Think your selling approach is modern and up-to-date? Think again. The vast majority of today’s sales techniques are rooted in selling habits that originated as far back as the late 1800s. For more than 100 years, sales trainers have been teaching the same old-school selling ideas that no longer apply to today’s well-informed, busy, and discerning prospects. 

As a result, salespeople have been selling in a similar fashion -- with the same common pitfalls -- for over a century. It’s time for you to break away from the pack and update your sales approach.

If you rely on old-school selling habits, you’ll find yourself falling into several common sales traps. Once you ditch these habits, you’ll start dominating your competition in sales: 

1) Don’t pitch your product.

The traditional product pitch simply no longer works in the current selling world. This is perhaps the single biggest mistake that salespeople make today. Your prospects grew immune to the typical product pitch long ago. Remember: For over 100 years, salespeople have been pitching their products in the same predictable ways. Prospects have had enough. 

So what should you do instead? The short answer is that you should focus on your prospect. Don’t start your sales meetings with a presentation about your product. Rather, start by getting to know your prospect. Focus on discovering your prospects’ biggest problems, and how you can help solve them. Save the information about your product for later on in the sales process.

Watch this video to learn more about why you shouldn’t pitch your product:

2) Lose the fake enthusiasm. 

Most salespeople are completely unaware of how their voice changes in a selling situation. Are you? To find out, ask a friend to do a mock sales meeting with you, and record yourself. Does your voice sound different than it usually does? Chances are, you slip into a more “salesy” tone when you’re in a selling situation. Look out for a higher pitch and overly cheerful voice quality.

Prospects can sense this false enthusiasm from a mile away. They’re immediately turned off by this salesy approach. The old-school myth that salespeople must be perpetually loud, cheerful, and boisterous will only harm your chances of closing the sale. You don’t have to be void of all personality -- but be genuine! Check your enthusiasm at the door, and focus on your prospect from the very beginning.

3) Stop persuading. 

Perform a quick search on Amazon for sales books, and you’ll find that nearly half are focused on the art of persuasion. The problem with persuading prospects is that you’re assuming they’re a good fit for your product or service -- and that’s not necessarily true. The first step of any sales interaction should be to determine whether or not a prospect is a good fit for what you have to offer. Otherwise, you’ll waste time and energy on prospects who will never buy from you, no matter what you do.

Instead of persuading prospects, focus on determining whether they’re a good fit for what you’re offering. Ask about their problems, determine their budgets, and get insight into their decision-making process. This shift in your prospecting approach will help you clear out the junk from your sales pipeline -- and show prospects that you’re credible and trustworthy. 

If you’re guilty of one or more of these common old-school selling mistakes, don’t worry. Now that you’re aware of the problem, you’re equipped to make key changes that can radically transform your sales approach. To keep the momentum going, check out this 9-Day Sales Intensive to help you make even more sales, and surpass your revenue goals.

Originally published Oct 27, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


Inbound Sales