Sales is the business of building relationships, building trust, and creating rapport – but unfortunately, many sales people are unwittingly doing the exact opposite and annoying clients with off-putting sales call tactics and poor professionalism.
Nothing drives away a client faster than a badly handled sales call. Is your sales team doing some of these things that clients hate most?
# 1. Overly aggressive sales tactics
It’s true that every sales person has an impatience for action and an eagerness to close the deal – but your clients should never have to feel like they are being “pushed” into making a decision. If your sales people are asking for the sale too quickly, asking about budget too soon, or failing to listen to the customer’s concerns (and focusing instead on pushing the customer into making a sale), then chances are you are alienating your clients and undermining your long-term relationships with them.
# 2. Refusing to take “no” for an answer
If your sales team is calling the same customers multiple times even if they say they’re not interested, this can be damaging to your chances of closing a sale. Customers don’t like to be bothered and they hate feeling like they’re talking to a brick wall. Even if a customer says “no,” there are still ways to use the call to get some valuable business intelligence and lay the groundwork for a possible future conversation a few months later.
“Not interested” responses don’t have to last forever – but if your sales people don’t listen to the customer and find ways to dig deeper into the customer’s challenges, you’re going to keep hearing “no” every time you call.
# 3. Poor preparation before the call
Customers hate it when they get calls from sales people who are “just checking in,” or cold calls from sales teams that have obviously not done their homework. Few things are more frustrating than receiving cold calls from poorly prepared sales people offering products that aren’t the right fit for our company’s needs. Make sure your sales team takes some time before each sales call to research the company, its industry, its products, and its competitors.
Plan a rough outline of the conversation that you want to have with each customer – it doesn’t have to be a formal script, necessarily, but you need to have a general idea of what you want to say. Plan for each call with a specific idea of how you can help that customer, and be prepared to adapt along the way depending on what the customers say in response.
# 4. Slow response times
When you do find a customer who is interested to hear more from your sales team, or who is ready to talk about the appointment setting stage of the conversation, it’s imperative to respond to the customer’s inquiry as quickly as possible. If you have qualified sales leads that are ready to tell you more about their challenges, your sales team should treat these customers like the most important people in the world.
# 5. Focused solely on making a sale
Customers hate to be treated like a number on a sales quota. Every time your sales team picks up the phone to call a customer, they need to have a reason for calling – not just, “I need to make sales,” but a specific reason why the call is important for the customer to receive. Sales people need to work in the best interest of their customers and demonstrate that they are genuinely concerned and interested in helping the customer’s business, not just making their numbers.
Sales calls can be a tough job, but you can make it easier by training your sales team with some preparation and perspective on what they need to accomplish. Sales calls should never anger or alienate your customers. You don’t need to close the deal on the first call. Instead, every sales call is a way to learn more from the customer (no matter if the customer is “interested” or not), help the customer, and open the door to a future conversation that could lead to a sale.
Just remember to keep building relationships and establishing trust. People will always take a phone call from someone they trust, and who is looking out for their best interests.