Some professions never change.
Poets, for example, still go about their work almost the same way they did thousands of years ago.
Sales, though, sales has advanced a lot over the years.
No, it hasn't. Sales is still the same. The problem is a lot of salespeople mistake sales tactics and tricks as salesmanship. That's how the used car dealer got a bad name in the first place.
Sales is not a trick. If marketing is done right, the prospect should believe that they need your product. Sales, then, is simply showing the prospect why they need the product now rather than later.
Sales is helping, not pressuring. You help the person make the transaction that's going to bring them value, not the other way around.
But, if you're determined to be bad at sales in 2023, here are a few tips.
How to Be Bad at Sales in 2023
Dan Kennedy is like the godfather of copywriting
In his book, The No B.S. Guide to Trust-Based Marketing, he lists the top 10 ways people lose trust in your brand - when they label you as a slimy salesperson.
#1 Displaying Trophies (the wall of plaques or equivalent display).
Some brands try way too hard to showcase “social proof.”
We had a group try to sell us a $2500 package to win their “award.” And, what’s sad is, they had a ton of past winners who had paid for the honor of that little graphic they could post on their site.
Your customers aren't stupid enough to be duped by false acclaim.
#2 Being too easily and readily accessible
What one person calls accessible is what another calls annoying.
Look, it's okay to follow-up with your leads. It's okay to proactively contact them and see if there's a way you can do business together.
What's not okay is if you make 400 potential leads mad at you just to close one sale. If they aren't ready, they aren't ready.
You know what I dislike?
Nonstop follow-up that's obviously automated.
I use the Apple mail app on my computer. This app has no functionality for flagging an email as spam. But, when I start getting automated follow-up like that, I will open up a browser tab, go to Gmail, and mark it as spam.
Maybe that's silly of me. But, I guess you can just call me an activist against spam. At least I don't take it this far:
#3 Being too pliable
Are you an expert or not? Then, take a stand for what you know is right.
#4 Being too eager
Not every lead is ready to buy. The faster you get comfortable with that fact, the better.
#5 Being too pushy & 6 Obviously trying to hurry the prospect.
Not every prospect is a good fit for your brand. There are some people who would be better off going with a competitor. The faster you get comfortable with this fact, the better.
7. Being over-confident and glib, with a quick-triggered answer to everything.
The fastest way to lose me as a prospect is to answer my questions flippantly, or act like they are silly concerns.
High-pressure salespeople are great at this. They'll deflect your concern by acting as if only stupid people have those concerns. To not feel or appear stupid, you'll stop asking and just let them finish the paperwork already.
8. Pushing products from a pushcart (vs. diagnosing needs, offering solutions)
This is why we are running as fast as we can from the agency model. Old-school agencies have a cart of products they push on every prospect, regardless of whether or not their products actually solve any needs.
That’s why we like to start with a blueprint over a silly, boilerplate proposal.
9. Evading questions
If you’re still scared to talk about your pricing (and your competitors) on your website, you’re losing. Or, you will as soon as someone is brave enough to address the concerns their customers actually have.
10. Using sales tools
Help people solve their problems, and they will reward you. Stop trying to game them, control them, and “close at all cost.”
It’s 2023; we’re beyond that. Aren’t we?
The reason all these points are important is because trust is everything.
Trust Is Everything!
If your growth engine isn’t customer-centric, you’re missing the point. What’s worse, you’re missing it while the entire world of customers is shouting about it.
Sales is not about gimmicks.
It's not about tricks.
It's about helping the customer solve their problem as fast as possible. It's about overcoming objections, not because they are keeping you from the sale, but because those objections are keeping the customer from their own goal.