In today's world of social media, relationship building, desire for trust and endless ways to get information, you'd think that people who use bad sales practices would be a thing of the past. No way! Every day, I recieve 3-4 telesales calls from people who have no interest in treating me like a valued customer.
Fact is, with all the books available on professional selling techniques, you'd think that people who practice sales for a living would be getting better, not worse. And, maybe that's the problem! Sales courses (classes, self help downloads, e-Books, etc) still focus on manipulating the call to get the prospect to say yes regardless of why they are saying yes to.
Here are some of the most agregious mistakes that sales people make and how to change the technique so you can actually earn the sale:
1. Starting the call like an interegation: No one likes to answer the phone and be immediately hit with a dozen questions. The sales people who do this are just trying to qualify the caller and keep them on the phone long enough to wear them down. How about introducing yourself and telling people why you are calling? If you treat the person with respect and attempt to build some rapport, you might be surprised at their willingness to hear you out.
2. Dont' act like you both are old friends: I get allot of sales people calling me, addressing me by my first name and trying to convince me that we spoke before and are 'buds'. We are not buds! I don't do business with 'buds'. Be more professional and I'll give you a minute to tell me why you are calling.
3. Tell me you are in my neighborhood and you want to stop by: You tell me it would be no trouble to stop by for a demonstration because you will be in my neighborhood today. My office is in my home. I'm keenly aware of who is in my neighborhood and I've never seen your vehicle before. You've immediately lost my trust. I might believe you if your business was located near by but you just told me you were located in Glendale!
4. Try to get me to say 'yes' with discounts: Using discounts to close a sale is a horrible idea. I don't know your prices so I have nothing to campare the discount to. I don't know the quality of your product or service so I can't make a value judgement. I don't know you or whoever you might be sending out. Discounts only work once I understand that what you offer is something I am interested in. Don't lead with them... you just cheaped your value and you tell me you are already overpriced!
5. Immediately try to sell me what you want to sell me: OK, I get the fact that you are being paid to sell your stuff. But at least pretend like you are interested in what I want before you shoehorn me into what you want to sell me. Reemember, I have choices and they're all over the internet.
6. Be gracious if the close is not their on the first call: Many times, if I don't buy, it's not because I didn't think the offer had potential. It was because I wasn't prepared to make the decision right there. Give me a way to learn more and ask to follow up. Let me know that you are more interested in helping me make good decisions that forcing me to decide and then cancel later when I come to my senses.
Selling today is like having a conversation with someone you respect and want to help. You need to approach them with the idea of helping them solve a problem. If they feel they can trust you because you have given them something that energizes them, they will buy. Maybe not now but they will buy. Sales should be focused on making the customer a loyal one, not just an immediate one.
About the Author:
Steve Smith is an experienced business and executive coach. He is also the founder and President of GrowthSource Coaching based in Orange County, CA. Steve works individually with business professionals who want to achieve top tier effectiveness in the organizations they run. He writes articles and talks on various radio shows about the effects of leadership, management and marketing as the most important elements of running a successful business.
About the Author
Steve provides leadership, management and marketing coaching to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs worldwide. Considered the Catalyst for Change by the California Business Journal, Steve has coached over 400 business professionals to date.