As a salesperson, there are many tactics, techniques, and tools at your disposal. Sometimes there are easier but not-exactly-ethical ways to close a deal, but these sales behaviors are what give salespeople a bad rap. If you want to be an effective salesperson that doesn’t want to resort to selling your self-esteem, here are seven of the worst sales behaviors you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
This one may seem obvious, but it is first on this list for a reason. Everyone lies, but in sales lying can lead to a misrepresentation of the company and product that you represent. While it may go without saying, please avoid lying whenever possible. Lying can cause conflicts among the team, develop bad partnerships with clients, and so forth. If you need to lie to make the sale, then there’s something wrong with either a) what you’re selling; or b) your sales approach. (Typically, it’s the latter.)
If you are confident in yourself as a salesperson and you feel you need to “sweeten the deal”, be upfront with the customer, don’t offer things that don’t exist just to get that signature. If the customer finds out you lied to them, it could be detrimental to your employer and have catastrophic consequences for you, as in you’d be applying for unemployment. When it comes to lying, there is only one rule: don’t do it!
Most people think all salespeople are outgoing people-people. Nothing could be further from the truth. While many introverted salespeople do succeed, there are some traits that people naturally need to shed to become successful in sales. One of those traits is apprehension.
When it comes to closing sales, being apprehensive about asking to close the deal will get you nowhere fast. Clients are going to typically be reticent in signing unless you push for the close. Knowing when and how to ask is an art form all unto itself, but you have to muster up the gusto to push the client to close. Don’t fall prey to apprehension and lose the sale as a result.
Yes, many salespeople are bestowed with the Gift of Gab, and they can talk themselves into a frenzy. While they can hold a room and be the center-of-attention, their excessive talking can kill a sale quicker than Jim-in-Accounting’s nachos-from-last-week can cause dysentery. When making a sale, it is better to listen to the customer rather than talk over them with fancy sales speak.
Talking excessively also detracts your customer from the sale. Nobody cares about some funny childhood anecdote, even if it relevant. Time is money in sales, so don’t waste your customers’ time. Ultimately, you need to strike a happy balance with your talking and make sure it doesn’t get out of control, or else your sale will.
Whenever you make contact with a new client, it can be frustrating to wait for that contact to follow up with you regarding whatever business you decided on, whether it was setting up a further contact through that initial contact, or sitting down to make some deals with someone with more authority than said contact. Whatever the situation, never circumvent your original contact to get to that next person or dealing with others outside of your contact.
It’s about loyalty and respect more than anything, and if you show your contact that you’re willing to go behind his or her back to get things done, they just may not be willing to work with you in the future. What’s more, they could sabotage any proposed deals you’re working on from the inside. The bottom line is don’t screw the pooch on this one; always go through your contacts directly.
Everyone needs to be lazy once in a while, but there is a time and place for it, and being in sales is not one of them. The reason that salespeople cannot sloth around is that there are sales and money to be made, and you have to move quickly or else you’ll lose it to your competition. Salespeople, for the most part, tend to be fastidious folks and are not accustomed to being lazy in general. This is why they make good salespeople.
But there are always a handful of salespeople that don’t fit that mold and their laziness leads them to not having some of the basic sales skills. For instance, lazy salespeople will not follow up with leads or will avoid going out to find the leads in the first place, and may not even follow up with their current clients.
Salespeople need to exude confidence, but there is a line that needs to be drawn. When you come off as overconfident, it can be a turn-off to most people, particularly customers who may even feel threatened by that hyper attitude. Also, overconfidence has been proven to be a sign of overcompensating for other flaws in your personality, or worse, your product or company.
If a sales manager pushes confidence to a level that you feel oversteps the sales-client boundary, let them know that you have enough confidence to handle the sale. If you tend to be overconfident by nature, then try to keep yourself in check when you’re dealing with clients. Overconfidence also doesn’t go very far in a good sales team. Everyone appreciates a little humility at times, even if you are the most-greatest-best-thing-to-happen-to-sales-ever.
Like overconfident salespeople, overzealous salespeople are the types that everyone warns you about. By far one of the more hated sales behaviors, overzealous salespeople don’t know when to quit. They are pushy beyond reason, and can’t take no for an answer nor can they take a hint. (If you’re an overzealous salesperson, take a hike!)
Pushy salespeople are antiquated in today’s marketplace. Most customers want a knowledgeable salesperson that can steer them in the right direction when making a purchase. Overzealous salespeople forget how to listen and instead try to take over, telling their customer what they need rather than the other way around. This will kill your sale every single time!