The list is long of all the things that can negatively impact your sales. It includes but is not limited to:
- No clear value proposition
- Old CRM
- Lack of manager coaching
- Too much change
- Lack of product knowledge
- Too many jobs
- Too many partners
- Piles of admin
- Broken process
- Poor access to collateral
- Poor training
Like I said the list can go on and on. You no doubt have a few more you’d like to add to the list. While I agree those factors above can and do impact sales negatively I look at it through a slightly different lens because I have been a sales effectiveness coach and trainer for 26 years. What I see as the biggest negative impacts to sales growth are sales pros making basic selling mistakes over and over.
So much so that if all those factors listed above were magically “fixed” sales would still be dragged down by the consistent basic selling mistakes 80% of all sales pros make today. In particular, I see the big 3 over and over and they are all caused by one disastrous bad habit.
The Big 3:
- PROSPECTING: Sales pros do not prospect with a compelling customer outcome focused message; instead they prospect using a product focus or a value proposition. News flash! Prospects don’t care.
- 2. PIPELINE: There are 5 different types of questions sales pros must ask in customer conversations. Only one is designed to purposefully build new qualified pipeline. 80%+ of all sales pros and sales enablement leaders do not know what this specific questions type is. Hence they don’t ask it. Pipelines and sales are chronically weak or inconsistent.
- 3. CYCLE TIME: Sales pros generally do not know how to build a business case to shorten sales cycles and protect margins. The downside of this is long cycles and getting hammered on price.
In my work, I call those activities core selling skills. I focus on them; the basics, because they are the high impact activities sales pros, need to engage in every day to do their job. If they can’t; 1) book qualified meetings, 2) build qualified pipeline consistently and 3) close opportunities quickly at good margins then they can’t really do their job, can they?
So yes there are a lot of things that can negatively impact sales growth but from my perspective, the biggest impediments are a lack of core selling skills because if they had those locked down at the black belt level all the other “blockers” could remain in place and sales would still rocket.
These 3 big selling mistakes are all caused by one disastrous bad habit; talking too much.
Too many sales pros talk too much; introduce product too soon and try to sell too quickly in the sales process. And because they are talking they cannot be asking questions which are the key to overcoming the 3 mistakes mentioned above; prospecting, pipeline, cycle time.
Talking too much is the root cause of the most common selling mistakes.
If sellers spent more time learning how to ask more and better questions instead of learning how to pitch or about more product features sales would soar and most of the stress that business leaders deal with would vanish. Everyone would make more money, have happier customers, spend more time with their families and we could all golf more. ☺
In the spirit of service,
p.s. doing the same thing over and over (more product training) and expecting new results (bigger sales) is not working for most businesses. Fix the core selling skills problem to drive massive revenue growth.
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