4 Sales Prospecting Mistakes That Are Costing You Business

February 10, 2016 by Intelemark

sales prospecting

Identifying and communicating with prospects requires patience and finesse. Every potential customer has a unique situation, and experienced salespeople know how to address each buyer’s issues in a compelling, convincing manner.

But that doesn’t mean sales prospecting is easy, and even experienced salespeople are prone to making mistakes now and again. Let’s take a look at four common prospecting mistakes that your salespeople might be making that could be costing you business.

1. Asking the wrong questions

Upon communicating with a lead or prospect, most salespeople are eager to ask lots of questions. However, the quality of those questions can make a significant difference. Make sure the questions you ask:

  • Reveal whether an organization understands why your offering is the best solution for their critical business issue
  • Expose whether the organization has an adequate budget and will invest a product or service like yours if you can prove your solution will solve their critical business issue
  • Identify how the organization makes buying decisions

These insights are, at a minimum, what you want to uncover during prospecting. Failure to do so could result in improperly categorized prospects, salespeople setting appointments with unqualified organizations, and improper follow-up that result in a missed opportunity.

2. Listening passively, not actively

Show buyers that you understand their situation by repeating what they say instead of just writing down notes and moving along to the next question. This technique is called active listening, and it’s a way to build trust with your contacts.

Active listening can help salespeople, too. By feeding information back to a buyer, salespeople can confirm that they have a good handle on an organization’s requirements.

3. Failure to effectively articulate your value proposition

There comes a point during sales prospecting when you’ve received enough information from a contact to understand their critical business issue and determine how/ifyour solution can resolve it. When you arrive at this point, you must be able to:

  • Explain how your solution works and how it has helped similar organizations solve similar business issues
  • Validate how your solution can solve their specific business issue that they need to address
  • Provide insights that reveal the undeniable positive impact your solution will have on the organization’s business

Consider a medical device company communicating with a healthcare provider that still uses decade-old imaging equipment. Instead of stating that the new imaging equipment is “more efficient” or “more precise” (things the lead already knows), a salesperson could use examples of providers who were able to make better diagnoses because of the better technology.

As a result, the provider with the old equipment will realize that failing to upgrade its technology could be detrimental to the people it purports to serve. The value of the new solution is suddenly self-evident!

4. Using exclusive, rather than inclusive, language

Much like active listening, inclusive language helps salespeople build trust during their prospecting communications. All too often, a conversation with a prospect might include a statement like this:

“Thanks for telling me about that issue. It’s definitely something we can help you address so that your workforce can complete tasks more quickly.”

This approach defines the salesperson’s company as a “strong player” who helps the contact’s company, the “weak player,” do something it couldn’t achieve on its own. A better way to articulate the same message would be:

“That’s definitely a problem we can fix together. We’ll work it out so that everyone is completing tasks at peak efficiency.”

The changes are subtle, but the impact can be significant. By speaking inclusively, the salesperson makes the contact feel like a partner, not just another customer.

If it’s time to fill the gaps in your sales prospecting process and more effectively articulate the value of your solution, contact Intelemark today! Together, we’ll build a demand generation campaign that increases customer acquisition and revenue.

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