Basics of Sales 13: Annoying Prospects

annoying prospects

In the last few lessons we’ve covered some of the best ways to warm prospects to your sales proposition and also what is and isn’t a buying signal. Now I want to concentrate on things you may be doing to annoy prospects without even realising.

Being Too Familiar

No sales article is ever without that old chestnut that ‘people buy from people’ and in order to be more effective you should form strong personal relationships. Now I would agree with this, but sometimes sales people I speak to are a little TOO eager to be my best friend. A little small talk is harmless and expected but when people you’ve known for all of 2 minutes start giving you nicknames or asking about your kids it can quickly cross a professional line. Build that side of the conversation up.

No Follow Through

If someone has said to call them at 12:30pm, don’t call them at 1pm! If you’ve said you’ll send someone an email with your details don’t wait until tomorrow or the end of the day, send over the details now! I don’t care what else lands on your desk, or how you prefer to work, if someone has given you an opportunity then take it. If you can’t be bothered to follow on a possible sale, what care and attention will you give the actual service/customer?

Bad Record Keeping

Records that aren’t properly distributed between team members can often lead to the same person who isn’t interested being called two or more times. This instantly makes your company look unprofessional and dodgy. I suspect in a lot of B2C scenarios that this is actually done on purpose but this is such stuff that fines were made of!

Slag Off the Competition

Always tempting. Especially where a prospect actually asks you for an opinion. Slagging off your competition in no way makes your company look any better, and unless you have had a personal bad experience (that you can back up) it is better to avoid. On a similar theme if someone has had a bad experience with another provider, don’t take that as a sign to point the blame at the provider and say ‘we’re not like that’ instead find out why the prospect was upset and try and understand their expectations. It could be that they expected too much.

Just Keep Talking

The only words you want to hear out of a prospects mouth are “yes” and so at any attempt that the prospect does actually try and respond and tell you what they want, why not interject with some benefits? Just keep telling them about how good those features until they eventually give in!

I have a perfect example of this. I was looking to update my phone/broadband deal. My current provider had a new deal which added TV for more or less the same price. I asked my competitor for a rival quote but mentioned I’m not really interested in the TV. Unfortunately he couldn’t beat my current deal but if I paid more I could get a fancy HD TV box which could record 8 channels and….if the sales person had just listened he could focus more of his time telling me about superior uploads or something else and instead lost the sale. Sometimes your product/service just can’t compete, that isn’t a sign to sell anyway instead keep the prospect warm for the future with good customer service.

The Obvious

Last but not least the obvious things that will turn your customer off are calling/communicating far too often which will come off as desperate. Being too pushy which is a hard line to get right but will also turn people off, and of course those who act like a weasel shall be treated as such!

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