The number one word most associated with salespeople is “Pushy”.
In the sales business, there is a fine line between persistence and falling under the category of another “pushy sales person”. Although it’s a fine line, there is a clear difference between the two. It’s what separates a true sales professional from the rest of the pack.
There is no doubt, that persistence is part of being a salesperson. In fact, 80 % of sales requires five or more follow ups, according to a recent study. But how do you be persistent without driving your customers away?
The truth lies in the fact that sales has evolved. The sales tactics that may have worked years ago, are no longer effective in today’s technology-centric world. So how do you know if you are being pushy? And what can you do to be more engaging with prospects?
I’ve created a list of the top complaints that I hear too often from customers and share insight on our sales strategy here at Focus.
- Don’t send Unsolicited Calendar Invites – I was recently meeting with a CIO and his phone was ringing off the hook. He tells me that he constantly gets bombarded with sales calls. Occasionally, he’ll answer the phone if he has a project going on which aligns with the company that is calling. He goes on to tell me that his biggest ‘pet peeve’ is not the calls. Its unsolicited calendar invites from sales reps that he's never talked to before. This is a common topic of discussion among other CIOs and CEOs within his professional network. And it’s the number one sales tactic that is being used today, that drives them crazy. Instead, make a genuine connection and respectfully ask to schedule time on their calendars to meet.
- Scripted Pitches vs Story Tellers -- Prospects can tell if you are reciting a scripted pitch and often this distracts them and can turn them away. Instead, learn how to be an excellent story teller, an excellent listener and tailor your conversation to meet their needs. What’s not to like about stories? Stories bring us to a different world. They let us visualize a specific scenario or experience a journey. Stories are compelling and entertaining – and a whole lot more memorable then a scripted pitch.
- You Don’t Vary your outreach— You might be coming off as pushy without even knowing it. If you keep calling or emailing a prospect, you’ll quickly become a nuisance. Instead, create a strategy to spread your touchpoints across multiple channels and make it interesting. Here is an example:
Day 1: Email
Day 3: Call and leave VM
Day 4: Like their post on LinkedIn
Day 6: Call and don’t leave voicemail
Day 8: Send email to invite them to an event
- Talking More than Listening – you think you’re a fast talker and are excited (and sometimes nervous) to share value with prospects. But rambling on and interrupting is a good way to get kicked out of an account before you’re even in. IT professionals are busy, really busy. So when a prospect actually picks up the phone, simply ask to schedule a meeting when they have more time and follow up with helpful resources to stay on their radar. Do more listening than talking and tailor the discussion to meet their specific needs.
- The Time Limit – sometimes clients need a push to decide in a timely manner. However, turning up the pressure and rushing a deal, will only hurt your chances. Some clients are known to put a great deal of thought into every purchasing decision. Respect that and find ways to help the customer feel more comfortable and confident about the solution, like delivering a Total Cost of Ownership and Return on Investment report.
- Your Word is Everything – Failing to follow through, not delivering on a promise, dropping the ball, even once, is a surefire way to lose trust with a customer. Only make commitments that you are 100% certain you can keep. Your relationship with the customer is everything. Get to know them on a personal level, be an extension of their team and always follow through.
- Leaving the “Next Step” to the Customer – Whatever you do, don’t leave the “Next Step” to the customer. They are busy and they are not going to do your work for you. if you are ending a sales email or voicemail with “If you’re interested, feel free to contact me anytime”, don’t expect to get a response. Keep the ball in your court, communicate your next steps and do them. Keep the momentum going and show that you are going to be there to take action.
- Misrepresenting your relationship with others – Never compromise your integrity and reputation by misrepresenting your relationships with others. Always ask individuals before using their name to make a sale. Honesty builds long-term lasting relationships with customers and business partners. It also means that you respect others enough to tell them the truth. So instead of name dropping without permission, ask that individual first and be honest in your relationships.
If you are a motivated sales professional interested in joining an exciting and fast-growing company, we’d love to speak with you. Please contact me directly:
Matt Stapleton - VP of Sales
C: (508) 395-2460