Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of any business. Without it, the business will not be able to survive and thrive.
You do not need to make the same mistakes most salespeople and marketing do. Avoid these seventeen sales and marketing mistakes right at the onset and boost your chances of being a rainmaker.
Focusing on the product instead on the consumer
The great secret of sales and marketing is empathy. Instead of being self-centered and focusing on the idea that you have to make a sale, it is critical to think from your customer’s perspective. How can what you are offering help your customer solve their problem or improve their life?
It’s possible that your product or service may not be the best fit for your customer. So don’t shove it down their throats. Understand first their needs and go from there. If you need to recommend a competitor’s product or a different solution altogether, do it.
You are smart while your customer is dumb
This is where ego gets in the way of your sales and marketing success. You are not smarter than the customer because they know what they are looking for.
So take the time to be humble, listen and ask questions so that you will know if your product is a good fit for their needs.
Yes, it’s important to educate your customer but it’s more important not to treat them like a child. They know what they want and it’s your job to show them that what you’re offering is what they are looking for.
Focusing on the price before the benefits
Market your product by explaining the benefits first it gives to your customer. Don’t discuss the price first, only when you have sold well the benefits of your product. By doing this, you will be able to justify the price you mentioned because the customer will be able to value the benefits of your product in their mind.
If you focus on the price without explaining the benefits or the value it brings, they will automatically think it’s too expensive. So take the time to explain to them how your product or service will save them time, money or effort, or how it could generate more money for them that will practically pay for the product itself.
Quantify the benefits as much as you can. Do as much research or simulations as you can so you can quantify in numbers how much value your product provides them.
Not asking for the sale is a mistake in sales and marketing
You have invested significant time talking and explaining your product to your customer. Don’t let them walk off without asking for the sale. If you do not ask, you do not sell. It is as simple as that.
However, be helpful, towards the end of your conversation with your customer, ask if they have any questions or anything that you can do to get the sale closed.
What’s the worst that could happen? Yes, you can get rejected. However, you will need many rejections before eventually, you make a sale. It is a numbers game.
Asking for the sale shows that you’re confident with the product or service you are offering and you sincerely believe that your prospect is better off with it.
The key to asking for the sale is to assume the sale. Early in the sales process, be in the mindset that you’re assuming that they will buy your product or service. You’re just ironing out the kinks and possible questions that they might have before closing the sale.
For example, you will sprinkle in your conversation which color that they prefer or their preferred mode of payment. This assumes that the deal is essentially done and just minor details have to be addressed.
Not presenting with confidence
Whenever you get to pitch your product in front of your customer, make it clear that you believe so much in what you’re offering that you want the product to be eventually in the hands of your customer so that it can help them.
Right at the bat, you are making them subconsciously visualize that at the end of the day, they will be buying your product.
The important thing is your project confidence. You will be much more persuasive and influential if you have confidence.
The key to confidence is to really believe in your product or service. It’s hard to be enthusiastic and confident about a product you don’t believe in. No matter how good you are in acting, it will show and so it matters that you only try to sell things that you yourself will use. Be the biggest fan of your product and this naturally will translate to natural confidence.
Judging others based on their ‘looks.’
This means only talking to people who ‘seem’ to be able to afford your product. A lot of rich people these days are minimalists, think Zuckerberg.
On a broader scale, this means you should treat every potential customer equally. Do not let race, gender, appearance or religion get in the way. Treat them as for how you want to be treated.
Treat every customer as to how you would treat anyone. Rich or not so rich, they are a potential customer and they deserve your best attention and treatment. Always remember that social media can be used against you. If you treat them badly, they can always rant about you on social media and you’ll have to do some costly damage control through PR or issue a public apology to get the issue to die down.
Overloading them with information
No one likes being overwhelmed with information. So take your time and just provide information as necessary. Share those bits of information that matter to them. If they ask questions, provide the required information.
Keep things simple, and you will find selling will be much easier.
Research shows that our minds get stressed when faced with too many choices and information. You don’t want to be the business that offers too many choices. Optimize your business in a way that makes decision-making easy for them.
If you know your customers really well, you will only make options that matter to them. Other options or details are not really necessary. Just give them what they really value.
If the customer really wants specific information, give it to them. The rest, they can just read it on their own. You don’t have to bombard them with information and as a result, turn them away because they end up getting confused.
Not doing your homework
Preparation is the key to success in many things in life, including sales. If you can do background research first of your prospective customer, do it. Understand their position so that you know your product fits in their life or business.
With all the information and technology at our fingertips, it is unforgivable if we do not prepare as much as we can beforehand.
Once armed with information, you can think of counter-arguments to their most common issues to your product.
Part of doing your homework is to find out about your competition as well. Understand the competitive landscape. How is your business seen in relation to others? By knowing your industry well, you can position your brand properly and sell it to the intended market.
Lack of authenticity
People can easily tell if you’re being a fake person. You should be authentic when dealing with customers. You should see sales and marketing as an opportunity to help someone and uplift their life with your product or service.
Being authentic means really caring for your customer. It means you’re not there for the quick buck. You are there to make a difference in the lives of your customers. You want to build a long-term relationship with them and make them a loyal and repeat customer rather than just pushing for one transaction with them.
Marketing for the short term, instead of having a long-term view
Sales and marketing is a marathon. You don’t want to be in a position where you constantly worry in getting customers. You want to see sales and marketing as building a long-term relationship with you so that eventually they become your brand advocate and bring in more customers for you instead of you doing the hard work of getting customers all the time.
Seek to forego the short-term gain or sale through aggressive and sometimes fraudulent sales tactics. Focus on delivering value at the onset and for the whole life of the customer. By being customer centric with a long-run perspective, you can ensure stable cash flow and long-term sustainability for your business.
Too much jargon
Drop the jargon. Keep things simple. Keep it to the level of your customers. Avoid complex and technical words unless your prospective customer is the technical kind of customer who expects you to know the jargon of the industry, e.g. medical technology.
But for most products, simplicity wins every day.
Tim Ferris says that one skill that every marketer should invest to learn is communication. How do you communicate simply and effective to people so you can influence them to take the action that you want them to do, which in most cases to purchase your product or avail your service.
So keep your sales talk or presentation simple. Appeal to emotions. Don’t be too technical and alienate your prospects.
Marketing to everyone
Unless you’re marketing a consumer good like toothpaste, then you don’t market to everyone. Find your tribe, just like what Seth Godin recommends. Find the people that need your product. Look for them intently so that they will be extremely grateful that you’re helping improve their lives with your product or service.
This means that you should do targeted marketing. Use only the social media channels that your prospects or customers use. You don’t need to have an account on very social media platform, just the ones your tribe uses.
Highly personalized marketing means you talk their language and you know them so well that each one can relate to your marketing message well.
Not following up with your prospects
It’s possible that they might not be ready for your product or service the first time you pitch it to them. But the interaction shouldn’t end there. You should take their contact details and follow up with them another time.
Develop a relationship with them even though they have not purchased anything from you. Eventually, there will come a time that they will be ready to do the transaction with you. Always remember that sales and marketing is a marathon. Play the long game and consistently follow up with the people in your email list, phone book, social media network.
Waiting for referrals
Be active in getting referrals. Ask for it. Develop a system where referrals have a high chance of happening. Read this piece on strategies on how to boost your referral success.
Referrals are one of the best marketing strategies. It’s highly cost-effective and it boosts your revenues tremendously.
Undervaluing social media and digital platforms
Not being digitally capable in a highly digitized world is suicide for your business. You, as an entrepreneur and chief marketer, have to understand how social media and digital platforms like having a website and blog play an important role for your sales and marketing system.
Almost everyone has access to a smartphone and is using the internet to get information and make purchases. If your business continues to be old fashion and just run a brick and mortar operation, your business is unlikely to grow and will fail soon.
So take the time to master the digital landscape to get marketing leads and even close through e-commerce.
Too many discounts and promotions
Having discounts or promotions from time to time has its merits and is even encouraged. But if you give them too often or too casually, it will have several drawbacks for you. For one, it weakens and devalues your brand. Why will people bother paying full price if you’re perpetually giving discounts?
Also, while it may boost your cash flows temporarily, it hurts your long term profitability if you always rely on discounts and promotions.
Discounts that are good are things like early payment schemes, or if they purchase in bulk or something.
Finally, having too many discounts and promotions will train them to always expect it for your future products.
Focusing too much on prospects but ignoring your customers
It’s easier to focus on your existing customers and make sure they are happy rather than always seeking to find new customers.
Treat your customers like gold and your prospects like silver. Yes, they both matter significantly, but seriously, you’ve got to give the edge to your customers, especially the long-time ones.
Final Words on Sales and Marketing Mistakes
Yes, you will have made these mistakes at one point, most likely because of ignorance. But now that you have read this article, remedy the situation and put these strategies to work.