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9 sales mistakes you are guilty of – Here is how to avoid each one

Article by Melissa Javan (SME South Africa)

The mistakes you make during a sale may cost you a deal.

Whether it’s ignoring the importance of personal skills or avoiding face-to-face meetings – here are some the biggest sales mistakes you could be making.

MISTAKE 1: You ignore personal skills

“Business owners most often outsource this function within the business when they should, in fact, be the primary ‘rainmaker’ – the person who secures many clients and brings in profitable sales. If the business owner has passion, perseverance and persistence, success is assured.” – Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the National Small Business Chamber. Read about all the personal skills you need to nail your next sales pitch.

MISTAKE 2: You don’t listen

“Successful salespeople do the least talking and the most listening. Ask the correct questions and present your solutions with passion.” – Gavin Sharples, motivational speaker and author. Four key sales principles.

MISTAKE 3: You don’t show your customers that you care

“Go the extra mile to give your customers extra value. This shows them that you care about their business and you’re not just making money from them. Ask them this question ‘Is there anything else I can do to help?’” – Themba Nkuna, sales coach and founder of the How to Sell Academy. How to deal with a drop in sales.

MISTAKE 4: You fail to set face-to-face meetings

“Young entrepreneurs often underestimate the power of meeting people face to face, especially when trying to land BIG deals.” – Marnus Broodryk, founder and CEO of accounting firm, The Beancounter, and the youngest investor on the international television show, Shark Tank. More sales do’s and don’ts.

MISTAKE 5: You are pitching wrong

“Many entrepreneurs pitch the process of their product rather than the impact it would have, or ‘the tangible why’, which is what clients are really interested in.” – Shirley Anthony, author, speaker and owner of marketing consultancy company, Marketing Breakthroughs. More strategies to bounce back.

MISTAKE 6: You do not follow up on sales leads

“You may have received the leads and delivered the product (but you can still lose the customer if you don’t follow up with your customer
properly). Your after-sales service becomes that much more important.” – Matt Fisher, incubator manager for New Ventures Studio, an accelerator focusing on young entrepreneurs in Cape Town. Effective lead generation strategies for entrepreneurs

MISTAKE 7: You don’t reach out to existing customers

“Selling is all about relationship building and sometimes we just need to rekindle a relationship to have it blossom again. Go through your customer list and contact those who have not bought from you in the past 12 months.” – Shirley Anthony, author, speaker and owner of Marketing Breakthroughs, a marketing consultancy operating for over twenty years. How to meet your sales target.

MISTAKE 8: You don’t recognise your salespeople

“It’s important to give lots of recognition to sales staff. Reward staff for being innovative, providing amazing customer service, or for exceeding targets.” – Sandra Swanepoel, VIP sales director of HR and payroll software company, Sage. Hacks to build a great sales operation.

MISTAKE 9: You do not have a dedicated sales team

“You need a sales guy from day one to build all the external relationships – you can’t wait until your product is developed and needs to be launched. That’s too late! Investors know that, and generally prefer teams with technical and sales resources present when they invest.” – From the chapter ‘Co-founders Are Your First Investors’ of The Startup Funding Book by author, Nicolaj Hoejer Nielsen. More on how to find a sales superstar for your startup

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