As long as too many salespeople continue to make the following three mistakes, your sales costs will be too high. You can achieve a higher conversion rate and a higher margin on your deals by avoiding the following errors:
1. Incomplete needs analysis
Unfortunately, this is a classic mistake: questions are limited to strict requirements in order to draw up an offer. This results in conversations that do not offer any added value, neither for the customer nor for the potential supplier. The customer gets an offer based on a rather superficial diagnosis, but not necessarily a good solution to his/her problem.
A number of additional questions might help to better map the context:
- Who else is involved?
- By when should you be able to use the solution? (this is a customer-oriented version of the question “when will you decide?”)
- What do you wish to achieve?
- What is the ideal solution for you?
- To what extent do your colleagues share this view?
- How will you make sure that the best decision is made?
2. Making too many price offers too soon
The Sales rep continues to push the customer. First he had not made sufficient inquiries into the context and then explained what the ideal solution would be from his/her own perspective; now the time has come to try to prove these claims through an offer. Whether or not the customer has already made up his/her mind does not seem to matter.
Once we sent the offer, there are three possibilities. Everything turns out all right and the deal is settled shortly afterwards. A less positive outcome is also possible: you lose control of the customer because he/she no longer has any reason to keep in touch once everything has been written down. Now your competitors can further influence your prospect.
Or you end up in a situation where you keep on making new versions of offers. This is not good for the sales costs and causes the customer to doubt. The sales rep thinks the customer is changing his/her mind once again. The customer, in turn, thinks the sales person falls short because he/she is proposing changes.
You can easily identify these deals by the following two situations:
- The customer delays the decision date once or several times
- The sales rep makes several offers for the same opportunity
It is quite easy to measure both
3. Not providing the customer with what he/she really needs
Imagine yourself going to the doctor, who immediately gives you a prescription because you’re the tenth patient that day who has come to see him with a runny nose. This makes a diagnosis superfluous, or does it? You wouldn’t accept this from a doctor, but many salespeople still behave like all-knowing oracles. They concentrate on what they want to sell to the customer, and only hear what they want to hear.
This creates an area of tension between the salesperson and the customer. It usually results in the rep continuing to talk, trying to convince the customer and discussing technical details. But does the customer feel understood? In this context, it is crucial to imagine yourself in the customer’s situation. In other words, are you prepared to put yourself in the customer’s place? If not, your sales costs are at risk again.
Lower Sales costs, higher conversion and a higher margin on deals
Avoid this by really listening to customers, interacting with them and trying to fully understand their context. Take the appropriate sales actions in the purchase phase, talk to the right people on the customer’s side and give advice. And finally, ensure follow-up of customers who are not yet ready to buy by the marketing or inside sales department.