1. Prospecting too little
2. Follow up poor
3. Lack of persistence
Too little prospecting
Prospecting is probably one of the most written about topics in the sales process. The act of seeking out new customers should form one of the highest priority activities for your business. Interestingly, despite this being a critical element it’s incredible how little senior focus this gets (other than quizzing the sales management and sales team on what they have done) across most businesses. Cold calling as an activity, however, has become an industry in itself, often being seen as a sales activity conducted by the junior team members, usually with banks of young men and women calling, calling , calling all day long looking for the needle in the haystack. The words “cold calling” strike fear into even the most mature and experienced professional. Yet if “baked-in” to good sales habits is in no way onerous and can actually become, dare I say enjoyable. Remember too, that like most activities in life, there is no quick-fix, it is about sustaining a regular cadence and patiently watch the results unfold.
Poor or no follow up
Poor follow up is in my mind inexcusable, as it should be a natural activity to follow any engagement and a way of capturing your own take-aways and recollections of commitments made and actions to complete, plus of course next steps. It is a great way of showing your professionalism and interest in the other parties. The old adage of “forget your customers and they will forget you” is for me the embodiment of this habit…stay connected and engaged and be relevant and professional.
Lack of sales persistence
How often have you said or heard sales people saying “I’ve chased and had no response, I can’t be bothered chasing any more” or words to this effect? Statistically 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact, so stay persistent and show that you want to do business, but a word of caution – not at any cost. We are all living in an attention-deficit society and responses are often delayed because of this.
In summary – get a structure in place and make sure you are consistent in applying your routines and build a reputation that you can be proud of by being a true professional in the way you conduct yourself at all times.