Recently, there have been a lot of salespeople soliciting me.
Maybe, they think I could be a decision-maker for my company. For the most part, they are mistaken. Most of the approaches are the same — the email reads like it was sent to 1,000 emails, and they hope one sticks.
However, every once in a while, one really stands out. The ones that stand out are short and to the point of why I would want to reply to them. What’s in it for me catches my attention.
3 Out-of-Date Sales Tactics
When I look back on my 25 + year sales career as a salesperson, sales manager, station manager, and now consultant, I laugh at some of the things I used to do. So here's a list of three sales tactics that should be retired.
1. The Spray-and-Pray Approach
This is when you send out a mass email to all your contacts offering the same product at the same price. There is nothing custom about these emails with the exception of maybe the salutation. These emails are all about the product, not about the prospect.
Competition is greater now than ever before. I don't know one industry where there aren't people competing for sales. Keeping this in mind, the spray-and-pray approach isn't effective. Sure, you may get some bites. But those bites are likely to fall off the hook after a quick conversation, or they'll be a one-hit sales wonder and probably not renew business with you.
2. A Phone Blitz (a.k.a. Dial for Dollars)
This has similar characteristics to the spray-and-pray email tactic. However, it involves the hope that somebody will pick up the phone. And when someone does, you begin to throw up your sales pitch of the day.
With enough pressure, you may land yourself an appointment. However, when you go to confirm your appointment, chances are it will cancel. Or if you choose not to confirm your appointment and just show up and hope that it sticks, this is when the prospect politely tells you that he or she no longer has the time to see you.
3. The Fire Sale
Typically this deep discount, “For One Day Only!” type of sale happens once or twice a year. It may come with a significant price decrease, or it could come with a valuable prize for those that make a purchase in a given time period. A tactic like this devalues your inventory, products, or services.
If a prospect doesn’t value what you have to offer at your normal price, he or she isn’t going to make a good long-term client.
Replace Your Retired Sales Tactics
As I mentioned above, I believe these three tactics should not only be retired but also replaced with using a valid business reason as part of your approach.
A valid business reason is a tactic that not only has stood the test of time but has proven to show trust and value in the products and services that people buy from you. Rather than you trying to convince prospects why you want to do business with them, you are convincing them why they should want to do business with you.
A great valid business reason includes empathy, marketing expertise, and problem-solving. Illustrating all three of these in your prospecting efforts will greatly increase the chances of getting not only an appointment but a quality appointment.
In addition to a valid business reason, you also want to consider the value of the prospects that you're calling on. Are they worthy of your time? Do they have the potential to spend at a level that could make them one of your top accounts? If you factor in what your hourly rate equates to, does each prospect meet that standard?
While some sales tactics do work, these “3 to Retire” usually prove not to be a good use of your time. Your time is valuable, so use it wisely.
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2015 and has since been updated.