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5 Most Hated Selling Strategies

Updated on June 25, 2012
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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. Second, I'm an educator & organizational development professional.

Let’s get real, not everyone wants someone doing a sales pitch at them. What’s even worse is getting sold something when you simply want to spend some quiet time alone or with your family. Chances are when you are approached by a sales person who is relentless with his sales pitch; you’ll most likely not buy from that person.

So for all those “sales professionals’ out there – take note of the quotation marks, here are the five least appreciated selling strategies being use today.

1. Ambush sales strategies

Ok, so you’re walking on the street or in a mall and then suddenly a stranger comes up to you with a big smile on his face. Suspicious – you bet! Before you can even react to the pearly whites in front of you a stack of marketing collaterals are shoved up your face. As you try to politely say thank you (with the hope of moving on), the guy starts blurting our spiels and sales pitches. Nod if this has happened to you.

Don’t get me wrong, flyers are great way to advertise a product or service. Here’s the problem with sales people using this technique: they try to close the sale with a flyer. When you dish out flyers you simply give headlines and not the entire sales manual of the company. Just to reiterate, you won’t close a sale this way!

Stick to the basic information as you distribute the flyers. All they need to know are important information – the company’s name, product or services, your name. You may want to inject some call to action in the end by asking to visit your site or give you a call.

2. Unannounced sales visits

It’s surprising how many people try to evade sales people visiting their homes or offices. It’s sort of a cat and mouse dance where you try to dodge any appointments while the sales person try to corner you in your home or office. What’s even irritating is when “sales professionals” – there’s the quotation marks again drop by unannounced or without any appointment.

The I-was-in-the-area-and-thought-of dropping-by-to-see-how-you’re-doing spiel is not really appreciated. Call in advance so you can schedule an appointment properly. If you’re aiming for thoughtfulness with this strategy then you’re a mile off! Always assume that clients have a busy schedule even if they simply spend their time updating their profiles and statuses on the net. An appointment shows you value their time and that you are professional – minus the quotation marks.

3. Junk mail and spam

This is a very controversial issue as everyone hates it but still gets it. Spam for the old timers may simply mean dinner in a can. But for the internet-dependent Homo sapiens out there, it’s a waste of email space. Advertising, promos, affiliate marketing offers and other e-mails that you are not interested in just keeps on piling up.

As a sales professional, you should be wary of the materials that you email to your clients. Is the information relevant to them? Will they be interested or simply delete them without opening the email? Are the emails seen as junk or not? Be kind enough to send sensible mail to your clients.

So before you click send consider how your client will see you if you send a list of 10 hottest chicks in America with a discounted subscription of OH Mama Magazine (not a real magazine just in case you’re wondering).

4. You Win Strategy

I recently got a text message that I was a home partner and won a car or the equivalent in cash. Of course that made my heart skip a beat or two. Suffice to say, it’s not really what I expected it to be. It’s just another sales campaign to lure me into buying something.

Let’s face it anyone will turn their heads if they think they won something. Come on, it’s a new car, everybody wants a new car. The strategy worked if it merely wanted to get my attention. But did it earn my trust? Not by a long shot! What’s frustrating is that this strategy is used by many.

A sales strategy that works is one with trust as a foundation for the relationship. Yes, the sales-client interaction is a relationship that requires continues nurturing. Just imagine starting your relationship with a lie. It’s just nasty!

Here’s my message to the unsuspecting client: if you did not join any game, you won’t win anything. For those sales people who use this technique: shame on you.

5. Broken promises and heart aches

OK, this is not some high school promise of love with a heart broken for an ending. But it really comes close though. It is just overwhelming what people will offer and promise you just to get a meeting or a closed sale. Whether it’s a freebie or just a call or e-mail, clients expects that you deliver on your promise. Unfortunately there are those who intentionally mislead people.

Here’s the distilled version: If you can’t deliver your promises, don’t promise at all! Perhaps that sums it up. But it’s still perplexing why many go out of their way to lie and to put false hopes. Are they that desperate to get a sale? For some, the answer is yes. For others they jus don’t know any better.

All these 5 I know intimately. For one, I have the first hand experience of these dismal strategies. But more importantly I train sales people not to fall for these misguided techniques.

In retrospect, selling is about building a relationship with a client. Trust is important as well as professionalism. The ultimate question is how much are you willing put on the line to get a sale? People don’t really like being sold to. Rather, they want someone who can guide them in making a decision. Turning away from these 5 most hated sales strategies will definitely turn sales individuals into respectable professionals.

So which customer service and selling fails have you experienced lately?

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