Salesperson Mistakes: 5 Sales Tactics You Need to Avoid

Salesperson Mistakes: 5 Sales Tactics You Need to Avoid

Some sales approaches haven’t stood the test of time and need to be done away with. Learn seven sales tactics you should avoid at all costs.

Keyword(s): sales tactics

We all know it: salespeople get a bad rap. We get the reputation for being pushy, dishonest, and self-serving. To be honest, we also have each dealt with a salesperson ourselves who fit that stereotype.

Hope is not lost. Your personality and reputation is a powerful part of your success in sales. You can start earning your customers’ trust and repeat business by setting rules for yourself.

In fact, success is as much about learning what not to do as it is about learning what to do. Start by steering clear of these outdated and ineffective sales tactics.

1. Keeping Customers in Front of You

There is an old sales strategy that tells salespeople to keep the conversation going with a customer for as long as possible. The theory is that the more time a customer spends with you, the more likely they are to buy.

That doesn’t work anymore. Your customers are busy people and if they feel stuck in a conversation they don’t want to be in, all it will do is turn them off.

For cold calls and meetings alike, start off your conversations with a quick summary and elevator pitch. Only give customers as much information as they need and want.

From there, let them set the tone for how long the conversation goes. If they seem engaged, you can ask more questions and go into more detail. If it looks like they’re ready to end the conversation, bring it to a close.

No matter how the conversation ends, always set up a “next step.” If the customer hasn’t made a purchase yet, let them know when you’ll be reaching back out.

2. Pursuing Whales Only

Have you ever contacted a salesperson to buy a product or service, only to get a clear message that your business was too small for them to care about?

Most of us have, and it’s a terrible feeling. That’s the last thing you want to do to your customers. Not only does it burn your bridge to them, but it means that you lose out on a sale even if it’s a small one.

At the same time, you don’t want to invest too much time pursuing small-time customers.

It’s all about finding a middle ground. When you first come into contact with a customer, qualify them. Get a sense of their interest level and their buying power.

While you want to focus most of your energy courting big customers, don’t ignore the little guys. Be responsive to them and make them feel heard. You can do this in a surprisingly small amount of time, earning new business without a large investment of your time.

3. Spending Extensive Amounts of Time (Or No Time at All) on Small Talk

Small talk is a necessary part of sales. It’s a path to earning your customers’ trust. The challenge is finding the right balance.

Some salespeople believe that the more time they spend on small talk, the more their customers will know and trust them. Others cut out the small talk entirely and expect to get in and out with fast deals.

Most salespeople lean toward too much small talk and too much talking in general. In fact, in the average sales meeting, the salesperson is talking 81% of the time.

There is no single magical amount of time to spend chatting before you “get down to business.” Instead, learn how to read your customers and notice the difference between them being engaged and impatient.

A helpful way to do this is by focusing more on asking them questions and learning about their needs.

Not only does this help you meet those needs but it helps you read them. Someone giving one-word answers wants out of the conversation. Someone who goes more in-depth is engaged and interested.

4. Saying “Yes” Now and Figuring It Out Later

Another of those outdated sales tactics is to agree to whatever the customer wants and figure out later how to make it happen.

All it takes is one experience with this strategy to see why it doesn’t work. You make promises to customers, then you can’t deliver. You find out later that what you agreed to is either impractical or impossible.

On rare occasions, you might find a way to deliver on your promises. More often, though, you’ll wind up with unhappy customers who feel duped. You could even get into legal trouble.

There is no shame in telling a customer, “Let me get an answer on that and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.”

This shows the customer that you’re genuine. They’ve dealt with those “yes” salespeople before, and they’ll be grateful to know that if you promise something, it’s because you can make it happen.

5. Pushing, Pushing, and Pushing Some More

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, but in our own experiences, plenty of salespeople are still using it.

The era of the pushy salesperson “winning over customers with their persistence” is over. Today’s customers are wary of being “sold to.” The more you push, the less they’ll trust you.

In addition to making your customers feel irritated, this strategy also makes you look desperate. Customers will start to think that if you’re desperate for customers, your product or service must not be very good.

Instead of using repetition and continuing to push, give customers a deadline. For example, tell them the product will only be available until a certain date or that you only have a select amount of the product in stock.

This helps your product look more in-demand, and their reaction will tell you whether or not they’re serious about the product.

Bringing Your Sales Tactics Up to Date

Selling is a complex job, and a large part of it comes down to psychology. As our world changes, so do the thought patterns our customers have. For this reason, it’s important to get rid of your old sales tactics based on outdated theories.

Before you can put these tips to work, though, you need great leads. Learn more about our sales data plans to kick off your new, more successful strategy.