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3 old-school selling techniques you must avoid

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Over the past few decades, sales has changed dramatically. Prospects no longer rely on salespeople for information. Instead, they have the ability to compare prices, competitors and solutions at the click of a button. As a result, old-school selling techniques — which once worked like a charm — are now the kiss of death for selling in any industry.

Still, most salespeople use outdated sales approaches that have been around for centuries. Sales gurus preach the same regurgitated ideas, over and over again. It’s no surprise that the majority of salespeople fall into the same traps.

In particular, there are three old-school selling techniques that are probably costing you sales right now. Here are the biggest pitfalls in sales today, and how to avoid them:

1. Pitching your product

This is the single biggest mistake that salespeople make — and it’s also the most common. Pitching your product might seem central to selling, but it’s actually sabotaging your sales success. You see, your prospects are immune to the traditional sales pitch. It simply doesn’t work anymore. When you begin a sales meeting by pitching your product or giving a presentation, you’re selling in a way that drastically reduces your chances of closing that sale.

Instead of pitching your product or service, make it your first priority to learn about the prospect. What is the prospect focused on? What are the prospect’s key challenges and objectives? Once you’ve established the answers to these questions, then you can move on. Your presentation shouldn’t happen until the very end of the selling process. The early stage of selling should be all about your prospect — and nothing else

2. Using enthusiasm

The glory days of the loud, boisterous, grinning salesperson are long gone — so why do so many salespeople still use fake enthusiasm when they sell? Enthusiasm is one of the biggest turn-offs to prospects. If your voice becomes overly enthusiastic, loud and cheerful when you pick up the phone to talk to a prospect, then you’re guilty of this crushing sales mistake.

You might not even be aware of how your voice changes when you slip into “selling mode.” The best way to avoid this pitfall is to role-play with a friend or colleague. Pretend you’re in a sales meeting or on a sales call, and pay attention to how your tone shifts during the conversation. Work hard to get rid of that fake enthusiasm that sounds so inherently salesy to prospects. Instead, just be genuine, and focus on understanding your prospects.

3. Persuading prospects 

The idea of persuading prospects goes back to the very birth of sales. For centuries, the art of persuasion has been at the heart of selling. In fact, if you search Amazon for books on sales, you’ll see that at least half of them are focused on persuasion. But persuasion simply doesn’t have a place in sales anymore.

If you’re focused on persuading your prospect, then you’re already assuming that the prospect is a good fit for your product or service. As we all know, that’s not always the case. Instead of persuading prospects, you should be determining whether they’re a fit for your services in the first place. When you focus on qualifying or disqualifying prospects, you come off as more credible to prospects — all while clearing out the junk from your sales pipeline.

Once you ditch these three old-school selling techniques, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in your sales approach. Your sales pipeline will be full of qualified prospects, you’ll have more credibility in the eyes of your prospects, and you’ll stand out from the competition as someone who genuinely cares about solving prospects’ challenges.

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