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Have you ever had a conversation with somebody and afterward thought about what you should have said differently, or not at all? Most people have, and you’d be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t have regrets over something that came out of their mouth at one point or another.
Salespeople are no exception, and there’s nothing like a lost deal to force you to go over a conversation and pick it apart, convincing yourself that if only you had said this one thing, or not said this other thing, then the deal would have closed and you’d be one step closer to having the down payment for your dream house.
Salespeople talk themselves out of deals all the time, and in many cases don’t even realize it. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common things that salespeople say that cost them deals. Hopefully, you can avoid these same pitfalls in the future.
1. “Can I speak to the decision-maker?”
While it’s important to identify who is in charge of making decisions, you need to go about it with some tact. Simply asking for a decision maker not only telegrams your intentions, but it also gives the gatekeeper an excuse not to let you through and completely undermines their importance. There are more tactful ways to ask who the right person to connect with might be. For example, “Who else usually participates in the decision making process with you?”
2. “Can I send you some information?”
If you’re looking for another way to say, “Can I give you an excuse to never talk to me again?” this might be it. Not only are no next steps outlined, but you’re not giving your prospect, and more importantly yourself, an opportunity to explain things in detail and answer any questions they might have. Sending information is great and important, but only if it’s in furtherance of the sale and comes after a conversation and has a definitive follow-up plan attached to it.
3. “I’m going to be honest”
No. Just don’t say this. Every time you say you’re going to be honest, you’re telling your prospect that you might not have been honest about everything else you told them. Salespeople say this because they think it builds trust or because it’s just a reflexive way to emphasize a point. But it damages credibility, and is a trite, outdated way to speak to prospects that might cost you a deal.
4. “I’m just touching base”
This overused phrase should be struck from the vocabulary of salespeople everywhere. While it might not directly cost you a deal, it’ll probably cost the attention of your prospect. You need to be more intentional and definitive in your communications and set as many concrete “next steps,” as possible. If you continuously do that then you won’t have to send nebulous emails about touching base that will just get overlooked by whoever you’re trying to reach.
5. “I’m not just saying this to try to sell you something”
Usually when a prospect hears this, they’ll trust you less instead of more. Not only is this statement untrue (unless you’re secretly working for your company’s competitor), but it’s a reminder to the prospect that they are, in fact, in the middle of a business transaction and that they should question your motives. People in business who have built great rapport don’t need to tell whoever they’re talking to to trust them, because they already do.
6. “I’ll follow up in a few weeks then”
Just like #2, this is another great way to tell the prospect that you’ll probably never speak to them again. Before you get off a call, you should have a concrete next step planned, and a reason for that next step. Put an exact date and time on the calendar and then confirm the appointment. If you make it a point to do this on every call, you’ll eventually close more of your pipeline.
7. Anything (after the prospect agrees to move forward)
Talking past the close and talking yourself out a deal sounds absurd, but plenty of salespeople have done it. This doesn’t mean you stop speaking completely after the prospect is on board, but it means that you stop selling. There are plenty of ways for you to lose a deal and talking past the close just adds additional risk where there doesn’t need to be any.
And, make sure to adopt a proactive relationship management platform, so your old CRM doesn’t cost you deals!