Warning Signs that You Are Confusing Sales Prospects

Warning Signs that You Are Confusing Sales Prospects
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Are You Confusing Sales Prospects?
Does this scenario from our sales management training sound familiar? You have customers you count on to renew or repurchase the same service at about the same cost year after year. From the customer’s point of view, this should be rather straightforward, right?

But, as part of new sales growth strategy to improve recurring revenue, marketing re-packaged the service as a “subscription” and “membership.” Some customers didn’t understand what changed or why. Was it simply a new format? They felt uncomfortable, confused, and even suspicious. As a result, some long-term customers decided not to purchase yet.

Of course, the solution selling plan was not to chase customers away, but confusion can often cost you previously loyal customers.

Buyer Confusion = Inaction
At the very least, buyer confusion often leads to hesitation. At the worst, it leads to inaction.

Just think about it.  What do you do when you’re confused? If it’s a simple decision between turning left or right to arrive at your destination, you probably hesitate and then choose one.

But let’s say you are in the market for a new car. You want to stick with the brand that has served you well. But the new versions have been “upgraded” in so many ways that there is nothing familiar. Do you really want all the bells and whistles whose value you find confusing? If not, you are likely to walk away and look elsewhere.

That’s what customers tend to do when they’re confused during the buying process. They simply don’t buy. A buyer wants to feel confident that they have made a good choice. Confusion shows a lack of sufficient buyer security.

Trouble Ahead
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to be guilty of confusing sales prospects. Here are some sales warning signs that warn you are in danger of confusing your prospect:

  • Too Much Information
    Instead of responding only to the sales questions asked, you follow a well-practiced and often wordy script and/or sales pitch that doesn’t directly answer the specific needs of the customer. 

    Follow the customer’s lead and only provide information that is timely, relevant, and concise.  It is about THEM.  Not you.
  • Too Many Acronyms or Words the Customer Doesn’t Understand
    Don’t use terms that the customer might not know. Acronyms or technical jargon that are familiar to you but not necessarily to your customers are apt to alienate them.

    Keep things simple.  Focus on how you can tangibly help them with what matters most for their unique situation.
  • Too Many Choices
    Don’t overload the customer with too many choices. Most people can handle just a few options at a time.

    Offer the client no more than three well-considered options to solve their problem.
  • Unclear Value
    A critical aspect of any consultative sale is making clear what the purchase would mean to your buyer in terms of solving a high priority goal, problem, or need.  How can you expect them to move forward with you if you don’t clarify how the product or service will directly benefit them and their company better than other alternatives?

    Make sure that you explicitly link your unique value proposition to what matters most to your buyer.
  • Unclear Changes
    If you change or improve important features of a product or service without explaining why it is now improved, the chances are that you will slow down the sales cycle. It should always be crystal clear to the customer why your offering is better FOR THEM than before.
  • Weak Discovery Process
    Too many buyers report that sales people don’t listen well to what they are saying. How can you truly help your customer to succeed if you do not know what matters most?

    Make sure you completely understand what the customer wants from you and why. Confirm your understanding rather than filling airspace with trying to close the deal.

The Bottom Line
Our microlearning sales experts know that confused prospects hesitate, lengthen the sales cycle, and often do not buy. Stay closely tuned into your buyer. Long, frustrated silences on the phone or puzzled expressions in a live meeting indicate confusion. Stop talking, ask questions, and listen carefully.

To learn more about warning signs that you are confusing sales prospects, download Are Your Sales Reps Leaving Money on the Table?

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