Sales mistakes affect conversion rates and cost you business.

People buy you first and so first impressions are the most important. It sounds a bit clichéd and one that is so easy to ignore. One of the worst mistakes of all time is to practice your sales techniques on your prospects or customers!! Believe me, it’s done more often than you realise.

1. Not listening. Talking is only part of communication, the other and more important is listening. If you are only half listening you may miss vital information to progress a sale. Take time to listen to your customers, identify the need, and fill it. 2. Overselling. A nonstop sales pitch leaves your potential customers feeling overwhelmed. Do not underestimate the power of a pause; this is the difference between a good salesperson and a desperate one.

3. Being unprepared. There is no excuse for being unprepared when it comes to selling. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the phone, on the shop floor or in a meeting room; preparation is key to successful selling. Know your business, know your prospect/ customer and always be ready to answer questions.

4. Appearing too Eager. There is a fine line between closing and rushing the sale. Establish a good relationship first, give the customer as much information as they need, enough space to make a decision and then ask the closing question providing the customer has given you all the right signals.

5. Communication. Not to be mistaken with talking or listening. True communication comes from your body language, your tone and, if selling face to face, your facial expressions. Your body language will always speak louder than your words!

6. Failure to Close the Sale. After you have provided the customer with the right amount of information, answered any immediate questions and then used appropriate pauses and space, simply ask if they are ready to make a purchase or sign up with you. By asking the question in a relaxed and friendly manner it can help the customer to buy.

7. Off on a tangent. It is important to build a relationship with the customer and so some ‘small talk’ is essential to show a personal and relaxed manner. However, excessive conversation can lead to veering off the sales subject and onto other topics. By taking the customer out of buying mode it’s very hard to get them back in – – such phrases as ‘I’ll think about it’, ‘I’ll give you a call’ are sure signals you’ve lost the sale.

8. Target Market. Research and groundwork will assist you to reach your potential customers. Get to know who makes up your target market, where do they go, what do they need, what gaps can you fill?

9. Essential Follow Up. If a potential customer has contacted you for information on your products or services then they are interested. Just because they do not buy immediately does not mean they will not buy at all. Many people fail to follow up on leads through fear of rejection, procrastination or sheer disorganisation. The potential for more business is through following-up. Get on the phone, send an e-mail, make a brilliant offer, and adopt a consistent follow up system to increase sales!

10. New customers. Even though you are busy you need to make time to get new customers. You can never fully predict the life of a customer and therefore you have to plan and prepare to find new ones. Also think about marketing and up-selling to the customers you already have. Your customers are more likely to purchase from you once they have experience of you and trust you.

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