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  • Writer's pictureBrian Burns

5 Common B2B Sales Pitfalls to Avoid if You Want to Win More Deals

While the world of B2B sales is vast and rapidly growing, we (as salespeople) all have one singular trait in common: when it comes to any deal -- large or small -- we simply want to win. I think all would happily agree with me when I say losing a sale sucks. It’s the type of gut-punch you’re rarely prepared for but is (unfortunately) inevitable on occasion.

With that being said, if you find yourself losing deals often, you should consider reevaluating yourself as a salesperson. Are you approaching leads the right way? Do you go into sales calls without a plan? Are you quick on your feet when answering an unexpected question?

More often than not, the culprit for a deal going south is you or, rather, your propensity for making common mistakes. As a seasoned B2B sales trainer, I’ve seen it all in terms of losing a deal, which is why I’ve put together a list of 5 common pitfalls to avoid.

1. Targeting the Wrong Audience

It goes without saying, but being able to successfully sell boils down to fulfilling a need (or solving a problem) for your customer. If you’re going through an entire sales process with someone who simply won’t be able to reap the benefits of whatever it is you’re selling then you shouldn’t be surprised when the door is shut on the deal.

How to avoid this: Take your time when figuring out precisely who your target audience is. One of the best ways to do this is to build buyer personas for each potential customer, which allows you to go into any deal with confidence; knowing the person on the other side has a problem you (or your product/service) can remedy.

2. Beginning Your Approach With “Why Us”

It may come as a surprise, but prospects -- especially B2B prospects -- tend to respond negatively to being blatantly sold to. This is why immediately reeling off a laundry list of reasons why a lead should choose you rarely leads to success. While it sounds good in theory, this approach tells your prospect that you’re self-oriented as opposed to being interested in learning about them and the unique problems their business is currently dealing with.

How to avoid this: Ask questions when approaching a prospect rather than jumping into what you can offer. For example: if you’re selling IT services, you could begin a sales conversation by asking how fast a prospect’s current network is or if they’ve had a recent data security breach.

3. Asking Cookie-Cutter Questions

We just talked about the importance of asking your prospects questions, but it’s critical to ensure you’re asking the right questions. After all, if your goal is to simply know more about a prospect’s issues for your own self-gain, then you won’t get very far.

How to avoid this: Allow your prospects to discover what (or where) they are lacking on their own by posing questions unique to them and their business. Try to avoid asking questions they may have already heard from your competitors to ensure you stand out.

4. Lacking a Good Answer For “Why Should I Change?”

An inability to help your prospect figure out why they are dealing with their issue(s) is a surefire way to quickly lose a deal. What’s worse? By lacking a good answer for “Why should I change?”, you’re also failing to identify the implications of what would happen should a prospect keep the status quo. This makes you (and whatever you’re selling) unnecessary in the eyes of the customer.

How to avoid this: It’s simple, your prospect (for whatever reason) is struggling in some way, shape or form. It’s up to you to identify this reason and convince them why it is imperative to find a solution.

5. Failing to Create Enough Value

Proving your worth to a prospect is no easy feat, but it’s impossible to close a deal without doing so. Unfortunately, most salespeople fail to showcase the value of what they are selling, and are disqualified by the prospect early on in the sales process as a result. Think about it, if you’re only promising to remediate a small, insignificant issue, then the prospect will be inclined to put your solution on the backburner.

How to avoid this: Make sure your products/services fulfil a significant need for the prospect you’re selling to. Clearly iterate how they can benefit from doing business with you to create value and prove you offer a viable solution.

The Takeaway

By now, you should have a better sense of how NOT to approach a deal if your goal is to win (and why wouldn’t it be?). If you’re still in need of expert B2B sales guidance, I suggest you check out my podcast “The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling”.

This will help you further discover where you may be lacking when it comes to your ability to close deals and will provide consistent direction on your path to becoming a sales warrior.

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