“Be aggressive!” “Be patient!” “Don’t be pushy!” “Lead your client!”
This is just a smattering of the sales advice many professionals have heard at least a hundred times. You know you need to strike the right balance of give and take to be successful, but finding that balance is easier said than done.
When we think of terrible sales tactics, one image always springs to mind: the stereotypical, slimy, used car salesperson—the one who can sell you a lemon and still convince you to buy extra peel. As much as we hate to associate ourselves with anything resembling that stereotype, the truth is that many of us inadvertently use tactics customers hate just as much.
Even outside car lots, you can often tell when a salesperson is just trying to earn a commission, not to help their client improve some important result. This common sales problem often motivates high-pressure sales, and it happens so often that customers even have a term for it: commission breath.
Let’s take a look at some of those poor sales tactics that make potential customers shy away once they smell a hint of high pressure on your (figurative) breath. The result? You will be able to fix the low-value verbiage and habits you (or your sales team) are using, once and for all.
High-Pressure Sales Tactics vs. Seamlessly Closing Deals
One common misconception is that not being aggressive in your sales practices will make your sales staff meek and ineffective. On the contrary, pursuing certain high-pressure sales tactics can actually make your staff appear less confident in their work, making them less likely to close the sale than if they pursued more measured, patient practices. Being prepared, professional, and amiable will get you miles farther than following any of the tactics I’ll discuss below.
I’ve been in the sales training game for a long time now, and I’ve seen the best and worst tactics in the industry. My Sales Accelerator can help you purge the bad tactics from your sales team’s repertoire. Still, the first step to solving a problem is awareness, so let’s take a look at the high-pressure, aggressive tactics you and your team might be using that are hurting more than they’re helping.
1. Sprinting to the Finish Line
Dangers of rushing the sales process
When it comes to the speed of the sales conversation, follow this simple rule: never go faster than your prospective client. When you rush through a conversation and towards closing, you project your desire to get ink on paper regardless of your client’s outcomes. Going faster than your client is a high-pressure sales tactic that will make them believe you have no interest in them or the results they need.
Related Read: How Long Does It Take To Win?
Rushing the referral is also a problem
When you ask for a referral before you have delivered results, you are practicing an age-old, transactional approach. That legacy approach to a referral makes the other person feel as if you are using them, since you haven’t delivered any value yet. You make it easy to distrust you by asking your client to sing your praises to their network before they can even hum the tune.
The best thing you can do to secure a referral is to ask your new client if you can ask them for a referral later, after you deliver the value you promised them when they signed your contract.
2. Being a Steamroller
Being a poor listener
One of the worst things you can do is not listen to your prospective client while they are speaking. At one time, it was thought that the best salespeople were the ones with the gift of gab. But when a salesperson dominates the conversation, they rarely learn what their client wants or needs—and the client will know it.
Talking over your prospect:
When you’re not sure whose “turn” it is to talk, defer to your client. Dale Carnegie suggested that the best way to get people to be interested in you is to be interested in them. I have long practiced pausing for eight full seconds after a client has stopped speaking, to make certain they have finished their thought. Much of the time, your client is just pausing before sharing something even more important.
Data shows a good balance is spending 43% of your time talking and 57% listening to your prospect.
3. Overdoing the Sale
Focusing too much on features instead of benefits
Theodore Levitt, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, once said, “People don’t buy drills. They buy quarter-inch holes.”
There is little chance that your prospective client wants to hear a salesperson drone on about their product's features and benefits, let alone sit through an hour-long demo of your SAAS offering. No matter what your product team tells you about the product “selling itself,” your prospective client wants to understand how it will improve their results.
Continuing to “sell” after a prospect is ready to buy is an unnecessary high-pressure sales tactic that can ruin the sale. There is nothing sadder than a salesperson who has won their client’s business without recognizing it. The more you talk after the client has made their decision, the more likely they are to change their mind.
How To Avoid Aggressive, High-Pressure Sales Tactics
A great sales call is more than just a sale: it’s a conversation. When you use tactics like rushing to a sale, talking over your customer, and overselling, it’s difficult for your prospect to connect with your sales team. And, as I’m sure we all know, no connection, no sale.
Understanding the difference between being confident and being aggressive is a great start when it comes to avoiding these tactics, but to really solve your sales woes, you’ll need to pursue regular sales training.
Good selling is found in a modern approach, one that is valuable to your prospective clients, and powerful and effective language choices that move deals forward. In Sales Accelerator, you will find modern strategies and hundreds of talk tracks that will speed your revenue growth.