Here are the 8 biggest sales mistakes you can easily avoid. The process of finding leads all the way to closing them as firm orders can take a few days to several months. Clinching sales deals can be both exhilarating and exhausting, and you sure don’t to be wasting your time by making simple mistakes. Here are eight of the most common sales mistakes that can easily be avoided. #1. Pitching Products Without Understanding Customer Needs Imagine walking into a supermarket and having samples of cheese pushed in front of your nose, or being offered a free test drive of a specific vehicle when you enter a car showroom! You may not like cheese, and you might not be interested in that type or brand of vehicle. So why do the same yourself in business? It’s amazing how many salespeople pitch or promote products to potential customers without establishing their needs and preferences! Sure, cold calls can sometimes work. Emailing potential clients with details of what you can offer them can sometimes work but only if you know that these potential customers are looking for your type of product. If not, then you are not only wasting your time but also alienating that customer from your company. That’s why random email blasts don’t work. You must understand what your prospective customer may be seeking. What type of products might interest them and how you can catch their eye on what you have to offer. Try to be unique in your marketing and avoid pitching products or services that the recipient may have no need for. #2. Failing to Follow Up Once you have provided a lead with information about your product, it is imperative that you follow this up fairly quickly. There are two major reasons for that and likely also some minor reasons. Let’s focus on the major reasons why failing to follow up a lead is a huge sales mistake. An inbound lead, where the buyer is a potential client, should be regarded as important. It is important to follow up actions in a timely fashion actions, such as initial contact and provision of product samples. According to a research paper published on Marketing Sherpa, conducted by James Oldroyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, if businesses received a revert within 5 minutes of lead generation, there is a 21 times higher chance of conversion. It’s also sometimes important not to be too quick where the potential client must test samples of your product. Give them a couple of days to carry out the test. Also, however, do not ignore them and expect the potential client to make the next contact. Follow up as soon as you feel appropriate whether that is 5 minutes or two days. #3. No Call to Action (CTA) Make sure your lead understands the next action in the process. You’re losing conversion if you expect the clients to miraculously understand the actions required to take the work ahead. Usually, you contact leads through emails or calls, and expecting them to revert or schedule a call requires a level of commitment which the prospective lead may not be ready for. A lead that you contact today may convert months down the line. Therefore, the best option is to open a communications channel for information sharing: for example sharing a case study or an e-report that the lead can review and understand your proposition. #4. Failure to be Proactive If you fail to take ownership of the lead-generation and follow-up processes, your client may get a negative impression of you. You must be proactive (as suggested in sales mistake #2 above) with communication, but to be so without appearing pushy or rude. Be vigilant and active with client communication. By being proactive, you will demonstrate that your business team is agile and responsive, and takes responsibility for its actions. This is comforting to many prospective clients. #5. Omitting to Publish Lead Capture Forms on Your Site Your website may often be the first point of contact a potential client has with your business. That potential client will become a lead unless there is a means of contact. Most people prefer to fill in a form as the initial contact than to call you. A website is an essential aspect of online business and needs to have a strategy to lead the sales, in the targeted market. It is like the storefront of a brick-and-mortar business that attracts a potential customer to come inside and check out the products. One of the biggest sales mistakes you can easily avoid is to fail to include a Contact Form on your website. For ‘Contact Form’ read ‘Lead Capture Form.’ There is no point in you having a website if you are not using it to capture leads that your sales force can follow up. Phone calls are all very well, but you can design a Contact Form to collect the vital information you require: name, email address, phone number, website address and so on. Many businesses spend thousands on traffic generation but what’s the point with a means of capturing the personal details of interested traffic? No means of lead capture present for collecting inquiries? You could also use a Chatbot to enable potential clients to chat online with your sales staff. #6. Distributing Visiting Cards at Networking Events Conferences, exhibitions, and meet-ups are excellent places to connect with people and businesses. Salespeople make the mistake of considering these networking events as a place to exchange hundreds of business cards in the hope that at least some people will call and inquire about the product or services. Most of the business cards reach the trash can after the event. In itself, that approach certainly does no harm, but it also does little good if that is the main strategy for such events. The best way to approach events such as these is to make contact beforehand. Devise a strategy and plan of action that should enable you to contact prospects directly. Check out the attendance (most events pre-publish such data) and connect before the event and set up meetings at mutually convenient times. Approach such meetings and events with a strategy to meet potential clients. #7. Falling out of Communication As a salesperson, your job doesn’t end with converting a lead and handing it over to the operations team. This is another mistake salespersons can make: they can fall out of the communications loop once the lead has been converted. Remember that the job doesn’t end just because your target signed a contract. You need to continue building a relationship with new clients because well-nurtured clients can become your brand advocates and send more clients your way. #8. Talking, not Listening It’s a common perception that sales is all about pitching the product or service. This is a serious error! First, understand what the client is going to do with your product or service before continuing with the pitch. If you are meeting clients, talk 25% of the time and devote the 75% to listen what the client is saying to you. Don’t adopt the “take it, or leave it attitude” unless that’s the last resort. Endnote Sales are the backbone of any business industry. A sales pipeline should be very clearly thought out the process. Keep in mind the above errors and don’t repeat them. Think as your lead or potential customer or client is thinking. Put yourself in their place and figure what you would respond to as a potential customer.