Are These Outdated Sales Tactics Hurting You?

In the Information Age, it’s hard to believe that so many salespeople and sales managers still practice outdated ideas and methodology. Salespeople show up to meetings more focused on closing than on having a real conversation. Sales managers still teach overcoming objections and trial closes, all of which lead to superficial, guarded sales meetings with prospects.  Both sales approaches result in a vendor meeting, not one for a trusted advisor conversation.

Take a look at two outdated sales philosophies/tactics that may be hurting your close ratios.

Buyers are Liars. It’s surprising how many sales organizations and sales trainers still shout this mantra from the mountaintop. What they say next is even more surprising: “Great selling is about building relationships.” See a problem here? How can a salesperson build a relationship with a prospect that he has profiled as a liar?

Prospects aren’t liars. They’re just tired of outdated selling techniques that create stupid sales conversations. For example, salespeople ask leading questions such as, “So, Mr. Prospect, if we could save you money, would you want to?” This question not only is outdated, but it’s also an insult to the prospect’s intelligence. What’s the prospect going to say? “No, we are proactively planning to lose money again next year.” They know it’s a leading question and promptly end the conversation by saying, “I need to think it over.”  They didn’t enjoy the sales meeting and don’t respond to future voicemails and emails from the salesperson.  The prospect is thinking it over and she’s thinking—I don’t need to waste more time with this salesperson.

Always be Closing. Now that’s a sales meeting every prospect looks forward to.  Not. Salesperson meets with a prospect that is open about her challenges and goals.  The ABC salesperson hears the challenge, jumps on it like a sumo wrestler and executes a trial close. “Wouldn’t you agree that some of the solutions we offer would solve this problem?” (Does anyone talk like this at home?) The prospect recognizes a close coming and ends the conversation.

The skilled sales professional knows that pressure and trial closes create fight-or-flight responses in prospects, which never have happy endings. Instead of pressuring prospects, top sales producers give prospects the option to say no early and often in the sales process. This approach gives the prospect control and choice, which eliminates a guarded meeting and creates a truth-telling sales conversation.

Listen and look at your sales approaches with prospects.  Is it time to update your selling process?


Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is the founder and president of SalesLeadership, Inc. She is a monthly columnist for Business Journals across the country, author of ‘Growing Great Sales Teams’ and co-author of ‘Motivational Selling.’ Her new book, 'Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success,' published by Amacom, a division of the American Management Association, is available in bookstores now. Colleen is the creator of Ei Selling®, a unique and powerful sales program that integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills. Prior to starting SalesLeadership, Colleen was vice president of sales and marketing for Varsity Spirit Corporation. During her 10 years at Varsity, sales increased from 8M to 90M. Varsity was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 200 fastest growing companies in the United States. When Colleen is not traveling or training, she loves to hike, read and hang with her husband Jim, and friends.

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