Avoid these pitfalls to achieve better conversion rates
Every good salesperson — and thus every good entrepreneur — knows that the key to sales is smart prospecting. If you don’t know anything about your customers, you waste vital time and energy chasing sales that will never happen.
Unfortunately, too many sales people — and thus too many entrepreneurs — continue to make dumb mistakes in their prospecting process. Here are some of the worst prospecting beliefs and habits that could be crippling your sales.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the more prospects you have, the more conversions you will secure — but that strategy has proven time and again to be a bad one. Pushing your sales team to reach a quota of a certain number of sales calls or emails every day is a waste of everyone’s time; it doesn’t effectively reach the prospects most interested in making purchases, and it fails to develop meaningful relationships that keep customers coming back. Instead, you should work to cultivate a smaller list of high-quality prospects, which will reward you and your sales team bigger and better.
Automating Too Early
Automation is one of those crucial sales prospecting tools that every small business should eventually implement, but starting out with an automated prospecting system isn’t necessarily the right choice. You should strive to create a foundation of loyal, personally invested customers who will spread the good word of your business to others. Then, when your business is too big to field all potential prospects with a personal touch, you can start looking into automated prospecting, such as website messaging bots or automated emails.
Rushing to the Sale
You want to close the deal quickly, so you can reap the rewards and move onto your next sales lead. However, prospects don’t want to be treated like “prospects;” they want to be treated like people. Prospects can tell when you are treating them like just another mark, so you should strive to make a personal connection with them — answer questions, examine needs and wants, describe product ranges etc. As much as you might want to push your sales team to close faster, you should let them take their time, especially with prospects who seem likely to develop into repeat customers or else make major orders.
Giving up Early
Giving up too early is often a symptom of rushing to the sale. When the goal is the conversion and not the journey to the conversion, sales reps will see interacting with a prospect as a waste of time and potentially leave money on the table in favor of what they see as an easier lead. In sales, persistence pays, so you need to encourage your sales team to keep after prospects, especially if they continue to show interest in making a deal.
It might not be possible to stress this enough: Your prospects want to be treated like people. There are dozens of sales tactics that essentially eliminate the personhood of prospects — starting with calling them “prospects” and “leads.” You should work to make every interaction with a prospect as human as possible; even your automated messages should sound warm and customized. To do this effectively, you might segment your prospects into different categories based on their interests, demographics and more.
Using Only One Contact Method
Email is great, but so is social media, phone calls and good, old-fashioned meeting face-to-face. There is no single tried-and-true method of contact; in fact, utilizing a number of methods for reaching out to your prospects is a good idea, so you don’t skip over a solid-gold opportunity for no good reason. You might build a tiered system of contact — for instance, starting with automated emails and then calling any prospects who respond — or you can let your sales team utilize their contact methods of choice.
Refusing Third-party Prospects
These days, it’s possible to buy prospects from third-parties like marketing and data firms. It might seem like cheating to buy your prospects instead of searching them out yourself — and it is cheating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, especially if your business is brand-new. Buying prospects gives you access to a huge pool of opportunity, which you can use to drum up interest in your business. You might not get a one-to-one ratio with prospects to sales when you cheat this way, but that doesn’t mean it’s a waste of money.
You need to prospect. Whether sales are up or down, whether your business is new or old, whatever you sell and wherever you sell it — you need to prospect. By avoiding these major mistakes, you can ensure your prospecting efforts are effective and don’t waste anyone’s time.
Written by: Tiffani Wroe, BOSS Contributor