The Biggest Sales Mistakes During The Initial Contact
Even the most experienced salespeople can make mistakes, especially in the heat of the first contact. First impressions really count for a lot, and even though you can improve later, a mistake here can easily cost you the entire deal. In the Intellectual Property Industry, it is not different. When looking for new clients and cases, you need to pay attention to some small details that can make THE difference. In this article, we have compiled a list of errors and difficulties you should avoid during the first contact.
You jump in unprepared
As an experienced salesperson, you need to be prepared because at any moment, you may find yourself in a situation where you come into contact with a potential new customer - and you need to deliver. But for those who have other responsibilities besides sales, it's much more difficult to suddenly pick up the sales hat and move from a management or marketing role, for example. The awkward situation is made worse when unpreparedness makes it challenging to speak clearly and develop concise ideas - and you feel like the conversation has failed.
The right way is to practice your sales pitch regularly because you may need it on an entirely different topic in a phone call. Prepare for intellectual property services, have powerful examples and success stories ready - that way, you can succeed in unexpected situations.
You don't focus on the client
The question of precisely what the parties' interests are at the first meeting is crucial. If you've read our previous articles, you know that the most crucial goal in the first contact is finding out about the customer as much as possible. So let them talk - lead with questions!
It's a common mistake to rattle off all the information you think is essential in one breath during the first phone call or message exchange. The customer then doesn't even have a chance to ask questions, perhaps not until the end when you've both run out of energy.
You should avoid this! Instead, explore whether your conversation partner can become a good customer. We suggest the following questions:
● What's your biggest intellectual property challenge right now?
● What solutions is your company currently using?
● What would be a bigger improvement: a lower price or more efficient (e.g., faster) processes?
● Do you outsource patent management, or is it done internally?
You provide too much information in advance
Once the client's needs are captured, it is natural that the other side will have questions. Of course, these mustn't go unanswered, but it may be a mistake to give all the information right away in some cases.
An excellent example of this is the issue of pricing: if the usual price is quoted without knowing the customer's processes or specific tasks, this can backfire if the prospect is thinking in a completely different ballpark. On the other hand, for some topics, waiting or delaying means that you can get more information and quote an individual price tailored to the actual project.
At this point, you may rightly find it challenging to choose between too much and too little information - and it takes experience because it's up to the customer to decide how much is right for them to get on with. However, your goal should be primarily to get to the next stage of the sales process with the potential customer. If you only have the sale in mind from the start, it will be much harder to close than if your goal is to get to know the customer, find out what services can add real value, and only then negotiate the partnership.