Make the commitment to change your bad sales habits in the New Year.
The year 2014 is coming to a close, yet the sales world is still operating like it’s the 1914. Email blasting, cold calling, refusing to apologize… These may have been effective sales methods over the past few decades, but they’re really not viable in today’s technology-driven world.
The sales game has changed. Consumers buy differently than they did before. In the past, a consumer would seek product information from you, the salesperson. Today, the consumer challenges you on the information they found using Google.
With the new year on the horizon, it’s time to commit to letting go of old sales tactics. Here are a few practices to consider giving up in 2015.
There is no easier way to lose a potential client faster than talking over their heads. In the past, industry jargon impressed the consumer, telling them you knew what you were talking about. Today’s consumer doesn’t have the time nor the patience to listen to your long list of sales acronyms. Instead, develop your own “humanized” terminology and use it with confidence. Being able to explain everything to the client so that they understand will help build your credibility and the trust they have for you.
2) Business Cards
30 years ago when the rolodex was king, business cards made sense. They served as your personal Yellow Pages, a primary way to inform customers and clients what you did and how to contact you if they needed your services. People today don’t keep a box of business cards. Instead, they prefer to add “Jake from State Farm” into their smartphone contacts.
I like the idea of keeping business cards handy just in case you find a customer that DOES want one, but ultimately, you should work to build your brand online. Make sure your website is first in search engine rankings and list your information in online directories.
3) ABC – Always Be Closing
In this sales strategy, the salesperson constantly looks for new prospects, pitches products, and completes the sale. This strategy is built on persistence. The problem is that many salespeople push too hard, which ultimately turns the prospect away. I know, I’ve been there.
The year was 2010. My husband and I were shopping for our first new car. We had already done some research online, narrowing down our choices and price range. We went to the dealership, and I fell in love with a Blue Streak Metallic Toyota Corolla S. We took a test drive and were fully intent on purchasing the car as long as we could agree on a price point.
Well, the salesman offered a slight discount off of the sticker price, but it was still above our price range. So, he said he needed to talk to his manager on what he could do. He came back out with a price that was closer but still a little high.
Here’s where he lost us.
He wrote down another figure on a piece of paper and told us that if we signed that piece of paper committing to that price, he would take it back to the manager to get it approved.
And the red flags went up for both of us. We felt he was being way too pushy and we could no longer trust him. We stopped everything right then and there and went home.
This story has a happy ending (for us, anyways). We contacted another dealership, told them the car we wanted, told them the price we were looking for, and they set up a test drive for us. We went there, had minimal negotiation and wound up buying the car for several thousand dollars less the “best” price offered by the pushy salesman.
Instead of “Always be Closing,” trying “Always be Caring.”
4) Refusing to Apologize
It’s tough to admit you’re wrong whether in a professional or personal situation, but that’s what today’s consumer expects. They want you to own up to your mistake, admit you were wrong, and fix the problem. If you don’t, your customer will lose the trust they have in you. Just simply admit when you’ve messed up and tell the customer you’re sorry.
5) Email Blasting
The world of sales has evolved from going door-to-door to direct mail to cold calling to email marketing. The difference between email marketing and those other methods? Quantity doesn’t matter. If the emails you’re sending are not relevant and useful to the reader, you’ll find yourself in the trash or worse yet, the SPAM folder. Instead, spend the time building relevant emails that create a conversation with your customers.