234: Sales Mistakes and How to Fix Them

17 Minutes Read

As a business owner, sales create the fuel for your company to realize its purpose in the world. Getting better at selling not only means reaching your goals sooner, it also makes the work of business ownership more fun and fulfilling.

Yet many people still think of "sales" as a dirty word. So they don't develop their skill and love for it.

Yes, you can love selling. And you can be great at it. This episode will introduce you to some of the common mistakes we see business owners make when they sell their product or service, and how you can fix the ones you may be making.

You will discover:

  • The feeling in your body that lets you know that something might be off with your selling, and how to realign with what's best for everyone involved
  • The words in your sales copy or conversations that turn prospects off and which ones let them know that you're on their side
  • Why it sometimes backfires to put a lot of energy into a sales process, and what to do instead so that you only sign the best clients

To get hands on support fixing sales mistakes in your business, join the 3-day Relationship-Based Sales Workshop. It will help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase your sales in a more aligned, intuitive, and sustainable way. Learn more at besuperabound.com/sales


Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Superabound Podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You're listening to episode number 234: sales mistakes and how to fix them. Hello, everybody. It's great to be here with you today, I am joined by my fabulous co host, co founder, co parent, and wife, Erin Aquin. We're going to talk about sales and selling. Because we have a relationship-based sales workshop coming up that we are so excited for and would like you to join us for as well. You can find out all about it and join us at besuperabound.com/sales. It's going to help you do more selling to better people in better ways. It's going to be fantastic. So check it out, come join us. And the conversation today is all in a lead up to that workshop to help you sell better. Hello, Erin. Hello. All right. So before we jump into this topic, I first want to acknowledge that when we're talking about mistakes, I know that that might turn some people off. When I am a customer or consumer in somebody else's business. And they try to sell me on their product or service by telling me all the things that are wrong with me. I don't like it. You know, I I'm totally the person who if I go to a spa, to get a facial, if the person like tells me all the horrible things about my my face and fine lines and 40 year old skin, I will like never see that person again. Because I know they're trying to sell me their product and like they're not helping me feel great. I don't go to the spa to feel bad about my skin. I have nice skin. My skin is pretty good. Right? Steve? Am I making things up?

Erin Aquin  1:58  
He has to say that because he knows. So I just want to acknowledge that

it's if it's working for you don't fix it, it's probably totally fine. Your business might thrive in doing something that we're saying doesn't work, what we are going to share with you is not, hey, you're a problem and your the way you're doing business is a problem that we all need to fix. Like this is not how we how we work or how we mark it, if you didn't know that by now.

Steve Haase  2:49  
But we do want to shed light on things in case some of these things are happening and you're not aware of them. The best path to change is where you're actually motivated to do it. And feeling like you're a mess is not very motivational. So start from the perspective that you know what you're doing. And we're just here to help you conduct an audit of how you're selling and where you might be able to do things even better. All right, let's dive in. Because there's lots to cover. There's so many ways to sell badly. And we're gonna cover some of the top ones that we've done that we've seen that we've helped our clients with. The first one is talking all about yourself.

It feels so natural, you've got so much to say you're so excited about the thing, you've got so much to share. But nobody cares. Sorry, no one cares. What they care about is themselves. So when you are talking to people when you are emailing them, when you are writing your sales, copy, anything around selling, make it about the person you're speaking to.

Erin Aquin  3:57  
And I remember when I was a newer entrepreneur, I heard that advice. This is not new advice. This is not new kind of insight for many of us. But I remember hearing that insight from someone. And I really took it to mean that all of my marketing, all of my sales conversations, all of like anything I was doing that where I may interact with a potential client. I had to D personalize all of it. And I just want to highlight that that's not at all what we're saying. I have a lot of clients who share a lot about themselves who whose businesses are really about teaching people to do something that they have figured out or taking people through their personal journey. But what we're saying here is if your sales is more about how great you are or how much you struggled, and it's not focused on why this is helpful for the person on the other end of the line webinar or the other end of the sales call, then you are in it for you. And sometimes what I see this looking like is a business, it's often more like with service based businesses, but it'll be more about the person. At the center of that business, the coach, the service provider, the practitioner, being like the star of the show, rather than them centering and starring their clients.

Steve Haase  5:30  
So you'll know if you're doing this, if most of your sales copy starts with AI, or we or us, if first person is everywhere, then you're probably a little too heavy on talking about yourselves. You second person, you want your you want the person experiencing your sales conversation to feel like the hero, you want them to be at the center of the story, not you, the way you become the hero is for the person who's listening to feel like the hero. So find out how you can make them the hero, a single word that will help you do this as the word. So let's say you're selling cleaning solution, don't say, we'll clean your counters better than anything that's still about you, it's about the product, you say, we'll clean your counters. So you can be confident that the surface is germ free. Right? It doesn't have to literally have the word so but unless you have that connection between the thing it does, and why it matters to the person who's listening, you're just talking about yourself. So connected to what matters, use the word. So if you need a pointer there, and it will center that person, make your listener, the hero. That is how you build a relationship. That's how you let that person know that you care about them and their life, rather than just hoping somebody buys from you.

Erin Aquin  6:53  
And I love that example. But I mean, if you're doing this in a sales conversation, you know, we have some clients who are like experts in their field, and sometimes people will who are potentially going to hire them or work with them in some way. We'll want to know like, what are the credentials, and it's really easy to go down the credential toilet, and talk about all of your experience and everything else. A really easy way to share your something like credentials and your experiences is to tie it back to things in the conversation. So if you were selling, maybe not cleaning solution, but you were selling a cleaning service, and someone wanted to know, you know, how many homes Have you cleaned? How many office buildings have you maintained, and they kind of want some of that personal information? You can point back to things in the conversation? Well, we are actually exclusively for office spaces. And we work with 20 to 30 person offices just like yours. And most of our clients have been with us for two to three years. Because we know that like you mentioned, it's so important that trust is involved and consistency is involved. We we value those things as well. And you tie in what you actually do with what it is the person needs. Now, I know we're not stressing this, but I will of course say it because it's important to, to mention only if it's true. So I think that kind of comes to maybe the second piece is that as you're making your client or customer, the hero of the story, you also want to do that with integrity. You know, you don't want to tell them, you have 16 office building clients if it's not true. I would I would always make sure that you're of course being honest and you're being truthful because you don't want to get into a situation where you're now working with someone who has expectations that you cannot meet, which we will talk about in some of the other sales, mistakes and mishaps.

Steve Haase  9:05  
And the reason that's important is because if you just think about relationships and what make relationships work, the foundation is trust. It's always trust, it has to be trust. Without that you can't have a real relationship there's always going to be guardedness and guardedness turns into a no in a sales conversation. So having that integrity will not only win you the sale up front but will also make the sale very easy to deliver on. Because you didn't sell something that wasn't real. You didn't make yourself up to be something you're actually not

Erin Aquin  9:43  
another common sales issue that many many businesses have. I have I still sometimes grapple with this one. It's something I definitely keep in mind for us in our business is assuming that what your client Want is the same thing as what you think they need. Now, that's a bit of a word monster. But what that looks like is, for instance, we sell coaching, we sell, you know, trainings and various things as well. But like the core, VIP highest level thing you can buy from Superabound is private coaching with Steve myself, for both of us together, we know, for a fact, we've worked with hundreds people at this point. We know most people need coaching, we know that the problem that most business owners really have is the mindset of them and their team. But just because we know where we think we know what most people need, doesn't mean it's what our clients want to buy, or what they think that they need. So for us to walk into a company and say, Your problem is everybody's mindset sucks. Again, not really positive sales experience, not a really helpful assessment to anyone. But for us to go in and say, okay, the team dynamics of your sales team are filled with conflict. And what we need to do, and what we can help you do is work on a better communication strategy that everyone can agree to that feels supportive for everyone, and then get your team on the same page, and work through a much more vision aligned sales process.

Steve Haase  11:40  
This is so important. And it is related to that very first point about talking about yourself, which is, you have to know what the person you're speaking with, actually, once you have to care about their desires, the thing that they think they need, because if you turn around and you say, Well, what you actually need is this other thing, it's going to be hard to create that bridge to create that connection, and get there by it. So the way to do that is to listen, you listen openly. Because the problem with a lot of sales conversations, is people are so focused on getting the dollars, that they shut off their listening ears, that they're actually just they get in the sales where they called Happy ears, you hear all the things you want to hear, you know, like, okay, it's gonna happen. They totally want what we have. Meanwhile, they were saying something else entirely. So you listen, you find out what is it that they actually want? And if you can actually do it, then isn't that cool? Well, there's a fit here. But there might not be. And that kind of honesty, and forthrightness, where you can actually say to someone, I'm not sure there's a fit that don't think this is gonna work is how you show that you're listening. And also, that you care about what it is that the person you're selling to actually wants.

Erin Aquin  13:04  
And this segues so beautifully into another sales mistake. And I'm going to preface this one too. I'm being very kind today, like giving you all these softening the blow. Because this one definitely sounds a little harsh. And I don't think people would immediately see themselves as doing this. But the sales mistake is caring more about money than the people you are in business to help. The reason. I know that sounds really harsh. But the reason I know that this happens is because, of course, we all want our businesses to make money. We all want to be successful. We all you know, we hope to do that through helping people in some way or another with our product or service. But especially for those of us who do one to one sales, you might have a time. And and I hope everyone is aware of this. I hope you know when this is happening, but you may have times when there's a revenue goal, and that potential customer in front of you. You got your happy ears on. But then what starts to happen through the process of that sales conversation. It's like the old like Looney Tunes cartoons where the one character is talking to is it Foghorn Leghorn. It's the big like, Rooster chicken guy. And suddenly, he's talking. And the other character is seeing him as a cooked chicken. I think sometimes, even though we don't want to admit it, sales conversations can become can go from us talking to another human about something that's really important to them about what they really want to achieve or what they want to change in their life or the product or service that's going to make all the difference to them. And suddenly, you're just looking at a big cartoon dollar sign.

Steve Haase  14:57  
Yeah, and you'll know that this is it. coming into play that you might be doing this, based on how it feels. There will be moments in the sales conversation where things are just flowing, where you are curious where you're engaged, where you're responding. And then something will shift to convincing or pushing or trying to get the dollars. And that feeling that shift away from a normal human connection, that change of energy from, we're connected in, in something important together to, I want you to do something, that feeling shift is how you know that you're more focused on the dollars than on the connection. And what you can do when you feel that. And I'll just say when, because if you're selling, it's going to happen. When that shift in energy happens, the first thing you can do is just breathe, just acknowledge that you're going there, you don't have to say anything, you don't have to like pause and take a deep cleansing breath, you can actually just make a subtle shift in your own body. And for me, I actually like to do something with my hands. If you're on Zoom, you can do this might be a little weird if you're actually sitting at a table with your hands above it. But I'd like to just kind of turn my hands up, like towards the sky as though I'm kind of receiving energy, it's just a gesture of openness, rather than, you know, whatever they might have been doing. It's just a way to intentionally shift my own body, my own being towards connection and openness, rather than getting and closeness.

Erin Aquin  16:35  
That's such a good one. I do think that this is something that it's kind of inevitable that it happens from time to time, I don't really have it come up anymore. Like very rarely does this come up. And I think the thing that I do, that may be helpful to those of you especially if the person you're about to sell to is someone who you're going to interact with, like if it's a contract, and you're going to be going into someone's business or their personal life with them to, to work with them is I take a moment to check in, it's a little more esoteric with my future self, my Oracle. And I see if this is a person that they're going to be excited to spend more time with, if this is a problem that they're going to be excited to dig into. If this is a service, they're going to be happy to provide, you know, if you are a wedding planner, if you have a potential couple in front of you, you might want to really close that deal. You might really want to be their wedding planner, because it's a good, profitable thing. But if you check in with your future, is this the kind of wedding that you're going to enjoy planning? Is this couple aligned with what you can provide? Do they understand the limitations and the opportunities before them. And I think that that has actually helped me really decouple and change. Any time it happens, it does not happen very often. But when it does, it immediately changes that cartoon dollar sign back into a regular and complex person in front of me who has an issue or a problem that they want help with. So it's I don't know, I find that actually to be really empowering, because then it also takes the pressure off of me to like, get them to say yes and sign on the dotted line. And instead, it brings it back to is this a person or business or a project that I want to be in relationship with? We had that conversation with David Meerman Scott not so long ago here on the podcast, and he talked about how he doesn't say yes to anything that doesn't seem like it will be interesting or fun for him. And that is kind of really my approach to not making it about the money and taking it back to like is this a relationship I want to be part of a person I want to invest my really awesome skills into

Steve Haase  19:19  
that is beautiful. I love that you look towards the future to assess the potential of a sales conversation today. And this is it connects to the next mistake that I want to highlight which is throwing the kitchen sink throwing all the all the things you got to close a deal. Yes, you want to go above and beyond. Yes, you want people to feel special, and to have the royal treatment if that's how you do your sales process. But don't try to bend the universe to your will think about the best customers you have right now the best clients the best deals that you've worked with They kind of just come together, right? There's work involved, you have to make it happen, the salesperson definitely earns their dollars. But they really do come together. And that's because they're a good fit customer, they're the person that you want to be working with. And that means that the sales process is going to make sense. And so if you find yourself really pushing for it, or trying brand new things, or coming up with new proposals and stuff, that doesn't totally work for your business, but you know, you want the sale, take a moment, check in, like Erin said, check in with your future self and say, Is this the right kind of customer for my business? Is this how I want to be doing things? What's this gonna be like in six to 12 months, if it's what it's like, right now, in the sales process, you might get some really good insights that would have you very graciously walking away, or taking a different approach in that sales conversation.

Erin Aquin  20:57  
You know, the solution to a lot of these is really checking in with the version of you in the future. Even if it's not six months in the future, it could just be tomorrow, who's not just excited about the potentiality of the sale, but is now he has to be the one to do the work, or provide the the product or service. And, you know, if it doesn't feel aligned to that version of you as well. You might be in the wrong place. The final mistake, I do think this one's a mistake, actually. I actually think this one, you know, you can you can fight me on it if you want to. I know it probably does work for some people. But it's one that I do not, we do not do this in our business. And we I don't work with anyone who does this. It's being hard to work with. And that can mean different things depending on your industry. I have one, I think I've told the story ages ago on the podcast, but I had one call consultation with someone who is going to do some project based work for me potentially, she came very highly recommended by some people that I really do trust. And I usually really listened to their recommendations. But when I was on the sales conversation, not only did she talk more than me, she didn't ask me very many questions, she made a lot of assumptions about what she thought I needed, without doing any research. So like there were all of those mistakes we've already highlighted. But she was so hard to work with. She had the narrowest window for me as a client that did not work at all with my schedule. And she went on and on about how many clients she had and how busy she was and how it just left me with a sense that like, this person is so busy, this feels more like a factory to me than a very high level personalized experience. And the rate she was charging was for a high level personalized experience, it did not have that feel at all, it just felt like what I would pay maybe $50 a week for and she was charging 10,000 Not a week, but for the for the engagement. So this may look differently for you in your business. But I think it's always worth asking this question. It's like how could my business be easier to engage with easier to work with, we have a value in our business called simply no drama. So instead of making our payments complicated, we try to make them as simple as possible. Instead of making our clients jump through hoops to schedule their sessions with us, we try to learn how people like to do it. Some of our clients like to schedule online. Some of our clients like to book their next one at the end of their current session. Some of them just like to have the same time every week. And we do it in a way that makes us easy to work with for our clients. We don't overstuff our schedules full of people, I never ever want my clients to think that I'm burnt out or overbooked. And the easiest way for them to never think that is for it to not be true. So those are just some ideas if you're a service based business like ours, but consider how you might be making it hard for people to work with you. And then find ways to change that even just one thing, one thing this quarter, make it easier for your clients.

Steve Haase  24:40  
I'm gonna give you a bonus one because, honestly, we could probably go on all day about the sales mistakes that people make. But this one is so big and it's connected to the topic of the workshop that we're going to be doing. And it is focusing more on selling new customers than on delighting your current customers. And that is a sales mistake. Because your best source of new customers is actually your current customers. If you are able to absolutely Wow, the people that you're working with their chances of continuing working with you are higher, the chances of bringing in other people who want that same great experience is higher, they're going to be bringing along all that trust that they have built with you, they're going to be able to pass that along to their friends who trust them, right? Trust is how relationships grow. And relationships are what sales really is, right? You're inviting someone into a relationship with you, and there's a financial transaction there. But the thing that really matters is the relationship. So focusing only on the new people who don't know you yet, at the expense of the folks that already love you, is a huge mistake. So the way to change that is to first of all notice, if you're doing it, ask yourself, you can you can even take a look at the last 10 emails that you've sent to your clients and say, am I giving as much love to my current customer base, my current client base, as I am to people who haven't yet bought from me? And if the answer is, No, you're not giving as much love to your clients, then it's Code Red baby, like that's a big problem. You need to start having that same degree of attention, and care and enthusiasm for the people that are currently paying you as you do for the people who are not yet paying you. That's the way to grow. So to go much deeper on that and engage with us on a whole three day exploration of what relationship based selling looks like, join us at the workshop, it's going to be amazing. It's at besuperabound.com/sales. We'll put it in the show notes here as well. And we'd love to see you there.

Erin Aquin  27:01  
Oh, it's so good. I have nothing to add. I just think you're completely right. And we're going to dig into how to do that, like the practicalities in case you're like, Okay, but how do I delight my current customers? Like? Do you mean them? Like, give them a bunch of discounts or something? No, we will, we will walk you through what that looks like and how to do that in a way that's very aligned for you and your business. Something we really pride ourselves on and we will be doing in this workshop is we don't provide cookie cutter formulas, or scripts for how to do this, we are really going to help you discover your own unique way of creating a sales process that is relationship driven. And is fun. Like, we never talked about that sales. This should be fun. When I started to treat my sales conversations, like just opportunities to deepen a relationship with an existing customer, or create a new relationship with someone else. We had I think that was the year we had our first $200,000 year. And we've never looked back. So we're very excited to teach you a framework that you can use and adapt and work with you all get to know you a little bit more personally because obviously podcasts we're just talking about Yeah, we want to talk with you. So head over to besuperabound.com/sales to join the workshop. We have an also an option for VIP if you would like to work with us a little bit more closely in a very small group setting for each of those workshop days for only $97 or you can just come to the class for 47. We can't wait to see you there. Take care