The 5 biggest mistakes I see in Business Development
In order from the biggest mistake, here are my top 5 that I see people in Business Development or sales roles consistently making in 2012.
1. Selling to the wrong person
Just because someone has a certain title, you cannot assume they are the buyer. Yes, they may have influence, but really how influential are they? When you sell to an organisation, finding the real buyer is not always easy. That in itself is a skill. Investing time selling to the wrong person is a hall of fame error. Your skill is to get in front of the people who have the influence and authority to purchase whatever it is you are selling.
2. Please send me more information
In a world where we are all drowning in a sea of information I cannot see how sending more information can help anyone. Do you really think they want to read more detailed documents about your offering? Isn’t it now all on line anyway? Sending more information is more likely to confuse them and delay their decision making. When someone asks you for more information, respect their request and use your skills (learnt on an NRG program) to get in front of the right people. If you don’t you are in danger of the number 1 mistake (see above) occurring.
3. Poor questioning and listening skills
To succeed in BD or selling you need two good ears and one mouth. Yes 2 ears and 1 mouth, not one ear and 2 mouths. Spend more time listening to your prospects and you will sell more. The world’s shortest course on selling is; ask better questions and then listen actively to their responses. If you want to ask better questions prepare them before you see your prospects. Do your homework, just like you started doing when you were 7 years old, if you want to get better marks.
4. Not enough prospects
If you only have a handful of opportunities in your sales funnel, you will be likely to pester those prospects to death. Endless phone calls, emails, sms’s, faxes, homing pigeons, Skype calls, twitter updates. Have you decided yet? Hurry last chance etc.! Talk about annoying. Don’t get me wrong, great follow up is a critical skill, but don’t hound people. No one likes being sold to, but people do like to buy. Your skill as a professional in BD or Sales is to keep finding new prospects. Every day there will be opportunities that are there for the taking. Have your SADAR (sales radar) switched on and be on the lookout for more prospects for your funnel.
5. Fear of closing
This is a classic error. There is a time and a place when you need to say to the prospect, would you like to go ahead and purchase today? If you try and close too soon you may not understand their real needs or even who is making the decision (see rule 1). If you close too late you’ve missed the window of opportunity. One of my favourite piano players, Billy Joel summed it up beautifully when he said “You never let a good thing slip away”. Although incidentally he did. Billy, what happened with your “Uptown Girl”, Christie Brinkley?