We've all heard the term KISS at one time or another - "Keep It Simple, Stupid." However, the majority of salespeople violate this basic principle more often than not.Let me start with some examples of what I'm talking about. At one position I held, I sat next to someone who could have been a top salesperson. He and I both operated much the same in that rather than cold call, we ran our own personal marketing programs to generate leads and simply took the calls that came in as a result. The problem is what he did with the calls. When someone called me, ready to buy, I immediately went into closing the deal and making arrangements to either come out with the paperwork or to fax it over. He, on the other hand, went into a full-length company story and a lot of other information that he absolutely should not tell a qualified prospect unless they ask for it. The end result is that people who called ready to sign up for one of our services lost interest and didn't buy anything at all.
Another example is what happens every time I try to make a business purchase. Here I am, saying "Yes, I'm going to buy," and the sales rep launches into a company story about how long they've been in business, who their big clients are, and on and on. Lucky for these salespeople, the product usually sells itself and I still buy. However, I'm willing to bet that a lot of people don't. Nothing is more frustrating than picking up the phone saying, "Hi, here I am ready to buy," and having some rep go into a story bragging about how great the company is and all that they can do. That comes off as pure arrogance to a business owner. What's more, talking about your big enterprise clients alienates most small business owners. They assume their needs will be placed second to those of the big dogs and that they'll be treated as just a number when calling for service.
I think most training is at the root of this massive problem. Every course I've taken has gone through the steps of a sale. The problem is, what if all the steps don't take place? Consider "objection handling." When I was working for that company I mentioned earlier, many of my prospects had no objections because my marketing pieces took care of them in advance. By assuming that each of these steps are going to take place, a lot of salespeople will cause something to happen when it really shouldn't have to begin with. If a prospect doesn't come up with any major objections, don't give them a reason to!
I've seen a lot of managers require their reps to fill out a "lead sheet" that documents each step of the sale. This assumes that each of the steps will happen when they may not. If you're required to maintain these types of records, skip anything that doesn't happen naturally. Don't induce a prospect to enter a selling phase that may not only be unnecessary, but may cause you to lose the sale entirely.
Use the KISS test when you're selling. Always ask yourself if what you're doing is actually necessary. Believe me, you'll save yourself a lot of wasted time and lost sales by doing so. I did.