Those Pesky Salespeople!

Bad salespeople may get sales, but they often do it at someone’s expense. In the short-term, that might be the customer, but in the long run poor salespeople hurt their own companies. In a recent post at the Inc.com blogs, John Treace makes this point, sharing the 5 Worst Mistakes That Salespeople Make:

  1. Blaming the company for mistakes. Sure, sometimes the company is to blame, but shouldn’t a sales professional be seeking a solution instead of blame?
  2. Failing to recommend a competitor. Your product isn’t the best for all customers all the time. Sales professionals are trusted advisors, so tell the truth when the competitor is better for a particular situation.
  3. Putting the sale first. When a sale becomes about what the salesperson wants and not the customer, it puts the relationship at risk. You might get that sale, but will you ever get another one with them?
  4. Not honoring commitments. Sales professionals keep their commitments because that builds trust. If customers cannot count on you, they will go elsewhere.
  5. Making “trap” presentations. Nobody wants to be goaded into a purchase they aren’t ready to make, so avoid “If I could show you X, would you buy today?” presentations.

As you can see, good sales professionals work to create relationships based on trust with clients. They take responsibility and put the customer first, always. Are you a sales professional? What do you do to create trust in your relationships with customers?

5 Worst Mistakes That Salespeople Make by John Treace at Inc.com

Recipe for Winning Business Ideas

[Fish market, Bergen, Norway] (LOC)

(Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Entrepreneur-Inventor-Educator Stephen Key had a recent column at the Entrepreneur blog about the five essential ingredients of a winning business idea.  As a guy who has been creating products and helping others do the same for thirty years, he just might know what he is talking about:

  1. A substantial market. If your idea doesn’t appeal to people, you might spend too much time and money getting the item to market. Sure, revolutionary products don’t have markets yet. But, you can do research to find out whether there would be a market for your product before committing too many resources.
  2. Existing manufacturing technology. If it must be built, and the technology must be created to manufacture your product economically, someone will have to invest in that technology. Again, this doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed, but it is one thing to have to work hard to succeed, and another entirely to have to work hard so that you can begin to start working hard to make your idea succeed.
  3. An acceptable retail price point. If you don’t have a good price point, then you will have trouble getting retailers to stock your product. If your cost to manufacture is too great to support the retail price, you need to reconsider your strategy. Perhaps you can find another way to produce? Can you position your product differently?
  4. A benefit that is summarized in a single sentence. Benefits, not features are what people buy. If it is too hard for people to understand (or remember) why they should buy your product, you will struggle. Einstein said that people haven’t mastered a subject until they can explain it simply. Can you explain your product’s benefits simply?
  5. A user-friendly interface. We often think of “interface” and computers, but if your users/customers cannot figure out how to use your product, will they continue to use it? Key shares a story about a rotating label technology that he created. He put a picture of a hand turning a label on the label so people would know what to do.

5 Essential Ingredients of a Winning Business Idea at Entrepreneur