Sales rarely fall on our laps. Usually they are the result of nurturing, education, and relationship-building. And that requires conversations.
So it's no surprise that conversation skills are critical to the success of any salesperson.
How are your sales conversation skills? Would your prospects agree?
Perhaps the best way to know, is to take a look at some of the most common mistakes that even good salespeople make. And then doing your best to steer clear of them.
With that, here are seven of most common sales conversation mistakes to watch out for.
1. Talking Specs Instead of Value
Specs and other details may seem like a big deal, but that's not what people buy. People buy value.
Let leads know how a product or service will make their lives better. Let them see what problems you can solve. You'll fare better than bogging them down with specs and features.
2. Speaking Too Much
There's a direct correlation between selling success rates and how much the salesperson talks.
As you can probably guess by now, the success rate isn't good for salespeople who talk too much. Don't dominate the conversation. Be a part of it. For best results, your prospect should be talking at least 50 percent of the time.
3. Not Asking Enough Questions
One problem over-talkers have is they don't ask enough questions. The sweet spot on your typical sales call is about 11 to 14 questions, provided they're open-ended questions that give your lead an opportunity to speak.
Questions are how you get your prospect to open up to you, share their frustrations, and elaborate on their goals. That helps you serve their interests and sell effectively.
4. Going into Interrogation Mode
The opposite of an open-ended question is a yes-or-no question. You can't avoid yes-or-no questions entirely, but with too many of them, you risk turning your call into more of an interrogation.
Make sure your call doesn't devolve into you asking questions, waiting for an answer, and then asking something else. You'll never build a rapport with someone this way.
5. Focusing Too Much (or Quickly) on the End Game
While you should have a goal for each call, don't push too hard to get there. It has to be a natural progression. If you're aggressively going after your own agenda, it will put the other person on the defense.
No one likes to be interrupted. It's jarring and uncomfortable.
Maybe your prospect is raising an objection that you can overcome, or is saying something that you know isn't right. Or perhaps they're talking about something they need, and you can't wait to tell them you offer it.
Don't interrupt or speak over them. Listen. Give them an opportunity to finish their thought, and then take your opportunity to address what they said.
7. Talking Too Much About Your Company and What You Do
Sales conversations should be more about your prospect, not you. That's not to say that you shouldn't talk about your company, but do it in a way that relates to your prospect and their pain points. Skip the history of your company and a laundry list of what you provide, and focus only the most important, credibility-building details.
Wrapping Up 7 Common Conversation Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Sales…
Conversation mistakes can doom your sales calls. The good news is knowing what to avoid will lead to much better results for you.
To recap, here are seven of the most common conversation mistakes in sales:
- Listing specs when you should be demonstrating the value of what you offer.
- Talking more than the customer.
- Asking less than 10 questions.
- Interrogating the lead with rapid-fire questions.
- Making the call more of an aggressive sales pitch than a natural conversation.
- Interrupting or replying before your prospect is finished speaking.
- Giving more than a brief overview of your company.