A quick overview of the “worst practices” in sales prospection. The following mistakes often lead to losing a deal. The good news is they are easily avoidable.

1. Focusing on quantity, rather than quality

Calling too many companies or bombarding them with emails will do no good, neither to you nor to your prospective customers. Target some promising customers and build up relationships on a case-by-case basis: dedicate your time and energy to fewer people and to the right people!
Top tip: Corporama enables you to refine your target market and to identify the right contacts within the companies you want to target. www.corporama.com

2. The often-debated topic of “cold calling”

Initially contacting a prospective customer by calling them, when they have never heard of you, is generally counter-productive. This was true in the past, but is even more so today, in a hyper-connected world where everyone constantly receives all kinds of requests (notifications via social networks, ads via email etc.). With cold calling, your contacts will be reticent and skeptical and it’s therefore much better to initially contact them by email.
Top tip: Getting in contact through Linkedin is very effective! www.linkedin.com

3. Contacting someone lower down in the company

Not targeting the decision makers is a common mistake (CEO, marketing director, communications manager etc). If your contact is an employee with no specific responsibility or decision-making power, you will waste a huge amount of time. Not only will that person be unable to progress in the negotiations, but you will have trouble reaching the real decision makers. So, try to avoid the middle man or woman!
Top tip: Find the email of the decision maker using a tool such as Hunter. www.hunter.io

4. Trying to fix an appointment right away

Whatever the chosen channel, do not immediately suggest a physical meeting. Give the prospective client a chance to absorb the information you have provided. Take some time to find out more about the prospective client before going any further.
Top tip: Suggest to your prospective customer that they pick a slot for the meeting using Calendly. www.calendly.com

5. Talking about price too soon

Even if a prospective customer asks you about your prices straight out, try and avoid disclosing information. For the simple reason that working out and discussing pricing can only happen after having sufficiently studied the customer’s needs and requirements. Be wary if a prospective customer is purely focusing on the price.
Top tip: Ask for a meeting to discuss prices (and don’t send them beforehand)!

6. Not listening enough

It is of course completely normal for a salesperson to believe in & maybe even worship the product they sell and company they work for. But talking only about yourself doesn’t leave room for listening & learning the most important things to better negotiate with your prospect.
Top tip: Record your calls with Aircall and time each speaker. If you talk more than 20% of the time during a first meeting, you are not going to gather sufficient information. www.aircall.io

7. Not clinching the deal

If you let too much time go by between a call or meeting & your follow-up, it’s likely that the deal will never be sealed. Your contact will keep putting off speaking with you and, little by little, will forget the added value of what your selling & the good relationship that you’d established. Unless you can obtain a decision over the phone, agree on a date to speak with your contact again.
Top tip: If you don’t succeed in setting up another meeting, settle on a good moment to follow up with your lead using Tilkee: www.tilkee.com

8. Not being up to speed on all details of the product

Whether you are selling goods or services, you need to provide full information about what you are offering. A prospective customer needs to be reassured: they want to know exactly what you are selling. They want guarantees and need to feel sure that the end result will live up to your promises. So, you as the salesperson need to be fully familiar & up-to-date with what you’re selling.
Top tip: Add customer references, testimonials (with real names) as an annex to your proposal.

9. Only concentrating on new clients

Landing new clients is fun & feels great… But prospecting is not just about finding new customers. Existing customers have needs that evolve over time. Why not stay in touch and build up the relationship?
Top tip: Ask your customers to evaluate your service once the deal is done… And if they give you a good score, ask them for a lead that you can contact. Try doing this using a questionnaire on Typeform. www.typeform.com

10. Not doing your homework before the first meeting

The first impression is decisive: a salesperson who doesn’t know their stuff is easily caught out. It isn’t enough to know all the different aspects of the offer. Before a meeting, collect information about your prospective customer and show them that you are genuinely interested in their problems. The ideal thing would be to come up with a real market study: the client will be impressed by your proactive approach. And even if this doesn’t result in a deal, at least you will have learned something more about the industry and its needs.

About Tilkee
Tilkee helps you assess to what extent your prospect or client is interested in your sales and marketing documents: number of times they read the document, the time spent reading each page, which part of your proposal/collateral did they download etc… All this precise data facilitates your follow up on leads so that you can concentrate on the right prospects, who show most interest, at the right time to save time and automatically increase your conversion rate.
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