There are at least a few mistakes your reps probably make. Some of them are oh-so-obvious and easy to track. Others may slip unnoticed through loads of everyday work. In this article, we present 7 mistakes sales representatives make while dealing with potential customers over the phone. We also give some advice on how to omit them.
Reading from a manual, talking too much, or not knowing who are they dealing with - these are rather common mistakes salespeople make. However, it’s not only about how they act during a conversation with a potential customer, but also about all their activities before and after the call.
In the article below we present a few mistakes that, if not fixed early, may lead to a decrease in overall efficiency, negatively influence the team’s performance, and result in missed sales targets.
1. Not being aware of their everyday targets
Many sales reps don’t realize how many sales calls they need to make to hit their daily quota. An example: to arrange one meeting they must call roughly 20 prospects a day. This mistake may originate from the fact that they don’t plan their activities. Or maybe they treat their targets as a “to-do list” with exactly the same tasks, without looking at the bigger picture. Also, check 12 ways to monitor the efficiency of sales calls.
The CallPage way: First of all, we measure the conversion rate to know how many contacts one rep needs to reach to close a minimum number of deals in a defined period. Also, each rep has daily and monthly KPIs.
To set ideal and ambitious KPIs, you can either organize “competitions” among your salespeople with some benefits or implement changes gradually. Then calculate the median of their results, which will give you an exemplary KPI. Don’t forget to motivate your team and explain the reason behind your directions. And always control the daily results of your reps.
2. Lack of priorities
At the beginning of every workday, a salesperson should devote 10-15 minutes to plan their activities and decide what is most important for them, which task is a must-do, how to handle their biggest challenges, etc. To help your reps become pros of prioritizing, present them this simple chart and teach them how to use it in their everyday work.
CallPage way: At the beginning of each onboarding process, a new rep needs to undergo training, and this includes time management skills and prioritizing techniques. A salesperson must know that each task has to be treated individually. If they’re in the middle of something and receive an email, they don’t need to answer the message right away.
Same thing with the major, most important customers. Salespeople often tend to lose their focus when a big fish shows up. They invest all their time and effort in this one potential deal, forgetting about all the others. Frequently they’re not able to complete the large transaction before the end of the month, and as a result, they don’t achieve their monthly target.
3. Failing to track the most effective activities
The lack of analysis of one’s everyday job is a huge no-no! Reps must observe and conclude from each sales call they make, notice what works and what is just a waste of time regarding closing deals. Inside sales are very much about the analytical approach and quantitative analysis.
The CallPage way: All reps are obliged to present weekly summaries of their work, detailed results and forecasts for upcoming days. The Head of Sales analyzes their reports, asks questions, provides reps with feedback and, if needed, coaching sessions, to help them assess their work and results.
4. Lack of a next step
Your rep finished a fantastic sales call, established a rapport, handled the prospect’s objections like a pro, and finally reached a decision-maker. Is it time to open a bottle of champagne and celebrate? Sorry to say it, but your salesperson is wrong… They forgot to set up the next step. So technically speaking, they have lost one of the rare occasions for being in control and fail to define what happens next.
The CallPage way: Our sales team is always reminded about setting the next step and how vital it is for the whole selling process. Also, sales team leaders and the Head of Sales listen to the sales calls of their coworkers and check if this super important part is not omitted. What’s more, during the training of salespeople we always present this simple, yet very thought-provoking sales statistic. It shows how important are both repetitive contact and setting the next step.
5. Getting mad at a prospect
A salesperson needs to not only be professional but also empathetic. Sometimes sales calls don’t go as planned, the customer is being fussy, complains about literally everything or just isn’t interested in the offer. That’s not a reason to get mad or try to end the conversation at all costs.
The Callpage way: Everyone can have a rough day or a problem that stops them from focusing on the conversation, every rep needs to remember that. Our salespeople are expected to leave a perfect impression even after a deal that has not been closed.
The client may want to come back one day, so his image of the company must remain positive. A leader of salespeople must be vigilant and observe the interactions between prospects and your reps.
6. Closing a deal is the only goal
A sales call with only one aim never ends well. Why? Because a salesperson is not able to focus on the prospect’s needs and problems, they probably won’t ask open-ended questions and will talk way too much about the product. Reps need to treat their work as a process. They also need to be aware of every stage of this process and realize that stages mean having many different goals throughout the process of achieving the ultimate success.
The CallPage way: During the onboarding and internal training, we always familiarise reps with the company’s mission, our standards, and approach. All this influences the way we sell our product and how we deal with customers. Closing a deal is never our only goal.
The BANT rule (an acronym for B - budget, A - authority, N - need, and T - timeline) helps salespeople to qualify opportunities and rate the chances for closing a deal. Here you can read more about the BANT rule. And remember that sometimes, for some reason, you may not want to work with a certain customer. And in this case, it’s better to let them go and be happy with someone else.
7. Agreeing right away to give a discount
Being overly compliant and assuming the prospect is price shopping can cause a lot of harm to the deal and the company in general. When a rep agrees to give a discount without negotiating, the message is clear. And unfortunately, it’s not a positive one. Apparently, the offer was overpriced in the first place, and the product is not as unique and innovative as claimed.
CallPage way: At CallPage we set discounts that can be granted in certain situations. And always, I repeat, always while giving a discount, we ask a prospect for something in return. This can be a recommendation, a positive opinion posted somewhere or the possibility to write a case study about the cooperation between CallPage and the client.
A win-win deal is our must-have. Don’t forget about this, stop your reps from granting discounts too often and using them as a way to close a deal. Otherwise, you will show your clients that they can always get something more, without paying for it. You are not running a charity, remember that.
Salespeople aren’t the only ones to blame
Reps can make mistakes, we are all humans. But you, as a leader, have to observe the work of your salespeople and track all flaws in the process, focusing on those most harmful for the business. The best way to build a winning sales team is to give reps constant feedback and provide them with adequate coaching. Fixing problems step-by-step can make a huge impact on overall productivity.
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