4 things NOT to do to win the deal

by Mike Lockert

It’s estimated that sales reps only spend 36 percent of their time actually selling. The bulk of their time is taken up in, well, anything BUT selling. Tending to administrative tasks, cleaning up emails, managing multiple calendars, fielding requests, keeping up on the latest industry news, desperately searching for ways to create more time…

It’s easy to overcomplicate sales and the road to closing the deal. But when it comes down to it, there are really only four key things a sales rep needs to keep in mind to win: Identifying ready and willing customers, understanding the power of no, having the right people on your team, and maintaining momentum by pushing the deal through all departments. Then, all that’s left is to make sure you don’t mess it up. 

So, here’s what NOT to do during each of those four key steps and how to avoid the worst-case scenario:


1. Don’t force a lukewarm prospect to become a customer

You can tell fairly early on whether or not a prospect is interested in you. But sometimes, sales reps want to try flexing their strength by winning the not-so-excited opportunities. However, taking this course of action is often more detrimental long-term. 

If you have a customer who just isn’t ready to do business with you, it’s okay to walk away. Maybe you’re not talking to the right person at the company, in which case it’d be better to find that right person and win them over as a more eager champion of the new relationship between your companies. Or maybe, no matter who you talk with at the company, the offer you’re providing is simply not a good match. So if you force a relationship where it’s just not working, both you and the client will end up unhappy down the line when expectations aren’t met. 


2. Don’t be fooled by the “yes man” 

What if you have the opposite of a lukewarm prospect? The potential customer who always says “yes” can be just as unwanted for your sales game. 

When you run into a prospect who is always telling you what you want to hear, and when you don’t ask the right discovery questions, you’ll run into one or more of three big problems: One, you’ll forecast a win too early and disappoint your boss. Two, you’ll race through the sales cycle with overconfidence and skip some key steps to solidifying the fool-proof solution that the client is expecting. Or three, you’ll find yourself just being strung along by the prospect when they’ve already got a provider that the deal is going to go to—you’re just a price check. 

Skip all that headache, stay smart, and don’t be afraid to say NO to the yes man. 


3. Don’t overlook your team’s personalities and knowledge

When you build your sales team, you can not overlook the importance of personality and skills. You want a team with the right balance: knowledge that spans all relevant industries, skills for every scenario, and personalities that complement one another so you always have someone best fit to match with a client.

If you neglect to consider your team’s strong suits and the skills they bring to the table, you’ll quickly find gaps in your sales team’s prowess. Maybe you have too many “good cops” but not enough “bad.” Maybe you have a lot of great industry knowledge in one field, but have gaping holes in others. Be sure you’re not inundating your sales team with too much of the same. A buyer will be confident in working with you if you can provide them a compatible personality and an expert every time, and to do that you need a little bit of everything on your team. 


4. Don’t forget the dollar value of what you’re offering when a deal stalls

You’ve secured the prospect, you’re interacting with the rest of the company and coordinating with other departments, and then suddenly, the deal stalls. No action, no forward progress. What you absolutely can not do at this point is to forget the dollar value of what you’re offering. Now is the time to remind the customer relentlessly of it. 

Take a look at what the customer needs, what you’re providing as a solution for that, and how much money saved or earned your proposed solution translates into for the client. Show that math (in a clear, powerful way) to the client. If they’re delaying the decision more, show them how much procrastinating the solution is costing them every day. The key is to show them the dollar value they could have if they close with you and the dollar value they’re losing by dawdling. 


Sales isn’t (and shouldn’t be) that complicated. If you find the right customers, listen to their needs, understand the place of “no,” have the right team, and sell the full value of what you’re offering, deal-making can be a breeze. So despite the plethora of tips, tricks, and travelogues of sales reading out there, just remember: keep it simple. Because at the end of the day, “Life is good above the number!


Mike Lockert – SQMike is the Chief Revenue Officer of Simplus. A strong sales leader with a love for sales strategy, business development, goal achievement, and talent development, Mike is credited with building strong relationships with sales teams to drive strategy and deliver results. Mike has had consistent success as an individual contributor and sales leader in the Fortune 2000 market and with the “C” level executives that drive them. Mike is experienced in software solutions and professional services and focused on the success of our company and the goals of our clients