, what you can do to avoid them. Part I and Part II addressed Mistakes 1-5:

  • Letting leads go “cold”
  • Failing to create urgency
  • Failing to “trial balloon” price in the first meeting
  • Not talking directly with the true economic buyer
  • Taking too long to write the proposal

This post addresses the final two mistakes: letting your proposal go into the “black hole” and not staying in control while overcoming objections. 

Mistake #6: Letting your proposal go into the “Black Hole”

We’ve all experienced it. You spend hours writing a proposal, attach it to an email, hit the send button, and wait. And wait. And wait some more. You email to check on status; call to try to reach your prospect live. Nothing.

So how can you avoid the agony of the black hole? The best way to ensure you get live feedback and prompt response is to schedule a short 10-minute phone meeting to review the proposal during the sales meeting. Establish and confirm the next step or call to action. At the close of the conversation, you can say “Great. I will write this up and get it to you tomorrow. Can we talk for 10 minutes tomorrow to review what I sent and discuss next steps? Are you free at 4:00?

This strategy allows you to stay in control of the sales process, and ensure that you receive the courtesy of a response in exchange for the work you put into writing the proposal. It also keeps the sales process on track – which increases the likelihood of close.

Mistake #7: Not staying “in control” while overcoming objections.

A common concern that arises with my clients is what to do when encountering that prospect who says “this looks great, but can you can just get me a sample or this reference or that document?” While these requests may seem reasonable, they often signal a deal in trouble, and provide a way for the prospect to stall and regain control of the negotiation. Of course you wish to appear accommodating, but it’s critical to note if you lose control of a deal, you almost always lose the deal.

So what should you do instead? How do you remain responsive to their needs during the sales process without losing control? The best answer lies in the concept of quid pro quo – a favor or advantage granted in return for something. If your prospect asks for a favor, ask yourself. “What can I ask for in return to move the deal forward?” For example, if your prospect wants you to meet with the technical team to perform due diligence on your technology, you can say “I am happy to do that, and would like to schedule a 30-minute meeting just prior to that meeting to review the status of the contract and resolve any open issues.

By ensuring quid pro quo you make sure that, for every effort you make, you move the deal ahead and keep it in your control.

In general, the way to deal with an objection is to agree to address it, then try to tease out other lurking objections. You might ask “Once we address that issue successfully, is there anything else that needs to be resolved before you can sign the agreement?” Keep doing this until all the objections are surfaced. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you can learn to move deals forward with your actions – be are immediate and proactive in your lead response and proposal; create urgency; get the prospect to agree on the intent and project concept; surface objections and identify the true buyer; establish quid pro quo – then you can control the sales process. If you have taken these key steps, you’ll win more deals and generate more revenue – all without adding a single new lead!

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