How easy would it be if your startup was guaranteed to achieve wild success from the very beginning thanks to a killer sales funnel that converts like crazy?
Sadly, success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to become an incredibly successful salesperson and build a winning sales strategy, you have to work smarter and avoid common pitfalls that can sink your startup.
Want to avoid tremendous hardships and smooth your startup’s growth path? Then don’t fall victim to these deadly sales errors.
Table of contents:
- Pricing your product too low
- Using the wrong customer profile
- Using a bad sales outreach strategy
- Not knowing the best practices for remote selling
- Selling features instead of benefits
1. Pricing Your Product Too Low
You did the hard part: you developed a product to solve a specific problem. Now it’s time to price your product. Pricing your products sounds easy, but hardly ever is.
Setting a price for your products is a process that impacts almost every aspect of your business, including your cash flow and profit margins. If the prices you set for your products are too low, you’ll get off on the wrong foot, and your sales approach will backfire.
Many customers prefer premium products, and they often believe that you get what you pay for. While everyone loves a good bargain, a low price is often associated with a low brand quality – not to mention that with low-cost products, you’re going to find it challenging to grow and scale.
Solution: Avoid the “low-price, low-quality” perception. Of course, pricing a product is a multifaceted and often complex issue related to a myriad of factors such as cost of production, demand for product, marketing strategy, and much more.
However, lowball offers can hurt your reputation and bottom line. If your prices are too low, make sure you rethink your pricing strategy to get your business back to a healthy, sustainable level. Start selling based on value, not just price.
2. Using The Wrong Customer Profile
Are you using an accurate Ideal Customer Profile to spot bad customers? Chasing the wrong customers is a waste of time, money, and energy. You can’t (and must not) do business with everyone.
To build a winning sales funnel, you absolutely need to have some kind of audience in mind that would use your products or services to solve real problems.
I have seen many companies using unfocused and incoherent customer profiles. They cram too much information into one single profile, thereby making it irrelevant and inapplicable to real-life situations.
Your Ideal Customer Profile isn’t a wishlist and should reflect companies that could actually enjoy your products (you may wish you could do business with Apple, but is that really achievable in the early stages of your startup?)
Here is another mistake that companies often make when building their customer profile: they fail to create a “no-go” profile and identify the clients who aren’t likely to buy from them (this approach could help you avoid nurturing and chasing the wrong customers).
Solution: Invest the time to build the right customer profile. Read this blog post on how to create an Ideal Customer Profile and gain intimate knowledge of your ideal customers. When it’s done the right way, a customer profile can help you attract new customers, strengthen your relationships with existing ones, and boost profits.
3. Using A Bad Sales Outreach Strategy
I have met many small business owners complaining that “sales prospects don’t answer calls and emails”.
Yes, it may be harder to reach busy people these days. However, people’s level of responsiveness is directly related to the sales outreach strategy you use – low-quality outreach results in very low response rates. Bad sales behaviour always leads to lousy outcomes.
Here are the most common mistakes business owners make when contacting a prospect:
- Using generic formulas that lack personality (e.g., “Dear Sir/Madam”)
- Email the same template to all prospects using a generic approach (e.g., “Hello, I hope you are well”)
- Sending a huge block of text or long content (no one would have the time and patience to read it)
- Using overused email subject lines (e.g., “As a financial influencer, you are concerned with making good purchasing decisions”)
- Sounding too salesy (in a way that comes off as unnatural and ungenuine)
- Not introducing yourself with your full name (imagine you receive a call from an unknown number, then you pick up and hear “Hey Grant, it’s Phil”. Phil who? I know about 200 people named Phil. Do you have a last name, Phil?)
- Using a generic sales script (a script that is not adjusted for each of your prospects)
- Being overfamiliar (talking to your prospect like you’re best buddies)
Solution: Take time to develop an effective sales outreach strategy. Here are some great resources to help you deliver a winning sales pitch and close more deals:
4. Not Knowing The Best Practices For Remote Selling
Remote selling (also known as virtual selling) has become the new normal – especially thanks to Covid-19 that has forced many businesses to pivot and adapt to new ways of interacting with customers.
Remote selling requires you to acquire a new set of skills that enable you to leverage the power of video marketing.
Remote businesses could immensely benefit from the use of video to market or promote their brand – if they do it the right way.
Even if your presentation is wonderfully designed with impressive visuals and slides, unprofessional background and too much background noise can kill your sales pitch.
You and your background represent your brand. Make sure your prospect doesn’t see your closet office, messy bookshelves, or piles of boxes, nor hear your dogs barking or your neighbour using their lawnmower.
Solution: Improve your technical skills and learn how to navigate video conferencing challenges (video quality issues, errors when trying to join a meeting, how to use a noise-cancelling microphone, etc.).
Even if you’re running a remote business, consider getting a professional virtual office. Not only will it help you enhance your business reputation, but it will also allow you to access dedicated office space and meeting rooms for important meetings and sales presentations.
Yes, video marketing is powerful and effective. Still, there are moments when you need to arrange face-to-face meetings to ensure the success of your sales strategy (e.g., closing an important deal or meeting a customer for the first time).
5. Selling Features Instead Of Benefits
People will never buy from you based on your product’s shiny bells and whistles. Instead, people will buy a product that is likely to solve their problems.
While a feature is something that your product has or is, a benefit is an outcome that your potential customers will experience by using your product.
Suppose you are selling workout programs. What would you say to get your prospect excited about the opportunity you’re offering? “Our workout programs include bodyweight exercises that take just 10 minutes to execute” (features)? Or, “Our workout programs make belly fat melt like snow and will make you look and feel great on your next beach vacation” (benefits)?
No doubt outlining the benefits (instead of features) will help you give a more convincing sales pitch and persuade more prospects to buy from you.
Solution: Remember that features tell and benefits sell. Don’t go into a deep dive description of your product’s features from the very beginning of your sales presentations.
Address the “why” issues instead of the “how” issues and explain to your prospects why your product could improve their lives. Make sure you are clear about your prospect’s goals, challenges, and desires – otherwise, you won’t be able to properly outline your product’s benefits.
Conclusion: Making mistakes is human nature. As Mark Zuckerberg says, “Don’t even bother avoiding making mistakes, because you’re going to make tonnes of mistakes and the important thing is to learn quickly from the mistakes you make and to not give up.”
Luckily, many have come before you, and this post provides you with the opportunity to learn from other people’s past missteps and create a winning sales strategy for growth.
Developing a sales strategy plan to level up your startup isn’t an easy task. Luckily, B2B HQ can help you boost your marketing and sales efforts. Our virtual offices are not just a nifty way to cut overhead costs but also a great way to polish your brand image, close more deals, and increase sales. We would be pleased to hear from you and help you achieve higher levels of success!