3 Surefire Ways To Not Make The Sale

This week I have been in contact with various types of salesmen, who have motivated me to write this article. Some of them were good, others were bad and there were even a couple of ugly ones. The good, the bad and the ugly all failed to sell me whatever product or service they had in store. Is it because I am difficult to sell to, is it because I myself am well aware of various sales techniques or is it because they all made the mistake of using at least one of the following 3 surefire ways that will guarantee they wouldn’t make the sale?

Avoid the following three mistakes if you don’t want to come off as a snake oil salesman type sleazy slimeball.

Pretend To Listen But Ignore What Has Been Said

The first salesman was actually pretty good. I am convinced he had visited one of the currently quite common cold calling seminars that are making rounds here in Europe. The reason is that he used a phrase that is being sold as a ‘magic phrase’ by one of the current gurus in the field. Well, he got straight to the point and made an appointment with me which meant that we saved time talking on the phone. It also meant that he had to travel an hour or so which I would normally think was a pretty awesome thing to do, because it shows that I mean something to him as a potential customer. The first thing he did when he arrived was that he told me he was a bit out of breath and did not have much time as he had made several other appointments that day. Fail.

During our conversations I informed him that I did not appreciate phone calls at all during work, unless they were from customers. The reason is simple. I have a workflow that is broken whenever somebody thinks they’re important enough to interrupt it with a phone call. Besides that, phone calls are a thing of the past. Especially now with everybody using snapchat and similar apps, even a text message is less disturbing. He acknowledged it, but not before criticizing my approach (another mistake as it is never wise to criticize a potential customer). We parted on friendly terms.

About 10 minutes later my phone rang. It was his colleague back at the office. Another 2–3 hours went by and I got yet another phone call from the same guy. Another day went by and I received yet another call from this guy. This time I simple shut it down, it literally annoyed me that much. The reason isn’t that I generally hate to be called or even that I have to interrupt my routine, the reason is that I explicity informed him that I preferred not to be called unless it were something truly urgent, but would rather prefer being texted or emailed. He pretended to listen but ignored what I had said. There is no more surefire way to not make a sale than disrespecting your customer and demonstrating that you a) do not listen and b) do not take what he says seriously. It will most definitely assure that you will not make the sale.

Consider that people are culturally programmed to hate sleazy salesmen. The above video is an example from Fallout 4.

Refuse To Work By Any Other Means Than The Phone

Increasingly people do not want to communicate verbally via phone calls. There are plenty of reasons. It can disturb the workflow, it is annoying, it costs money, it is often ‘uncalled for’. There is a reason why cold calling is banned in quite a lot of countries. Unless you have a seriously good offer that brings a lot of value to your potential customer I do not recommend making that annoying cold call. It is far better to either text or email a seriously good offer first and then to follow up via a call if you are not getting a response. This is just to make sure that people have seen your text or email and have understood what you are offering. If your offer is good enough you have every reason to call the person. If your offer is crap then you should not even bother to send the email or the text, let alone make the call.

Another example of how to fail by an over reliance on the phone was demonstrated to me recently. I made several surefire offers to various suppliers of ours. All they had to do in order to enjoy some free advertisement on our platforms was to make available 3 bottles of wine or another worthwhile gift for our target audience. Not everybody responded. One guy let me wait 2 weeks before getting back to me and apologizing for not having answered the email. He told me that he much preferred to do phone calls. The issue with this is that a) I am the client and I am making an irresistible offer to him and b) he waited for 2 weeks to give his answer which is disrespectful. All he had to do was to respond to me via Email saying “Yes” as well as to invest in 3 bottles of red wine. The total cost to him would have been less than 20$ as several of his relatives actually own a winery. In the meantime several of his competitors got the free advertising and he did not.

People hate telemarketers and annoying cold callers so much they love videos in which people torment them. The above video currently has more than 4 million views and growing. If you want a viral Youtube video of your own consider doing the same!

Start Off With The Right Hook

Far too many salespeople out there essentially start of with the right hook. Worse, some even take value before they try to sell you. This can occur in the form of taking up your time. Even a phone call can be incredibly disruptive to somebody working at a flow-level. It can annoy me so much that I will straight up not buy from whoever called me, even if his offer is so good that it should not technically be resisted. Then again, think about it, if an offer is so good that it cannot be resisted, why would somebody have to use cold calling to get in touch with you? Did you ever receive a cold call from Facebook, Nike, Starbucks, Google Ad Words or say Gucci? The answer is no. The reason is that these are all brands that deliver so much surface and below-surface level value that cold calling simply wont be necessary for them to make their sale.

Way too many salespeople out there, or ‘marketers’ as some of them nowadays call themselves (usually multi level marketing scammers) will start off with a straight right hook or by taking value (in the form of time) from you right off the bat. It is literally the most annoying thing, no matter whether it happens via phone or Facebook or email or any other format. Going for the right hook, i.e. asking for the transaction right off the bat is literally the greatest mistake you could make in sales. It literally oozes with a strong feeling of desperation. It is a surefire way not to make the sale or at least to make people hate you long term.

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