Selling isn't easy. It comes with a set of challenges that you must address effectively to reach your goals. What follows here is a list of ten challenges and quick ideas for addressing them, along with helpful links for those who want to go deeper.

The 10 Common Sales Challenges

1. Challenges Getting a Meeting

    • The primary reason you cannot acquire a meeting is that your value proposition is too weak to command your prospective client's time.
    • The best way to acquire a meeting is to trade enough value that your client can agree to the meeting.
    • Don't ask for a meeting over email or any asynchronous medium. Use the telephone.

2. Challenges Creating Enough Opportunities

    • The data shows that salespeople, on average, spend less than 34% of their time selling. The first challenge here is not spending enough time nurturing relationships and prospecting.
    • The second challenge is developing the discipline to block off time and eliminate distractions, so you can spend 90 minutes prospecting each day.
    • Using a territory and account plan, blocked time, and an insight-based sequence, you can create more new opportunities.

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3. Challenges Establishing Relevance

    • The legacy approaches to sales seek to leverage the salesperson's company to create credibility. But real relevance means your client has a high interest in what you have to say, your insights, and your perspective. When you sound like a peddler, you are going to be treated like one.
    • An insight-based approach is key to establishing your relevance through an executive briefing that proves you've been worth a decision-maker's time.

4. Challenges Advancing an Opportunity

    • One of the outcomes of a first meeting is a second meeting. If you have trouble advancing your opportunities, you may not be creating enough value in the first meeting to command a second. You also have to trade enough value to gain the second meeting.
    • Creating value generally means establishing your relevance and teaching your client something they find valuable. Once you have created value, you have proven you can be trusted with a second meeting. That said, you still have to show your prospective client how they'll benefit from that meeting.

5. Challenges with Objections

    • The biggest challenge of overcoming objections is trying to argue the client into taking the next step. We do this when we don't recognize the client's real concern, something that is often emotional.
    • When you can look at the objection more objectively and recognize the real concern, you can address the concern. Resolving the concern will open the opportunity to ask your prospective client to move forward.

6. Challenges Closing Deals

    • Much of the time, difficulty with closing deals happens much earlier in the sales conversation. Not controlling the process, allowing clients to skip commitments, emailing pricing and proposals, or waiting to provide pricing until the end of the conversation are common ways to make closing more difficult.
    • Improving your close rates requires you to facilitate the buyer's journey, making sure they have the necessary conversations in the most effective order. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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7. Challenges Negotiating with Clients

    • You’ll face unnecessary challenges negotiating if you don't start the negotiation at the very beginning of the sales conversation. For example, not disclosing your higher price until the end of the sales conversation often prompts a desperate ploy to compete with your low-priced competitor.
    • Use the whole sales conversation to justify your higher price, position yourself and your model by triangulating your competition, and focus on the investment necessary to produce the client's desired result. This approach will improve your ability to capture some of the value you create.

8. Challenges with "No Decision"

    • This may be the most difficult challenge so far. While it is always our responsibility to help our clients, the root cause of a “no decision” is uncertainty, internal misalignment, and a lack of consensus.
    • We can help make sense of uncertainty by providing an executive briefing and explaining the implications. We can help create alignment and consensus through the sales conversation. And internal misalignment can often be corrected by identifying an executive sponsor with the power and will to move the initiative forward.

9. Challenges Meeting Goals

    • Meeting goals requires creating enough opportunities in the time allotted, then winning enough of them in that same period. If you don't know your average deal size, your win rate, and the time it generally takes you to win deals, reaching your goal generally involves a wing and a prayer.
    • The best way to meet a goal is to plan, review, and measure your approach in real time. If you have a goal of $1,200,000 annually with a 50% win rate, you need to create $240,000 in new opportunities each month to hit your target.

10. Challenges of Mindset

    • You have limited time and energy, including emotional energy. Your brain lives in your body, and mindset is, in part, under the governance of your physical and emotional well-being.
    • Sleep. Hydrate. Exercise. Diet. Reduce and recover from stress.

The better you address these challenges, the better your results. Choose the one that you believe is your biggest challenge, and address it first. Then move on to the second most important competency, address it, and work your way through the list.

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Post by Anthony Iannarino on December 14, 2021
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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