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Five mistakes sales managers make

Sales trainings are the main bread of a business trainer in our region - businesses invest in such training that can bring the fastest possible commercial result.

Let your staff read this material.

Five mistakes sales managers make
Photo: pixabay.com

Olga Zbarskaya

business coach, social psychologist

More than 10 years of work in this direction allowed me to form a list of typical problems that sales managers have, in whatever industry they work and whoever they serve - "physicists" or "lawyers".

Mistake 1. They do not talk with the client about himself, they try to move quickly to the presentation of the product.

“5 sales stages” probably bounce off the teeth of everyone who worked in this field: establishing contact - clarifying the need - presenting the product - discussing (sometimes called working out objections, but more on that in paragraph 2.) - making a deal. In practice, this structure exists on its own, and salespeople build a conversation with a client as God will put their hearts on - or rather, as the client decides.


And the client, of course, did not come to talk, but to understand the product and buy it. Therefore, he will most often avoid questions and demand that he be presented with an offer immediately.

This is where the salesperson's skill is tested - or rather, his ability to gently but decisively seize the initiative in the dialogue and first ask the client questions about his interests and selection criteria. This can be done, for example, like this:

- Let me ask you a few questions to understand what will suit you best?

It is even more effective to have a pleasant small talk ("small talk") to establish contact, which will flow smoothly into the conversation about the client's interest. He himself will not notice how the employee will find out everything that is necessary and will be able to make an offer "not in the eyebrow, but in the eye."

The main problem of our sellers is the fear of human contact with customers. The more informal the conversation is, the more confidential it is, and the more information a person can provide about himself so that the seller really satisfies his need. And the less objection there will be after a product offer is made to him. And the more new clients on his recommendation the business will subsequently receive.


Mistake 2. They are afraid of objections, resistance and rejection.

"Dealing with objections" is perhaps the most popular request for training employees in the topic of sales techniques. Fight! As if you have to fight a client who objects like an enemy!

I always proceed from the idea that any negative reaction is better prevented in advance than filming when it occurs. Where do the objections come from? Yes, from an incorrectly made proposal, but it is taken from the unclear needs and interests of the client, which leads us to work on mistake # 1.

If the seller is sincerely involved in the dialogue, if he hears the client, asks targeted questions, and at the same time there is no feeling that he is "interrogating" - most likely there will be no objections.

If the objection has already happened, treat it as a manifestation of interest and involvement of the client. Well, think for yourself: if he was not interested and he did not want to buy for real, would he waste his time on this dialogue?

Objection is called an invitation to talk, and it's true! Objection is an opportunity for a salesperson to learn something important about a customer's values ​​- and tell more about a product. If the seller loves and knows his product, then he will cope with this task. If at the same time he does not yet treat customers as enemies who must be “defeated”, and sincerely accepts their right to raise doubts and objections, then he will cope with the task of neutralizing objections simply brilliantly.

There are tons of objection-handling techniques out there - just open the internet! I really like the techniques of "paraphrase", "yes, but" and "3P" - in that each of them does not provoke confrontation, but, on the contrary, allows you to accept the client's position with acceptance and gently convince him of the merits of the product.

 

Mistake 3. Give discounts just like that.

Many sales managers have sufficient autonomy in providing bonuses to the client. And they often use a discount or other concession as the main lever of negotiation, completely without using other methods of argumentation. Don't like the quality? We will give you a discount. Wrong delivery times? Here's a discount for you. Is it cheaper around the corner? Here's another discount for you.


There are businesses with a clearly defined, transparent system of discounts and bonuses, which depend on the volume of purchases, the length of cooperation, and other parameters. Please note that discounts are not given just like that, because the customer said, "Not that." This is a sign of gratitude for some kind of "merits" of the client.

If the pricing is flexible and the manager can decide for himself whether to provide the client with a bonus, then the discount should be the last lever of motivation for the transaction. Only when all other means of argumentation have been exhausted and a final trump card is needed. Moreover, there is a clear rule: not a single concession to the client is made just like that, for beautiful eyes. It is important to proceed from the message that we are partners in this bargaining, we have a mutual interest. What is the discount for? For any move that is beneficial for you: an increase in the purchase volume, prepayment, cash payment, concluding a contract today, etc. In this case, the partner's message to the client is: "We are taking a step towards you - but we want to see the same step from you."

 

Mistake 4. They do not motivate the client to make a positive decision.

Do you know what customer phrases infuriate salespeople the most? No, not "expensive". Here is:

- I need to think.

Или:

- I will consult with my wife and return to you.

- I have not decided yet.

First, the manager "dances dances" around the client, showing him the product with his face and working through objections, spends a lot of time and effort - then contemplating the back of the leaving client who "has not yet decided."

Unpleasant, isn't it?


About 10 years ago, sales technologies were taught to work out the situation with a counter question: "What do you need to think about?" It is now clear that this issue is perceived by the client as pressure and does not work.

So what to do?

Once again, any negative reaction is easier to prevent in advance. Here you can use such methods of "prevention" as:

• Clarification of the client's needs (yes, I’m talking about it again! I generally think that the clarification stage is the key in any negotiations),

• Summarizing the client's needs that he told you about: - So, let's summarize: you want it to be green, no more than 20 cm in diameter and keep the temperature for a long time, right?

• Offer the client options to choose from,

• After you have presented the client 2-3 options, be sure to ask a question to clarify the relationship, for example: "Which of this did you like the most?" If the client at this stage clearly defines his attitude, then it will be more difficult for him to use excuses.

If the phrase from the category “I need to think” still sounded, you still have the opportunity to do something to continue the constructive dialogue and bring it to a result. In my opinion, the best solution here is openness:

- I see that something did not suit you. Can you honestly say - what exactly is wrong? This is important for me to hear.

- Tell me, is the problem in cost? Or something else?

- “I'll think about it” is usually said when they decided not to buy, but do not want to offend the seller. Tell me, am I right?

Our people are not used to honesty and openness - and will most likely be disarmed by your directness. And they will surely tell you something important in response, with which you can continue to work. In my memory, there was a vivid case when the manager of the salon, with whom we conducted field training, turned the back of the leaving client literally at the door - and signed a contract with him on the same day.

An even more egregious mistake is the behavior of some managers who receive phone calls from customers:

- Hello, do you have a magic wand, like Harry Potter - made of holly, with a core of a phoenix feather?

- So, let me see ... No, now only sticks of yew are left in the warehouse.

- Oh, okay, goodbye.

- Bye.

What??? Seriously? This is not the job of a salesperson, but of a robot answering machine with the function of monitoring the balance in the warehouse!

- We have a better one - her twin wand made of yew, with the core of the tail of the same phoenix. You probably know who had such a stick? (Pause) Which batch do you want?

A good salesperson knows how difficult it is for many customers to take this step - to go from just discussing the product to making a decision. Therefore, they have a set of questions or phrases that gently move the conversation into the final productive stage:

• How many pieces should you wrap?

• Making out?

• On what day do you arrange delivery?

• If you take 10 pieces - get a bonus cloth for cleaning sticks. What do you think?

 

Mistake 5. They do not like their product and are not interested in it.

When discussing an order for a sales training, I am always one of the first to ask the customer a question: do the managers know their product? Because learning sales techniques is a waste of time and money if the employee has nothing to say about the product.

Of course, nowadays you rarely come across such a phenomenon. A condition for admitting a manager to work with clients is his introductory training specifically on the product.

But now even this is not enough. Once I happened to observe how in the showroom of a production and trading company a sales manager “floated” a little in response to the customer's corrosive and uncomfortable questions. But on occasion, the owner of the business turned out to be nearby. She walked over and began to tell the customer about this product. And here it became clear how influential true love for their product and great curiosity are, which encourages the employee to learn more and more about it - and share these stories with the buyer.


The buyer not only bought the product - the owner gave him a “tour” of the showroom, and he picked up something else for himself. I am sure that later, on the recommendation of this person, the business received more clients.

In conclusion, I will say: communication, including such as selling, is a process that is difficult to algorithmize. All of these structures, techniques and tools are nothing more than props for beginners or insecure employees. The key factors in the success of a salesperson are: love for and knowledge of your product, perception of the client as a partner, not an enemy, love for human communication and the ability to keep a goal.

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