In a perfect world, every prospect you speak to is a terrific match – they need what you have and you’re excited to help them out! But as we well know, sales can sometimes be a rollercoaster.

Personalities clash, priorities shift, and miscommunication runs rampant, making even the most slam dunk deals fall apart at the last minute. In fact, 79% of all marketing leads are never converted to sales. Sad times 😢

Although this can be frustrating, there are some ways to come back from these common mistakes that drive your prospects wild (in a bad way).

Not Getting to the Point

When speaking to a prospect it’s important that you respect and make the most of their time. Although casual conversation is integral to relationship building, it’s best to cut to the chase and save the pleasantries for later. Some sales reps make the mistake of feeling so confident that the product is a good match for the potential buyer that they forget to do the real work of the sale.

So get to the point! Tell your prospect who you are, why you’re calling and what you want. Keeping the conversation concise, honest, and direct are surefire ways to win over your prospect. In our recent interview with sales expert Jeb Blount, we discussed what he calls the Five Step Telephone Process.

He explained, “All we do in the Five Step Process is get a prospect’s attention by saying their name. Then we tell them who we are and we tell them what we want, because a prospect can’t pay attention to anything else that you say until you answer those three questions. And then we give them a reason why, or a because statement. Finally, you ask for what you want, which is time. So with the Five Step Process, you’re getting to a yes, no or maybe in about 10 seconds.”

Using Outdated Sales Tactics

It’s time to spring clean your sales tactics before your prospects get a peek at the mess. Outdated sales methods are outdated for a reason. Either they’ve been debunked or we as a sales community have found much better ways of coping with this ever-changing industry.

One of the most outdated yet frequently used tactics is the hard close. Instead of forcing the sale, try learning how to be an influencer. This tactic is much more successful in an age where prospects have the answers to nearly all of their questions at their fingertips and often don’t start the buying process until after they’ve done their own research.

An influencer in sales is an expert who can guide the prospect with their in-depth knowledge of the industry so he or she can find a solution that truly is best suited for their needs (even if it’s not your product). Putting your focus on being an influencer will instill trust in your prospect. That trust may not necessarily lead to a sale right away but it will provide ample opportunity for a lifelong customer when their needs finally do align with your solution.

Choosing Procedure Over Relationship

One of the best ways to piss off your prospect is to ignore their needs and barrel through your foolproof plan for winning the sale. You may feel like you’re leading a lost lamb to the oh-so-wonderful closed deal pasture, but in reality, you’re kind of doing them (and yourself) a huge disservice. Ignoring the needs and wants of your prospect practically guarantees failure. And more often than not, sales reps don’t even realize they are doing it.

When a lead comes to you asking a lot of questions you can quickly assess what they should be asking, their level of experience with this product, and maybe their level of experience in their own position. Given your own wealth of knowledge, it’s plain to see how you could best help them. The trouble here is that when we make assumptions… well, you know the rest.

The simple remedy for this issue is to listen to what your prospect has to say. After all, whether your first inclinations were right or wrong, it’s important to the relationship that you really hear them out. Research shows that you are 4.2x more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with a buyer. Why not solidify that relationship with a little active listening? 👂🏼 Choosing to honor their thoughts and feelings over your meticulously laid out procedure can score you major points in the long run.

Turn That Frown Upside Down

Being direct, building relationships, and challenging the sales status quo are all great ways to keep your prospects from getting pissed off. And remember, happy prospect, happy life!