SCORE Small Business Blog

3 Things to Avoid If You Want to Make a Sale
1 Comment

There are a plethora of blog posts, podcasts, webinars etc. telling you what to do if you want to convert prospects into customers i.e., make the sale. In my opinion, there’s also a lot you can learn on what to do by studying what NOT to do. So here are my three basic rules on how not to screw up the sale process:

1.  Don’t Ambush a Stranger

This pretty much boils down to: “Stay away from cold calling potential customers.” Don’t buy lists of contacts, no matter how “reputable” the source is. When was the last time you decided to give telemarketers calling at dinner the time of day? More importantly, when have you ever hung up the phone with a happy feeling after being asked to buy something from a stranger over the phone? I recommend that you prohibit yourself from directly contacting anyone who hasn’t explicitly agreed to be contacted or hasn’t consented to getting more information. You don’t want to turn your potential customer away even before they’ve established interest. Instead, meet prospects at industry conferences, neighborhood locales where your target customer would frequent and even reach out to your personal circle to see who else would be interested. After your initial introduction,  you can feel free to follow up with a friendly phone call or email.

2.  Don’t Obscure Your Actual Value With Bells and Whistles

Unless you’re actually selling bells and whistles (ex: party store), focus instead on showcasing your actual value rather than trying to “trick” customers into buying with elaborate promotions, flashy events and inflated promises. The customer’s buying decision will always boil down to: what’s the value in it for me? Some of the most successful companies are exceedingly simple in the way they market themselves with their only emphasis on how their product will improve the customers’ lives (no matter how small or large the offering is, you’re trying to make the point that what you’re selling will ultimately make some aspect of your buyer’s life better). If you’re promoting like crazy with very little results, consider “cutting the fat” in your marketing and only call attention to your value.

3.  Don’t Sell A Solution If Your Customer Can’t Identify A Problem

Customers will buy a product or service because it solves a need that they have. Don’t waste time forcing a solution on a prospect if they themselves cannot understand what needs to be fixed. This goes along with the first tip about not cold calling. Before you even approach your potential client, identify that they would actually have an interest in what you’re offering. For example, if you talk to a prospect and they’re generally happy with a competitor’s product and you can’t offer them a better price or better value, politely thank them for their time and go back to brainstorming how you can outshine the competition next time. Do not spend your precious time trying to persuade a customer who isn’t looking for the solution you’re selling.

Bryan JaneczkoFounder, Wicked Start
Bryan has successfully launched multiple startups. His latest venture, Wicked Start, provides tools to plan, fund, and launch a new business. Also author of WickedStart: Guide to Starting a New Venture with Passion and Purpose, Bryan is committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed.
www.wickedstart.com | Facebook | @WickedStart | LinkedIn | More from Bryan

// |

Discussion (1) Comment


  1. Jim HeathVisitor

    I would modify the prohibition against cold calling. While cold calling is unpleasant and has a lower close rate that calling customers who have expressed an interest, cold calling does get quicker results than waiting for a call.

    In a B2B setting many people expect to spend time talking to unknown vendors.
    In my career as a buyer I bought almost exclusively from people who had approached me for an appointment without an invitation. Invitations are nice, but if you are waiting for strangers to invite you to their office or strike up a conversation at an industry conference, you are living in a dream world.

 

Leave a Comment