Even though I am not in charge of any buying services at The Center for Sales Strategy, because my name is on our company website I'm still often solicited by salespeople. Some salespeople also follow up with me after I researched or downloaded content from a website. In most cases, I overlook the solicitation, because what's in it for me? I'm not a decision-maker. But every once in a while, a salesperson's tactic catches my eye.
Recently a salesperson, who had not received a response from me after multiple attempts, sent me an email with a multiple-choice option. The last choice included telling him I was not interested. I found this somewhat clever and entertaining. One of my coworkers responded to my sharing of this salesperson’s email with "some sales tactics never grow old." That got me thinking. While some sales tactics never grow old, are there some tactics that should be retired?
When I look back on my 20-year sales career as a salesperson, sales 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:
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.
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.
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 picks 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 to not 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.
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 client.
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 on why they should do business with you.
A great valid business reason includes empathy, marketing expertise, and problem-solving capabilities. 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? If you factor what your hourly rate equates to, does each prospect meet that standard?
While some sales tactics do work, these “3 to Retire” are sure to prove to be a waste of time in the long run. Your time is valuable, so use it wisely.