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Now why would you want to know how to lose a sale? Awareness is the first step to acknowledging that it’s quite possible the reasons for losing a sale reside squarely on your shoulders. If you know what NOT to do, you’re on the path to figuring out what TO do

1. Don’t Qualify Your Prospects

Skip over this step if you like spending hours and hours over coffee and a bagel and many lunch meetings with a "suspect" (not a true prospect), and you get nothing out of it but waste, spelled both ways: wasted time and a bigger waistline. All you need to know at this point is if they have a need, the money, and the power to make a decision.

2. Talk AT Your Prospects

If you’re looking for a surefire way to turn someone off, go ahead … BE the expert. Talk your head off. Share all of the features and benefits of your solutions and don’t discover their true needs and wants. Spouting off a script about how wonderful your strategic planning process is makes you sound like a late night TV infomercial. While it might make you feel knowledgeable, salespeople who talk AT their prospects don’t learn anything from or about their prospects or their needs.

3. Don’t Hear What’s Being Said

When you are too busy talking, it’s difficult to hear what’s being said to you when your prospect does speak. If your brain is too busy thinking about what you’re going to say next, then you can’t consider and respond properly to what your prospects are saying. Prospect’s know when you are not listening, or when you are not hearing them. They notice it, and they don’t like it. You lose rapport, and you lose valuable insight into what’s going on with the sale.

4. Never Ask Any Hard, Private, or Personal Questions

Most of us were taught as children not to ask people questions about their finances and not to ask strangers questions about their personal lives or their feelings. The thing is though, sales is all about money and feelings. If you stay away from these two areas, you won’t know until you offer solutions if they have the budget or decision making power. And you won’t know what’s driving them, depriving you of the leverage to move the sale to a close.

5. Accept Superficial Answers to Your Questions

Some salespeople do ask some good questions, but they stop themselves from probing further when they get a weak, superficial, or vague answer. If you move forward without knowing why the prospect is buying, without knowing all of their rewards and consequences, you’re not building urgency by turning latent needs to active ones.

Losing slowly is painful. And costly. It’s much better to find out early if you can win or not, and walk away when you can’t. Focus your time on real activity with real prospects asking real questions.