Seven Signs of Sales Desperation

Desperation is never a good thing, but it’s a business killer in sales.  I know when you are starting your business it’s hard not to be a little desperate for getting new clients, but it’s best if your prospects do not know that.  Let me give you the ways you might be appearing desperate without even realizing it.

Believing Everyone is a Prospect

When you have a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.  Everyone you speak to is not a prospect even if you think they are. If you never ask a prospect you will never know if they have an interest in moving forward.  Your job in the early sales process is determining if they are prospects and worthy of you spending time with them.  I want you to be selective and choosy about who you work with, even if you feel like any client is better than no client.  Think about dating, if you show up to the first date in a wedding dress you might scare off all the good prospects and just be left with the equally desperate.

Wanting to Please

You might want to be appear like you are a great partner by saying yes to every request that your prospects make, this could take doing extra unpaid work or agreeing to unreasonable demands.  Take one of my clients for instance, she is a fantastic consultant but often is way too accommodating to her clients, giving away services she should be charging for.

Moving Faster Than the Client

Your dates or deadlines are not your customers’.  Customers have their own priorities, and the problem you can fix for them might not be a priority.  You can only move as fast as your client is prepared to move forward.  Sales is not always linear and just because a prospect asks for a proposal or pricing does not mean they are immediately going to buy.  If you do not understand what your clients’ timetable is or how high your services are on their priority list, you need to do a better job of qualifying.

Price Discounting on Your Own

I can tell that the fastest way to get a discount is to not ask for one but instead to remain silent for a few moments after a salesperson gives you a price.  Don’t believe me, give it a try; it happens majority of the time.  The sales person gets nervous that the prospect’s silence is an indication that they are unhappy with the presented price, so they immediately start to scramble.  If you have done a good job qualifying and asked some of the tough questions about budget, the silence should not be worrying.

Price Discounting on Demand

There are prospects who will ask for a discount as a matter of practice.  You never have to give a discount, but you do have to appear to consider the request.  Immediately discounting is easy because you are the boss but it can be damaging to your business with this client on the long run, it lowers the value of your value in the prospect’s eyes.  One question that is very effective with a prospect is asking the simple question of “why?”  Asking why gets the prospect to explain why the discount is being requested.  A large percentage will just say they thought they would just ask or just say they were just curious and pay the stated price.  The other option is to offer to remove some parts of your service to lower the price.  You can always lower your price if you want to, but I would suggest that.

Repeated Checking-In Calls

Checking in calls are one of my pet peeves because it is a waste of your time and your prospect’s time.  The just checking calls comes when the prospect is supposed to make the next move, but nothing happens. So, you make repeated telephone calls, hoping that the call will trigger the prospect to action.  Of course, you do not want that action to be a negative action, so you avoid asking the tough questions and hedge your bets by just saying you are checking in.  Your follow up should always be scheduled with a prospect.  If a prospect asks for time to think about your proposal, ask how much time they need and set a specific time for your next appointment.  This simple task request will make the need for a just checking-in call go away.

Jumping to Conclusions

One of the things I have learned is the fact that if a prospect has not called you back, it only means one thing and that is the prospect has not called you back, nothing more.  It does not mean that the prospect cannot afford the proposed price, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong, it doesn’t mean that he/she does not like you or that your new hairstyle is repelling prospects.  Moving to worst case scenario thinking will tie you up into knots and make you do things that appear even more desperate.  Take for example the solopreneur who I contacted regarding designing a customer PowerPoint template, I had a very good telephone conversation with him, and he offered to send me a proposal.  He called me a couple of days later in the morning, but I was out of town speaking at a conference and trade show.  He left me a voicemail message and asked if I could call him at my earliest possible convenience.  After a long day of travel, I got into my hotel late at night, so I did not return his call.  In the morning, I spoke and worked my booth at the trade show.  He phoned again and suggested that if I was unhappy with his proposal, he could adjust the price, he also emailed me a few hours later with a discounted proposal.  The solopreneur’s actions started to make me wonder why he seemed so willing to discount his proposal even before we spoke, I was ready to make a purchasing decision, but the calls and email started to give me doubt on whether this was the right person to work with.

Best Way Not to Appear Desperate

The best way not to look desperate is to have a full pipeline of prospects you are talking to.  The more opportunities and prospects you are talking to the less important each opportunity will seem in the scheme of things.  Delays or changes in prospect priorities will no longer have you scrambling to get the deal.  Lots of opportunity means you can be more selective of who you take as clients.

What acts of sales desperation have you witnessed?  Tell us about them in the comments below.


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