Bad sales advice is shockingly common -- and you don’t want to find out you’ve been misdirected the hard way. After all, every mistake means it’s harder to achieve your sales goals.
Yes, some mistakes you have to make firsthand. But if you’re eager to learn which suggestions you should never follow in the first place, read on for the worst sales advices these 21 salespeople say they ever received.
1) “Focus solely on activity.”
I once worked for a manager who put a great deal of emphasis on activity metrics rather than actual sales results. I was advised to send 1,000-plus generic emails per day to a list of contacts across various industries. Not only did this hurt my credibility as a salesperson and my company's credibility as a business, but it ingrained prospecting habits that are ultimately unsuccessful in the long term as buyers get smarter about what solutions exist.
While this advice may have worked in the age of the old days, modern salespeople need to focus on good fit customers. Before, the salesperson would close and move on -- never to be heard from again. Today's salespeople focus on good fit clients, understand the pertinent attributes of the segment or niche and make sure they are starting relationships with people who 1) will buy, 2) will get value from the product or service, and 3) are interested in establishing a relationship.
I’d given a 45-minute pitch about our product, we’d negotiated for about 15 minutes, and then they’d decided it wasn't best for them to sign up for the service. They eventually had to go and hung up.
My manager said, "Call them back."
In sales, you have to respect the person on the other end. If they choose not to sign up, honor that. Hounding and pestering them will make them even more annoyed and mad, which will solidify their decision of not signing up for the service.
You don't know who they know, and they may tell all their friends, relatives, colleagues, and/or peers about you and who you are. So, give them time to relax, maybe follow up in a few weeks or something -- but treat the prospect like a person, not a number to get on the board.
Discovery is so so important -- any time I try to combine the calls together, I end up missing a lot of important information and level 3 GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline) that helps me close the deal.
5) “Pitching is the most important part of sales.”
False. Sometimes young sales reps think the more you talk and pitch, the better. Couldn't be farther from the truth. I've found my most successful customers are ones who I had a clear understanding of their goals and challenges thus making my job easy in prescribing a solution.
This person implied you’d be the most successful rep if you were some closing magician. I tried getting people to agree to purchasing no matter where they were in the cycle. It killed my deals.
I quickly found that the best reps are the ones that are laser-focused on solving for the customer (even if that means pushing or killing your deal). By caring about how you can help folks, you'll understand which prospects you should sell, and which prospects shouldn't buy (even if they'll take additional calls and meetings). Working with the right people naturally leads to the close -- the sales. Pushing everyone to buy has the opposite effect.
We should always be challenging and helping our prospects. With this mentality, we are bound to have a full pipeline and enhance our credibility before a sale is even made. If we are focused primarily on closing, we miss the opportunity to hear our prospects and respond accordingly.
As a sales manager, I sell communication, first of all, and only then our products and services.
My main goal is providing a quality dialogue which can be helpful and useful, but it never ever an annoying message or a chase. The reminder is important. But at the end of the day, we are communicators, not hunters.
12) “To be in sales, you have to be motivated purely by money.”
That is not true at all. You have to be someone who likes to help people and wants to solve problems. That should be the first thing we look for in sales hires, and we need to change the stigma of what being in sales mean. An after-effect of helping prospects with your product) is making money.
-Ali Powell, principal account executive at HubSpot
13) “You must handle objections.”
The end of the call shouldn't be a battle between you and the prospect. Objections should be eliminated during the qualification process so we only spend our time with those we can help and who want our help.