It’s the information age. So it is hard to believe that sales managers and salespeople still utilize outdated methodology and ideas. Salespeople arrive at meetings with more focus on closing than on engaging in real conversations. Sales managers still teach overcoming objections and trial closes. All of this leads to superficial, guarded meetings with prospects. These sales approaches do not result in trusted advisor conversations, but instead “vendor meetings.”
Let’s examine two outdated sales tactics/philosophies that could be seriously impacting your closing ratios.
1. “Buyers are Liars.” It’s truly amazing how many sales teams and sales trainers still shout this mantra from the rooftops. What’s really surprising is that they follow this mantra with, “Great selling is all about building relationships.” Do you see the problem here? How possible is it for a salesperson to build a relationship with someone they’ve profiled as a liar?
Prospects are not liars. They’ve just become tired of outdated sales techniques that result in stupid sales conversations. Salespeople ask questions such as, “If we could save you money, would you want to?” It’s not only an outdated approach, it’s a question that insults the prospect’s intelligence. How is the prospect going to answer? “No, we fully intend to lose money again next year.” They are fully aware that it’s a leading question and promptly end the meeting by saying, “We need to think it over.” They didn’t enjoy the meeting, nor do they respond to future emails and voicemails from the salesperson. The prospect is indeed thinking it over: “I don’t need to waste more time with this salesperson.”
2. “Always be Closing.” Now that’s a meeting every prospect looks forward to. ..Not! A salesperson meets with a prospect that is open about her challenges and goals. The ABC salesperson hears the challenge, jumps on it like a sumo wrestler and executes a trial close. “Wouldn’t you agree that some of the solutions we offer would solve this problem?” (Does anyone talk like this at home?) The prospect recognizes a close coming and ends the conversation.
The skilled sales professional knows that pressure and trial closes create fight-or-flight responses in prospects, which never have happy endings. Instead of pressuring prospects, top sales producers give prospects the option to say “no” early and often in the sales process. This approach gives the prospect control and choice, which eliminates guarded meetings and creates truth-telling sales conversations.
Listen and look at your sales approaches with prospects. Is it time to update your selling process?
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