What’s been written about sales tactics could stretch from here to the moon and back. There are seminars, webinars, and even one-on-one coaches who promise to give you the low-down on surefire tips to close a deal. What’s wrong with the accepted truths about sales? Many of them are wrong! When you look at evidence, we discover that sometimes these techniques can backfire and actually hurt your chances for making the sale. Here are some tips to watch out for:
- Make eye contact. The goal of this tactic is to create a connection between you and your prospective client. While you do want to connect, too much eye contact is frequently interpreted as aggression and can actually make a client uncomfortable and less likely to buy what you’re selling. Intermittent eye contact is much more comfortable and still helps you create a connection.
- Quote a range of prices. Say you’re working to land a new client for your cleaning service. You tell the client it’ll cost between $100 and $200 monthly for your services. You think that by giving a range you can settle in the middle and satisfy both parties, but here’s the trouble: your client hears $100, and you’re hoping for $200. If you settle at $150, then your client feels ripped off, and you’re disappointed. A much better strategy is to quote a specific price, preferably one with wiggle room. If you quote $170, knowing you’re willing to negotiate downward, then when you settle at $150, your client feels like he got a bargain, and you’re precisely where you wanted to be. A specific price with room for expected negotiation is more likely to give you a win-win outcome.
- Assume the sale. In the old days, we were taught to make your pitch assuming success. The trouble is that consumers are wise to this not-so-subtle attempt at manipulation, and engaging in it can make you seem a little sleazy. Telegraphing your attempts to toy with clients’ emotions is a fail, in part because it makes customers feel like you think they’re suckers – easily manipulated and not very smart. Respect your customers enough to let them make their own decisions.
- Give them no way out. High pressure sales can work, at least in the short term, but it’s not a recipe for long term success. Consider this: there’s an entire legal niche for attorneys who specialize in handling cases for clients who have buyers remorse after being pressured into purchasing a time share. The tactic of shutting a client in a room and holding them there until they sign has major negative ramifications. If your customers feel like they’re in control, they’re going to walk away thrilled to have given you their business, rather than walking away feeling like they’ve been ripped off.
The best sales people are psychologists, in a way. They understand what consumers want, and they find a way to deliver it. Assuming the goal isn’t just a one-time sale, building business deals that treat your clients like partners will result in consumer loyalty and future sales, as well as referrals based on great experiences. Don’t let tired truisms guide your sales pitches. Take the time to use tactics that are proven effective.