One of the most difficult aspects of sales is building a relationship with someone who legitimately wants to buy your product. Everything has to match – the timing has to be right, they have to have purchasing power, and somehow, you need to find some way to connect with them.
The last thing you want to do is get rid of this opportunity.
But, of course, this happens. Mostly, it happens when the sellers don’t act with the buyer first and do something that spoils the trust, which can instantly invalidate all the work the salesperson did in the first place to get the meeting.
What are these things? As part of the LinkedIn 2021 State of Sales Report, we asked more than 3,800 B2B buyers to rank the behaviors of salespeople that lead to deals ending instantly. There were three who climbed to the top of the list.
They are in reverse order:
3. Lack of understanding of the buyer’s company and their needs.
This is further evidence of the importance of being a buyer first. If you walk into a meeting focused heavily on your own product, with little understanding of the problem you’re solving for your customer, you’re unlikely to end the deal.
This is why asking great sales questions and active listening are so important. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how great your product is.
What matters is whether your product can solve the buyer’s problem.
2. Not understanding your product or service.
More than any other quality, buyers said what they want most in a B2B salesperson is to be trustworthy. But how can a B2B buyer trust you if you don’t even know your own product?
The best salespeople don’t just know their own product, they know the industry, their competitors, and their customers’ business. But, at the very least, you need to know what you’re selling.
More specifically, you need to know how your product can serve the buyer. Think about the questions a buyer will have about your product, in relation to the problem they are looking to solve.
What if a buyer asks you a question about your product that you don’t legitimately know the answer to? That’s fine, tell them and promise to find out. If played correctly, it can actually give you a chance to continue the conversation.
But inventing something or stumbling on a patchwork answer is a surefire way to lose a deal, according to buyers we surveyed.
1. Providing misleading information about the product or price.
This behavior was the “instant deal killer” and, frankly, it’s no surprise to see it top the list.
Take the product first. If you over-promise your product’s features, you are lying to your customer. What will happen when they use the product and it doesn’t do what you said it would?
They’d be upset (understandably). And not only will this cost yourself a deal, but it will also hurt your brand and that of your employer.
Then there is the price. Yes, there is a science to discussing the price with your customer, with the goal of demonstrating value first. But in the end, if the customer pushes you to the price, just tell them. This will actually build your trust with them.
Why do salespeople exaggerate their products or hide the price? Because, basically, they don’t fully believe in what they’re selling.
Don’t let this happen to you. Be honest with yourself about your product and the value it provides. If you don’t really believe in it, maybe it’s time to sell something else.
But don’t lie.
Conclusion: To avoid losing deals, focus on the buyer, not yourself.
What is the common denominator between these behaviors?
It is the result of focusing on yourself and not the buyer. If you don’t know the buyer’s challenges, it’s because you are so focused on your own offering. If you are “misleading” about the price or offerings of your product, you are probably focusing on getting to your number, not solving the buyer’s problem.
In fairness, if you don’t really know your product, you may be new. If you are not new, know that to provide effective service to the buyer, you have to understand your own product.
Bottom line, there’s a very simple recipe for avoiding all three of these deal killers – act buyer first. All of these problems can be avoided by focusing on the buyer’s problems and then re-planning your solutions to them.
If you do, you will build trust, be seen as that strategic partner, and eventually, more deals.
Download our free report on How to Be a Buyer First When Selling.