People have been selling things since the dawn of time, whether it be ice to Eskimos or fish to market. Unfortunately many of the sales techniques being taught today appear to have come from bygone eras and have no place in the modern selling world.

Here are a few outdated techniques you should avoid using at all costs.

Manipulative Questions

“If we can do …….. can you think of any reason why we should’nt go ahead with this project?”

Manipulative questions are the absolute worst offense in modern selling, by asking these questions you are pushing the buyer into a corner and forcing them to answer in a way that benefits the seller. Also, note the use of we in the sentence. There is no we, WE have no relationship yet, so don’t try and persuade the seller in this fashion.

“What can I do to get your business today?”

If you had any chance of getting their business you would have uncovered a need that your product or service could solve already and established that with the prospect. Using this question sounds like desperation and in many cases may prompt the prospect to ask you to drop your price!.

Show and Tell

Show and tell, also known as pitching, is coming in hard at the buyer with all the reasons why they should do business with you. This also involves bombarding them with pamphlets, testimonials and samples at your first meeting.

This is so old school it’s not funny, and the reason it doesn’t work is that it makes your product/service the focus or ‘hero’ of the story. It has to be about the customer first, you don’t want to distract them with all the great things your company has accomplished. All they care about is how you can help them solve a problem they have. If you do the above, you will never have a chance to discover what that may be.

Pushing for the sale (without uncovering a need first)

This continues on from our last point, but is worth saying again. Whatever you do, don’t push for a sale if you can’t find a need. This is underhanded and undermines any trust you may have built up during the course of the interview. As I mentioned before, some people can sell ice to Eskimos, but I bet those Eskimos walked away unhappy and never came back for more ice!

Instead of being pushy, use a good questioning model to take the buyer through the sales process so at the end they know where they are at and aren’t confused into buying something they don’t need. Remember, your job is to sell them the solution they need.

Cold Calling

I’ll just leave this here with this quote – “Cold calling is punishment for not getting enough referred leads”. Enough said.

At the end of the day, modern sales is about relationships and honesty. We need to remember that the buyer is buying us first then our product or service and finally our company. So go out there and be genuine, remember to sell benefits over features and make sure the prospect is always the focus!.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” Mary Kay Ash.

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.” W. Clement Stone.

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