The vast majority of sales trainers today use sales techniques that date back to the turn of the century. Yes, really! These old-school techniques are simply regurgitated ideas that first appeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even though they simply don’t work anymore, they continue to be passed down to new generations of salespeople.

You must avoid the following sales habits if you want to crush your sales goals. In fact, if you don’t actively avoid these dated techniques, you’ll never reach your full potential in sales. Here are the seven old-school sales techniques you must avoid in today’s selling market, no matter your industry:

1) Pitching your product

It might be tough to hear, but it’s true: Prospects don’t care about your product or service. They only care about the problems you can help them solve. Instead of pitching your product, ask effective questions to discover each prospect’s deepest frustration. Then present a solution to solve that challenge.

2) Selling to anyone with a pulse

Have you ever heard the phrase, “She can sell ice to an Eskimo”? People still use this phrase to describe great salespeople -- but it’s absurd if you actually think about it. Great salespeople don’t “sell ice to Eskimos” -- they sell ice to people who actually need ice. It’s time to stop selling to anyone with a pulse, regardless of whether they’re a good fit for your product. Instead, only focus on talking to prospects who are a good fit for what you have to offer.

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3) Persuading your prospects

Persuasion is the most common focus in sales training -- and that’s a huge mistake. The problem with persuading your prospect is that it assumes you’re talking to a good fit in the first place. If you start a conversation by trying to persuade someone to do business with you, you can’t determine whether the person is a good fit for your product or service. Instead of persuading your prospects, focus on qualifying and disqualifying them.

4) Turning on the enthusiasm

Every well-meaning salesperson out there is guilty of faking enthusiasm. Prospects always recognize an overly cheery sales voice, and it scares prospects off right away. Instead, use a low, calm tone as you seek to discover what’s going on in their world.

5) Smooth talking

Many salespeople try to sound especially polished and smooth when selling -- but prospects don’t want a smooth talker. They want someone who’s going to be real with them. Instead of smooth talking, speak to your prospects the same way you’d speak to a coworker or friend. Leave the smooth speech at the door, and just be genuine.

6) Begging to give a proposal

Never ask prospects, “Hey, can I send you a proposal to show you what we can do?” before you’ve taken the time to discover if they’re actually a good fit. The prospects will think, “Sure, you can send me all of the free information you want!” and immediately see the offer as an indicator of low value. Only offer proposals to fully qualified prospects to avoid this pitfall.

7) Leaving the next steps unclear

Many sales trainers advise to wrap up a sales meeting by saying, “I’ll give you a call on Monday at 10 a.m. to follow up.” Making a verbal date to connect simply isn’t clear enough to ensure your prospect won’t miss the call -- and you won’t miss the sale. Transform this old-school technique by actually scheduling the next call or meeting via an online calendar invite or email. Make sure it’s in your prospect’s calendar before you move on.

Which of these seven old-school techniques have you been using? Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you found these tips helpful, check out this special report on three closing questions you must ask to close the sale.

HubSpot CRM

Originally published Sep 22, 2016 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017


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