Whatever you are selling—liquidity, technology, a bridge, a white label partnership, or a full brokerage solution—the first action in a successful sales process is often the most difficult and important step: getting the appointment with the right person.
In my years of experience, I still find that getting the right appointments requires unswerving focus on that goal and a willingness to commit the time necessary to arrange the right meeting. The ideal: to arrange a meeting with key, high-level decision makers (CEO, Managing Director, Vice President, or Senior Management). This is especially true in the niche FX industry, in which a handful of busy leaders with very full calendars can be difficult to access. Do not settle. Do not make the mistake of letting impatience get in the way of arranging the right meeting.
New and many seasoned sales people (including myself at times) have made the following three other mistakes, which we can all avoid when we act with intentionality and resolve:
1) Overselling and ‘Under-listening’: Sometimes, in our eagerness to build and close a sale, we spend valuable first-impression meeting time highlighting our products’ features and functionalities rather than curiously and patiently building a sincere understanding of what our prospective client does—and what our prospective clientneeds. Making this mistake can be confusing or off-putting to a prospect.
How to Avoid This Mistake: Listen first; listen with genuine curiosity; listen thoroughly. Pause in your listening to ask effective questions that will help you understand what your prospect is doing, how their business model and daily operations work, what their ‘pain points’ are, and what type of difficulties or stressors they are experiencing. Your question-asking will build rapport and credibility.
Try to get as much additional information as you can (beyond the strong due diligence research you’ve done to prepare for the meeting).As you gain increasing clarity about what your prospect does (and how), and as you determine where your opportunity is, then you may start explaining your most relevantfeatures with direct examples of solutions relating to the needs that your prospect has today. It is better to come in with a ‘curiosity’ focus than a ‘close the deal today’ focus. As such: learn to listen, evaluate the situation, and only then start the sale.
One caveat: you may sometimes need to break from listening mode into more of a directive-facilitation mode if you find that the prospect is leading the conversation in way that could spin its focus out of control. If you notice this happening, start asking direct and specific questions that return the focus of the meeting to the prospects’ needs and to your professional expertise (including your knowledge of the market and your problem-solving product[s]) and then go back into listen mode.
A common variation of Mistake #1 is this: Sometimes we are so deeply involved (emotionally, technically, etc.) in many aspects of our own product(s), that we start selling what we think is the best for us, and we forget about what might be best for them. Remember: we are not buying the product; it is the prospect who must be interested and find a need for it.
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A common example in the FX market: we mention how good and tight are our spreads are, and we keep talking about spreads and liquidity, (because we think the majority of prospects wonder about spreads), while the particular prospect we are targeting is more focused on having his or her orders being filled, even at a higher spread. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the prospect values the same product attributes that you do or that other clients do.
2) Speaking Negatively About Other Products: Many of us have made the mistake of comparing our product(s) directly to specific other products and declaring that ours is clearly better and theirs is clearly worse. Making this mistake can insult prospects who have positive emotional or technical affinities for other products and/or can create a negative personal and professional impression that you tend to put other people and products down in order to lift yourself and your product up.
How to Avoid This Mistake: When you highlight the features of your product, do so in an open, inclusive environment. Acknowledge that there are a range of possible solutions, and you’re here to help honestly assess whether one of your products might address their current needs with high efficiency. The reason why the client will buy your product relates to many added values and features of the product itself—plus how they feel about you. Enable your prospect to experience your product as it relates to their organizational needs, not as it relates to other products out there, which can be a distraction. A direct example of how to navigate this: Imagine a prospect in a meeting has a question that tries to compare MT4 and Jforex( Dukascopy Bank technology).
In that case, you may choose to say Jforex is different fromMT4, and Jforex has different features and advantages especially suited for you and your clients. It is not better or worse; it’s simply a different technology. “Dear Sir/Ma’am, please allow me to offer you a demonstration so you can understand first-hand what I am talking about. “
3) Lying or Making Up an Answer: When people doubt themselves or doubt about their products, they may lie or make up an answer to a question. They are (erroneously) afraid of appearing weak if they tell the truth. If you ever feel tempted to lie, it’s important to examine and renew your confidence in yourself and in your product(s). Damage from lying can come at a very high price long-term.
How to Avoid This Mistake: Commit 100% to being sincere and consistent in what you say. Always say what’s true, even if that might hurt your product and your business in the short-term. Don’t lie at all. And if you don’t know the answer, don’t create an answer; just say calmly and confidently: “I will check on that point and come back to you later.”
We, as sales experts, are supposed to know the most. But we are not expected to know every point of fact related to our prospects’ concerns or the market. Keep calm always. Show each prospect that you are a person that comes along with the product, that you are not only selling a product, but that you are entering in a long-term relationship with a complete package—one that includes total trust.You represent an important asset in this deal. For example, if someone shares: “Your products looks amazing, and we like it very much. I think we can move forward, but just one small question: ‘Can your system integrate with my CRM and back office and provide me the reports in the same way my current integration is done with MT4?’” Answer: Do not rush to reply ‘yes’ just to close the deal. If you don’t know the answer presently, admit that, and promise that you will get an accurate answer by a certain time.
There are many more mistakes that people can easily make in sales. In this article, I aimed to share the ones considered most important, based on my years of experience, and upon witnessing many other salespeople. To avoid most mistakes, do not let the desire to close a deal overcome your intentionality, your resolve, or your commitment to strong principles of successful sales and ethics. As the famous expression indicates: Selling is an art; it is not a science. It takes time and experience to master it. Just be patient and never make the same mistake twice.