Inside sales consists of closing deals and making sales via the telephone. This can be done from a company office, a call center, or in this case from home. Work from home inside sales is a career that can be very lucrative. Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned professional, some pitfalls can be avoided. Today we’re going to review 7 of them to ensure your success within the work from home inside sales field.
1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
You may have started with work from home inside sales due to the promise of riches. You may have financial goals of being very prosperous within your field. Goals like these can be great, as long as you don’t set unrealistic expectations.
Inside sales is something that is going to take a little while to get good at. It can also take time to build up your pipeline. Don’t expect to make a few calls and get rich. Expect to get rejected a lot. Become accustomed to hearing “No.” Most people are going to say no. Don’t get discouraged. This is part of the process. There is a great book called “Go For No“. Read it. It will change your mindset and allow you to set realistic expectations.
Expect there to be a learning curve. Your first few calls or few weeks are going to be rough. You aren’t going to sound great or perform great and that’s ok! The point is that you stick with it and get better over time. Everyone has to start somewhere. As long as your expectations are in the correct place, you’ll be alright.
2. Getting Burned Out
This section piggy-backs off of the “Setting unrealistic expectations” section. Not setting the right expectations can and will lead to you getting burned out. Getting burned out is when you no longer have the energy, motivation, or desire to continue performing your job or duty.
Inside sales (if it’s outbound sales), is going to consist of a lot of cold calling or outbound calling. The nature of this interaction is very difficult. You are beginning the interaction as an uphill battle. If you think about it, you’re contacting someone that has no idea that you are going to contact them and try to do business with them.
If you’re lucky enough to have an inbound inside sales job, this is great news. Inbound sales can be a lot easier than outbound sales. The burnout rate of inbound inside sales is a lot lower. There isn’t nearly the same amount of “grind” and work ethic required to take inbound calls as there is to place outbound calls.
You can avoid getting burned out by setting the realistic expectation that it is going to be tough, getting a buddy to compete with and hold each other accountable, tracking your progress, and taking note of your wins, and taking a 5-minute break at least every hour.
3. Changing Things Up Too Soon
All too often, people who are new to the work from home inside sales field will change things up too soon. They try something for a couple of days, weeks, or even months and decide that it isn’t working out for them, so they decide to change things up. This is the wrong move. Don’t change up your script, your approach, or your method, unless someone successful in your field is telling you to do so.
Just like flowers and plants, success takes time to grow. Think of your success in work from home inside sales as a seed. You need to water it and fertilize it. This is done by continuing to persist in what you are doing with enthusiasm. Imagine if you planted a seed in a garden and every time it didn’t grow as fast as you wanted it to, you dug it up and put it into another section of the garden. How well would that seed grow?
In the book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz wrote “95% of ability is ‘stickability’.” This is what I’m talking about. If you don’t have that level of “stickability” you will never have the ability. You need to do what the professionals call F.O.C.U.S.
4. Talking Too Much
The Greek philosopher Epictetus famously said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Take this to heart and internalize it. Most novice work from home inside salespeople talk too much and don’t listen enough. They believe that they have to pitch more to get the prospect to buy. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you can train yourself to listen carefully, prospects are telling you exactly what you need to know to sell them on your product. When a prospect is talking they are expressing their needs, desires, wants, complaints, preferences, and “hot buttons.” These are all things you can use ethically to sell the client services and products that they genuinely need and will benefit their life. If your product will not positively benefit the client, then it’s time for you to find a new product or company. Your success will always crash and burn if it is not built upon truth and justice.
Make it a practice to close your lips and open your ears. This will not only cause your clients to like you more, but it will also cause you to gather more intel on what your prospect is looking for.
5. Focusing on Features and Not Benefits
People don’t buy products and services because they have great features. They buy things because of how they imagine the benefits are going to affect their lives. Let’s take a look at an example. Suppose we’re selling a portable AC unit. Would it be better to explain to the client that the portable AC unit blows 60-degree air or that with this product they’ll no longer have to use their home AC unit?
It’s better to say the latter, “with this product they’ll no longer have to use their home AC unit”. This is because the client will be able to use their imagination and live in the future you’ve created for them. If we simply tell them that the portable AC unit blows 60 degrees, we haven’t created a future situation in which the prospect can live for a brief moment. The more moments we can build up to where the prospect gets excited about the future they are going to be living in if they purchase your product or service, the better.
However, do keep in mind to talk less and listen more. You don’t want to be a “pitching machine”.
6. Not Closing the Sale
If you never ask for the order, you’ll never close the sale. This part of the sale is the most important as without it you can’t make the sale. Many people are scared to ask for the order or close the sale. This is because people are afraid to hear the word “No”. If you have set the appropriate expectation as recommended above, then this shouldn’t be a problem. You need to know that some prospects are going to say “No” when you ask for the order. This is ok. If you’ve read the book “Go For No” as we’ve recommended, you’ll be happy the prospect said no! Talk about a mindset shift.
If you’ve also talked less and listened more and focused on the benefits rather than the features with your prospect, the sales call should naturally progress to a close where you simply ask for the order. However, it will never happen unless you ask!
7. Not Pitching the Correct Person
How can you ever expect to make a sale if you aren’t speaking with someone who can buy? This is a common mistake people make. They do everything else correctly. They talk less and listen more, present the benefits, not the features, they even ask for the sale… but they aren’t speaking to a decision-maker.
A decision-maker is defined as the person in the sales situation that can decide to buy. For example, if you were trying to sell a roof to someone, the decision-maker would be the homeowner. If you are trying to sell a roof and you end up speaking with the homeowner’s child (who is not on the deed for the home), you are wasting your time.
A lot of time and effort can be saved by ensuring you are speaking to the decision-maker. The last thing you want to do is go through your entire presentation, ask for the order, and find out that the person you’ve been speaking to doesn’t even have the ability or authority to buy what you are selling.
You can avoid this by listening more and asking probing questions towards the beginning of your call, during the qualification section of your sale. Going back to the roof example, you might want to ask the prospect before you begin the pitch, “Are you the homeowner?”.
Whether you are new to the field or a seasoned veteran of the work from home inside sales arena, avoid these 7 pitfalls to see an increase in not only your sales numbers but also your mindset and the way you feel overall about your job.