Every salesperson starts their career believing they’re going to be successful – or at least they should – but there are a lot of rookie mistakes that hold them back. Some salespeople learn the hard lessons, adjust their approach and excel. Others… not so much.
Here are six common rookie mistakes that every salesperson has made.
1. Relying Exclusively on a Single Prospecting Channel
Relying on a single tool for prospecting limits the number of potential clients you are reaching. LinkedIn, for example, is a great prospecting tool and should absolutely be a part of your toolkit. However, as of April 2015, only 37% of the digital population in the US is on LinkedIn and most of that is from the technology, media and higher education sectors. This means, at best, you’re going to find one-third of the contacts in your industry and even less if you’re selling to old-school industries like construction or manufacturing.
2. Lacking a Vertical
When you know your client as well as you know your product you can predict objections, prescribe solutions and shorten sales cycles. Since you’ll never understand every industry, geography and company size – and because trying to is a waste of time – you need to pick an area of expertise. It can be something you have a background in or something you choose strategically.
3. Failing to Have a Nurture Plan
Even the best prospector will get a lot more noes than yesses. If you don’t know how to nurture the noes into yesses you’ll always be starting new deals from scratch. If you develop a nurture plan of regular touches – through discipline or marketing automation – that keeps you in regular contact with your potential customers, you’ll see your business grow organically over time.
4. Not Offering Anything in Exchange
Sales can’t be a one-way exchange. If prospects are going to give you their time, attention and eventually money, you need to offer them something. On the initial contact, that could be solutions (based on their industry, geography, etc.). As part of a nurture program that could be event invitations, valuable articles, eBooks or anything else that could add value for your prospects.
5. Only Aiming for the C-Suite
So, the CFO won’t take your call? That doesn’t mean the deal is dead. Depending on the organization, there may be directors, department heads or other stakeholders that can provide a way into the prospect company. They might take a little longer – and you don’t want to spam everybody in the company at once – but don’t give up just because the decision maker shot you down.
6. Not Reviewing the Results
This rookie mistake isn’t limited to salespeople, but it does have a larger impact on them. Every hour spent doing something that doesn’t work – or doesn’t work well enough to justify the investment – is costing you money. Considering the stakes, surprisingly few salespeople budget time to debrief and assess what’s working.
If your team is still making these rookie mistakes, download our eBook Caveman to Salesman: How to Evolve Your Sales Process into a Winning Strategy.