I always find it interesting how many sales opportunities that salespeople or business owners miss out on, often that they could have won! If they realised how much that lost business was worth over a 12 month period, I’m sure they’d be quicker to do something about it!
There are many different reasons why a salesperson or business owner loses the sale, but here are 3 of the most common – and also the easiest to put right!
Sales Mistake Number 1 – Poor First Impression
I’m astounded how often people struggle to get this one right! Think about the first impression people have of your business. If you’re a salesperson, their first impression of your business might be you! That means looking smart, arriving on time (or early), and looking the person in the eye when you greet them. If people are coming to your premises, it might be things like how easily they can park, how your receptionist greets them, or the literature in your reception area for example.
An example of a business that often gets this wrong (as anyone who travels a lot knows) is a hotel. Think about one of your first impressions when you enter a hotel. The first interaction you normally have with staff is when you check in. What’s often one of the worst things about a hotel? That’s right, their checking-in procedure!
Think about it……. it’s 01:00am, you’ve been driving for 3 or 4 hours and you finally reach your hotel for the night. You’re tired, exhausted and just want to get to bed. You wearily drag your bags and suit carrier up to the counter to be greeted from a voice (coming from somewhere below the counter) with the immortal line ‘SURNAME?’ Resisting the opportunity just to reply with ‘Yes!’, you drop all your bags, answer their inane questions and fill in the registration card with all the same details you filled in online and that you’ve already given them the 14 times you’ve stayed with them so far this year!
What Could They Do Instead?
Now I might be slightly exaggerating in the above example, but not by much! Think about what action a hotel could take to improve the experience. How about if you were greeted with something like ‘Good evening sir. You’ve probably had a long journey. While I quickly check you in, I’ll get the porter to take your baggage up to your room straightaway – do you have your booking reference?’
How much extra effort does this take? Not much! Is it worth it for the impression it leaves the customer with? Of course!
Sales Mistake Number 2 – Not Taking A Genuine Interest
This is something that’s vital to generating more sales, yet is something that’s often overlooked. Far too many people don’t take a genuine interest in their clients!
Let’s use a retail store as an example. Most people have had the experience of going into a retail store looking to make a substantial purchase – usually electrical like a television, computer etc etc. However that experience often isn’t as good as it could be!
Particularly at the moment, when stores have cut back on the number of staff ‘on the floor’ and available to help. Now if there’s a shortage of staff it’s more of a management issue than something the individual salesperson can do anything about, yet the staff who are left don’t seem to take any interest at all in the potential customers, let along a genuine one!
I’ve seen many potential customers stood around, desperately looking for someone to help them make a purchase! They wait for ages (the ones that don’t get fed up and leave) then when someone finally comes along, they appear to have no interest in the potential customer, no interest in what they’re looking for, and definitely no interest in making the sale! What kind of behaviour is that for a salesperson?!!
However most salespeople and business owners make the same mistake to some degree. Most either don’t take enough genuine interest in potential clients – either they don’t the right questions to uncover needs, buying motivation and drivers to purchase, or they are too ‘self-focused’ and talk to much about themselves and their solutions!
What Could They Do Instead?
Be aware of customers looking for help. Engage them in conversation. Ask them what they want the product or service for, not just ask about the technical specification. Ask them better questions about reasons and drivers behind the purchase!
Sales Mistake Number 3 – Poor Last Impression
If your business would like repeat business, testimonials, or customers referring you to others then people’s ‘last’ impressions of your business are as critical as their ‘first’ impressions of your business!
However, most people don’t think about the last impressions of their business. Perhaps the last impression of your business is the delivery driver or courier? The person experience the customer has when paying for the goods or service? The package when it arrives at the customers offices?
Let’s take the ‘hotel’ example we mentioned in the ‘first impressions’ part above. What is the second most annoying process of being in a hotel? That’s right – checking out!
Think about it…. you queue up at the desk, behind people checking in and people just wanting directions etc, then when you finally get to the front of the queue you’re asked for your credit/debit card details again (the same ones you already entered online and the same one you already gave them when you checked in). Then you have to wait while they do yet another card transaction – when you’re in a hurry and all you want to do is leave! The best you can hope for at the end of this long-winded procedure is a mumbled ‘thank you’ from the receptionist!
Does that sort of experience inspire you to book that hotel again? Send them a testimonial? Recommend them to all your family and friends? I thought not.
What Could They Do Instead?
How about when you check out, they ask you if you’d like the payment to be taken off the same card you used when checking in? I know they can do this as one hotel offered to do this last week. That’s the only time in over 250 nights I’ve stayed in hotels over the past 18 months it’s been offered!
Or how about taking full payment when you check in, so you can leave quickly in the morning? How about the receptionists were trained to say ‘thank you for staying with us – here’s a voucher for 10 percent off your next stay with our compliments’. How much extra loyalty and extra business would that generate? Quite a lot I’d think!