Sales Management
Five steps to ruin a Sale deal forever


Prof. Adya Sharma
Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB)

a) Ram was really troubled. He wanted to invest in  one of the mutual funds but the executive was not able to understand his needs and was explaining funds that did not fit his profile. "The sale did not happen"

b) Six months ago the executive was after their lives when Vishal (Asstt Mgr) had to place orders for the product. However in the past six months the executive had not bothered to check the working once. Vishal and the decision taking authority had decided that the next order would go to a different company. " The sale did not happen in future

The examples can be many and one can most probably go on about them. However the aim of this paper is very simple-" To highlight the five disasters which one must commit and get a guaranteed result---No sale".

In the world of today, selling is one of the most difficult and one of the most misunderstood job and yet the fact remains that if there is one department that is growing in importance daily and without which no company can survive then it is sales. Success in selling is based on the application of certain skills and the fact that one must have total commitment to the job. There is no formula and cannot be a perfect formula for selling success but there are certainly certain steps which can definitely ensure no success.

Rule no 1

"You have been identified as a Prospect. Just listen to me now"

The first step of selling is undoubtedly identification of the prospects and here comes the difference between a successful salesman and an unsusccsessful one. One should be able to identify a lead from a prospect so that one doesnot waste time and energy on a prospect who has no intention whatsoever in being converted into a customer, simply because he has no need of the product.. So how does one differentiate between a prospect and a lead??? Is it intuition?? The answer is simple NO!!! It is information  and simply information which will show the success. Work on the prospect and gather maximum information  about him. Identify the needs of the customer( individual or company) . Understand the working of the buyer company. Who are the decision takers? What has been the buying cycle and buying criteria in the past? Also be well versed about your competitors strategy and product. If you have done your homework well then your first step towards converting the prospect into a lead has begun.

For successful sales don't give the potential customer a chance to say " He does not listen and understand my needs".

Rule no 2

" Don't ask me too many questions. I am great in showing off but hollow in knowledge."

There has never been and never will be a substitute of knowledge. Another mistake which is often committed by sales executives is when they underestimate the customer. Gone are the days when company people were the only source of information for the customer. Today with advancement in technology, the customer is well versed about the product, the company ,much before the executive from the company actually meets him. Nothing is more irritating to the customer than the fact that the sales executive is trying to fool him or the fact that the sales executives does have knowledge about his own product.  So never approach a customer without full knowledge about your product and your Company.

Remember " No knowledge is no sales".

Rule no 3

" Let's close the deal today"

WoW!!! So you think you are almost there. The company/ customer definitely has a need for your product and you want to close the deal at the earliest. Yes, makes sense from your point of view but wait….. You are committing one of the biggest mistake. Every customer whether individual or Company needs time to think. Remember you are not the only one trying to close the deal with him. Your competitors are also there. So help him to solve his doubts, be there with him and lead him towards closing the deal but don't push him. Remember "P" is for push and "P" is also for patience.

For successful sales—"Remember to be Patient."

Rule no 4

" The sale is closed . Now I don't know you and you don't know me"

One of the major mistakes committed by the salesperson is when they identify their goal on a short term basis. The target for them is achieved when they close the deal and this is where they make a big mistake. The buyers today are a demanding lot, more so if your product is a high involvement product. It is extremely important to be in touch with the customer even after the deal. If he has a problem solve it before he tells 10 other customers about it. If he is happy about the product then there cannot be a better promotion for you.

In both the cases the victory is yours and all you have to do is " Follow up".

Rule no 5

" You promised the sky but to be honest reaching the fifth floor is also difficult".

Last and not at all the least. However the world may change , however advancements may take place, remember honesty would always be appreciated. Be honest to your customer. One is always ready with a solution when one is aware of the possible problems rather than be taken unawares. Remember you are looking for a long term relation rather than a short term one.

So my final rule says and this is not only for successful sales but for every aspect of life-" Be honest".

(about the writer—The writer is  Faculty at reputed Symbiosis Institute of International Business, Pune. Prior to that the writer has more than 10 years industry experience with MMTC Ltd which at a turnover of Rs151,237 mn in 2004-05 is  India's largest Foreign Trade enterprise and "A Government of India undertaking".

Prof. Adya Sharma
Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB)

Source: E-mail November 1, 2006


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