You’re Losing Deals Because You’re Focusing On The Wrong Thing

You’re Losing Deals Because You’re Focusing On The Wrong Thing

Andy Preston

Andy Preston

In this article, leading Telecoms Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why many telecoms and mobile phone salespeople often focus on the wrong thing, and why their sales figures often suffer as a result!

Whenever I’m called in to work with a telecoms company and their sales team, one of the first things I look at is where their sales efforts are focused. Often when I look at it, their focus is on the things that they think are important, but the prospect views as less important.

You won’t be surprised to learn that costs them sales, but you might be surprised at what I would term the wrong focus – because many salespeople fall into this trap.

So what things do I consider to be the wrong focus?

Sales Mistake No 1 – You Focus On The Device

In my experience, far too many telecoms salespeople focus on the device – often when the prospect doesn’t really care about it. The salesperson gets really excited about one particular device (traditionally iPhone or Blackberry) and doesn’t seem to understand it when the prospect doesn’t feel the same way. In fact in some cases, the salesperson is almost offended if the client disagrees with them or has the opposite opinion!  And that definitely isn’t helping their chances of closing the deal.

I remember doing some work on behalf of BlackBerry and RIM a few years ago.  The interesting thing that came out of those sessions was the fact that the salesperson often was the most enthusiastic and passionate about the device that they owned themselves, and therefore this attitude came over to the prospects they spoke to! 

Just because it may have been the best device for them, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best device for the prospect – and depending who you’re dealing with in an organisation, they might not even care about the device at all. That means that talking about the device in this situation is actually losing them rapport, and taking them further away from closing the deal. Exactly the opposite of what they were intending to do.


Sales Mistake No 2 – You Focus On Their History

This is a common problem across the whole of the telecoms arena. Most salespeople base their recommendations and solutions on the history of their usage.  In this market, I think that’s wrong. Now before you start trying to argue with me here, consider this point.

In the current market conditions, organisations are changing personnel, changing strategy and changing approach on a regular basis – so they’re taking a more flexible approach to the business going forwards.

Just because they had a certain amount of usage last year, or for the past few months, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have similar usage for the next few months. And it isn’t always as simple as dropping a few handsets and some minutes – it needs a far more structured approach than that.

And before you say I do that already, I’ve sat through 30+ prospect meetings with telecoms salespeople and not one has asked these questions in the right way to uncover any of the critical information. The conversation about future requirements and potential upsell opportunities has never happened in any of those meetings. Which indicates it’s a bigger problem than most telecoms companies realise.

Shifting your focus to include details about their future plans, how things have changed, their own business development strategy over the next few months for example are only a few things you should base your proposal on – if you want to stand out from your competition and have more chance of winning the deal that is?


Sales Mistake No 3 – You Focus On The Proposal

In the majority of cases, putting the proposal together takes a lot of time and effort – from the salesperson themselves, and possibly a number of internal and external colleagues as well.   In fact, far more effort is put into the proposal than is put into asking the questions of the prospect in the first place!

I also think that’s wrong.  Think about it.  How much of your proposal contains tariff information, and technical detail?  Probably a large part of it.  What level of understanding will the prospect have about that information?  Probably very little; unless of course you’re speaking to a very technical person, in which case you’re probably not dealing with the decision maker, but we’ll tackle that problem in another article!

Therefore the majority of your proposal contains information that confuses the prospect, or makes them feel stupid.  That’s not a good emotion for your prospect to have about you and your proposal. The other parts of your proposal probably contain information about your company and it’s background – which they will have already done some research on anyway, so that also is irrelevant.

Here’s my big distinction.  By the time it gets to proposal stage, the prospect has most likely decided which vendor they’re going to go with.  The proposal is purely something they’ll use to sense check their decision – in other words if their favoured provider doesn’t mess up, the deal is most likely theirs.

I remember one appointment I went on with a telecoms rep that had an appointment with the commercial director of a marketing agency.  It transpired that they had more than 15 proposals from various companies who wanted their mobile business.

Now obviously there was a variety of quality in there, from well-known dealers and smaller outfits, as well as 3 of the networks themselves (it was over 75 handsets).  However virtually all of those proposals were over 20 pages and very unwieldy.

Even worse, when I asked how many of those proposals the prospect had looked at, she admitted none of them really – because they were so unwieldy and confusing, she hadn’t had the time or energy to sit down and read through them.

How many of those contained technical and tariff details?  All of them.  How many of them had a large section on company background and who they’d worked with etc?  All of them.  How many had the prospect looked at or understood? None of them!

We were then able to propose a solution in that meeting that the prospect understood and signed up to then and there, completely blowing away the competition and their various proposals. Yet they thought they has done a good job, and didn’t understand why they lost the deal.

Little did they know they were focusing on the wrong things.

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Andy Preston is a leading sales expert, specialising in the Telecoms sector in particular and helps individuals and companies prospect better, and close more deals.  You can see more about Andy at

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