There are a lot of excuses for lost sales. And then there are real reasons — that the salesperson can control.
These come from the book How Winners Sell, by Dave Stein:
- Salespeople depend on the capabilities of their product or service to win. Not many companies have a unique enough product or service to simply blow the competition away. Winners differentiate their product or service in ways that convey value to customers, and they don’t count on their products or services to beat the competition.
- They’re afraid to get out of their comfort zones and assume a position of strength – to be more persistent, to negotiate for access to the real buyer, and to be more persuasive. Some are fearful on calling on executive-level buyers or are completely intimidated when selling against tough competition. Few comfortable places exist anymore for salespeople who don’t have the courage to figure out what they need to win and take appropriate action
- They don’t know who their competition is. They get outsold because they don’t know anything about the salesperson who is competing for the same business – not their name, how they sell, whether they’re new at the job or highly experienced, or what that person is likely to do to win the business. That’s selling blind.
- They depend too much or too little on relationships. Relationship selling usually isn’t enough anymore. If a salesperson can’t prove value, knowing the key buyers usually won’t close the sale. On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to build a win-win relationship with customers who can influence the buying decision. The key is to develop good customer relationships without counting on them too much to close the sale.
- They don’t have a plan to win. The thought of taking control of what’s happening with customers and prospects doesn’t occur to them. They have no objective, nothing to aim for. Some of them give lip service to the plan, but haven’t done the planning.
- They don’t really understand their customer’s business. They don’t do their homework. They don’t think that something is important. They aren’t passionate about solving their customers’ problems.
- They didn’t have all the skills and traits required to win. The skill levels required for sales success in today’s selling environment are different from what they were even a few years ago. Salespeople have to be better researchers, information gathers and leaders than their competitors. Winning a sale today requires knowledge, planning and precise execution from beginning to end. Successful salespeople offer greater and more meaningful service to their customers and know their competitor’s next move – so they can move first.