Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Top Five Sales Tactics All Salespeople Should Avoid

When someone decides they want to pursue a career in sales—which is as honorable a profession as any other—they also get to decide what kind of a salesperson they want to be. Very few people would purposely choose to become the stereotypical sleazy salesperson, but it can happen if no one ever takes the time to explain the “old school” selling tactics people associate with sleazy salespeople, and why you should avoid them at all costs. Here’s a quick refresher of the top five tactics all salespeople should avoid: 

1. Directly putting down your competitor’s products/services:  Doing this is basically telling your prospect they are ignorant of the world around them. Face it, your prospects have access to the same information you do. Your job isn’t to prove your products/services are better than your competition’s. It’s to show your prospect that your products/services are a perfect fit for them.

2.  Hoping your prospect is as lazy as you are:  I once worked for a VP who always asked, “Did you do your due diligence?" The reality is that there are business owners who don’t do their due diligence with regard to their own company, or with the sales reps they encounter. For the sales rep who gets their foot in the door, it’s a choice. They can do just enough work to get the account, or they can do their own due diligence and become an invaluable resource to the business owner.

3.  Insulting you prospects intelligence: If there’s one trait that’s become synonymous with the sleazy salesperson, it’s the idea that they’re always on the lookout for the easy mark. Never assume that the way someone looks, dresses, or talks is an indication of how well they know their business. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that just because someone’s desk is a mess, you have an edge. Don’t let your assumption about how business savvy a prospect is end up showing the prospect just how un-savvy you are.

4.  Making promises just so you can get the order:  Everybody knows how the “bait and switch” approach to business works. What people don’t understand is how it can still happen in this day and age. Easy. When the order isn’t delivered on time, or as expected, or at the price quoted, it’s always someone else’s fault. These kinds of sales lead to short-term clients. Think about it… if you go to a restaurant and everything about your visit is sub-standard, are you likely to go their again? Over time, short-term clients lead to a short-term career.

5. Talking over your prospect: Yes, you may have a lot of great information to share, but good sales conversations are a two-way street. Talking over your prospect’s questions before they can even ask them forces them to look for answers in what you’re saying. That might have worked in the old west when the “snake oil salesman” sold from his wagon, but many of today’s business owners know more about your products/services than you do! Remember, relevant conversations are building blocks for solid long-term business relationship.

Fortunately, many sales professionals learn not to pursue these tactics early on in their careers. But I can't tell you how many times I’ve wished I hadn’t been present to witness a sales person falling into "old school" selling tactics simply because they didn’t realize that’s what they were doing.
Chances are that the stereotype of the sleazy salesperson will never be eradicated either. Fortunately, as sales professionals, we do get to choose whether to conduct ourselves as part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Alan Luoma: I am a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new

product development, sales and product training. I work with a great national sustainable packaging company and their exceptional distributors to increase sales. My success has been and is in utilizing the Pareto 80/20 principal in business and life. I have become an expert in seeking out and eliminating behaviors that prevent business people from being successful. I am a member of The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view my profile on LinkedIn, or contact me at Luoma@snet.net 

1 comment:

  1. Good article, Alan. Sales really is a relationship business.