Sales Fails Explained

In my years of coaching clients here at RESET, I’ve seen the same business development mistakes arise again and again.

These mistakes, however, can easily be solved by changing your frame of reference.

In today’s post, I’m going to talk about the five most common business development mistakes I see, and how to change your frame of reference — or shift your mindset — to get better results for your firm.

Sales Fail #1: Looking Only for the Decision-Makers


In the process of business development, people often look for the person with the checkbook, thinking that’s the quickest way to a sale. But for long-term business growth, this is the wrong approach.

Instead, become a solver — a solution provider — and actively look for the solvers within the organization that you’re targeting.

As humans, often we make judgments based on people’s work history, their gender or their age. We make assumptions about what they know. But if you can overcome this urge, you may discover they’re a solver hiding in plain sight. Finding and connecting with these solvers can change the whole conversation and move scope forward for you.

Sales Fail #2: Talking About Your Portfolio, Resume or History


It’s natural to talk about yourself. In fact, every potential client you encounter is going to ask about your portfolio, your resume, your history — and it’s compelling to answer these questions.

But I want you to change your frame of reference, here.

It’s okay to answer those questions and talk about what you’ve done, but steer the conversation to what your firm’s ultimate deliverable is.

For example, we’re business coaches here at RESET. But what we’re really delivering is empowerment for a team and the peace of mind of sustained revenue.

What is your team’s ultimate deliverable? What’s the bigger picture?

Sales Fail #3: Focusing on What Your Firm Does


Again, it’s human nature to focus on what you and your firm do. But make this subtle change for better business development results: Think of yourself as a producer. Someone who orchestrates talent, puts the choreography together, and delivers the ultimate solution.

Focusing your attention on bringing together an overall solution for a client is the pathway to sustainable and profitable accounts.

Sales Fail #4: Networking the Old-Fashioned Way

In business, we all get into the rut of networking at one time or another. Before your next networking event, change your mindset and you’ll change your results.

Think about the business and political issues that you’ve been hearing about — and keep your ears tuned for talk of these issues at the event. This will deepen your understanding of these issues and make you a more valuable partner to any prospect or client.

Look at the guest list beforehand and see if you can identify the solvers from the organizations. Think about how you might connect with those solvers at the event, and think about how you can connect them to other solvers. Linking solvers together makes you a facilitator rather than a salesperson, and your firm will get the benefit.

Sales Fail #5: Assuming You Know What’s Going On


It’s normal to think you know what’s going to happen with your clients. Based on your experience, you think you know what the next piece of scope or the next project will be.

But if you really pay attention, you’ll notice that your clients’ mission, vision, competitive stance in the marketplace, even their business model is constantly changing.

Fight the impulse to assume you know what’s going to happen with your clients. Their situation is constantly being refreshed, and accepting this will help you see new projects and new ways to engage with them.

The Bottom Line

Need help changing your or your team’s frame of reference and getting better business development results? We’d love to talk to you about it. Connect with us online at our website or on LinkedIn.


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