I started in sales in my 20’s back in the early 90’s (Over 2 decades ago) and recall a lot of techniques that may have worked back then, but should be avoided like the plague today. It’s funny when I think about how some people still use and teach these techniques in today’s markets. The sales arena has transformed over the years with all the latest technology, social interaction, and other new avenues of direct communication.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling food, domains, services, art, or pencils, if you implement the wrong sales strategies, you’ll send the wrong message to today’s consumer.
Old (Obsolete) Sales Techniques
Some Do, Some Don’t, Who Cares, Who’s Next – They seriously taught me to think like this when I was selling used cars. While in theory, this may have made a little sense to use as a motivational trigger for a salesman so they don’t get discouraged with all the deals that fell through, however, it unconsciously carries over into communications with a potential customer/client. If you ever talked to a salesman that said something along the lines of “If you don’t buy it, someone else will” to try and close you, that’s an indication that they were taught and still implement this age old technique.
In today’s consumer markets, this gives the potential customer/client the feeling that you really don’t care about them, that they are just another number, and all you want to do is sell them something that may not necessarily be a solution to their problem.
For those of you still stuck with this mentality, let’s make a minor tweak to it so you can adapt easier to today’s consumer markets. Next time you think about the technique, change it to this; “Some Do, Some Don’t, Let’s Find A Better Solution, Who’s Next” – Much better right? Exactly!
Answering questions before they get asked – We used to be taught that if we laid everything out on the table in front of the consumer, that it would help educate and instill trust, leading to an easier close. While half of that is still true, there is a fine line that should be drawn when it comes to too much information. For instance, if the consumer never asks you if they can drive the used car they are looking at into a river and want to know how long it will float before sinking, don’t offer the information. Tossing in: “if you wind up in a river, you have a whole 5 minutes before you sink and drown” is not the way to close a deal and it’s not funny to someone with children.
Just don’t do it!
Product pitching – Believe it or not, most consumers are not interested in the slew of products you have for sale. They are interested in solutions to their everyday problems. The more you pitch your product without addressing the consumers exact problem, the more likely it will be you lose the potential sale.
Ask questions to isolate a problem first, then pitch a solution instead of the product itself.
Untargeted / Bulk sales presentations – I’m not sure what blog or guru some of these people have been following that taught them it’s just a numbers game with little other requirements, but it’s wrong. Why waste all that time sending pitches to deaf ears that don’t have a problem you can solve? These type of bulk campaigns (Targeted or not, really) is a quick way to get labeled as a spammer and a huge waste of time.
Do some research and target the exact market you have solutions for.
Persuasion – I know, I know, you really need to make a sale and your manager/mentor taught you to persuade the potential consumer into buying. Regrettably, for you, persistent persuasion projects desperation and nobody likes doing business with a desperate person. Society has taught us over the years that desperation leads to lies or misinformation.
Keep it simple and use your knowledge in the product/service to explain how it will solve their problem and stop trying to desperately persuade them.
Asking permission to send a proposal – As we all know, everyone has a subconscious fear of being sold something. You just gave them an easy out by asking first. You just lost your chance to get a bonified solution in front of a prospect that would have solved their problem. Way to go!
Just send the proposal, but keep it short, to the point, and outline the solution. You can work out the fine print contracts later. Let them know you are looking forward to hearing back from them and happy to answer any questions.
In conclusion – If you’re truly having that hard of a time closing a deal, you’re targeting the wrong consumer market. There are plenty of consumers out there that need solutions you may provide. You just have to put the long hours in to do the research to find them.
Throw away all those old (Obsolete) car salesman notes and start studying for 2017+ consumer markets.
There are a ton of other obsolete sales techniques floating around out there, I just didn’t have time to write about them today.
Happy business building!
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