The days of using assumptive selling as a strategy for closing sales are long over. If you’re using any of these techniques with customers you’re cold calling — stop now.
In the old days of door-to-door sales and locally limited consumer options, customers had few options when it came to finding the service and product solutions they needed. Salesmen could and often were a bit pushy.
In 2016, that’s all a world away. Customers have nearly unlimited options when it comes to buying most anything. The power has shifted away from the sales professional and into the hands of the customer. Likewise, it makes little sense to use outdated sales techniques that won’t help your business and may even hurt it. Here are the five worst offending sales pitch approaches.
1. The Assumptive Pitch
One of the most popular old sales pitches was the assumptive pitch. A salesman made his elevator pitch and then in the same breath asked, “So will that be cash or check?” Or some other such question that would normally come after a prospect has agreed to become a customer.
The idea was to shift your prospect into a purchasing mindset, reframing the sales call as about the finer details of the transaction, rather than the customer’s needs and what a suitable solution would entail.
Making assumptions can distance your prospect from you, damaging trust and rapport. This is one of the worst outdated sales pitches you should drop from your toolbox.
2. The Alternative Pitch
Springboarding off the assumptive pitch, the alternative close puts two options to prospects in a sort of false dilemma. An old door-to-door salesman employing this tactic might ask the lady of the house if she wants the green vacuum cleaner or the red one.
Clearly, there are other options for such a customer. She could choose not to buy any vacuum, she could buy a silver vacuum from the department store, or she could hire a maid.
However, the alternative close forces prospective customers into a situation where they have to not only deal with their original sales need, they now have to deal with the question of whether they can trust someone who tries such pushy salesman tactics.
3. The Cradle to Grave Pitch
With the cradle-to-grave pitch, salespeople brush away legitimate sales objections from prospects who say they aren’t ready to buy. “There’s never a perfect time to buy, therefore, you should buy now,” they’ll say.
Obviously, there are potentially bad times to buy for most prospects and most types of purchases. A winning sales professional wants to help people who are ready to buy, and for those who aren’t there yet but could be soon, lead nurturing will work. On the other hand, dismissing your prospect’s timing concerns is only likely to turn a “not now” objection into “not ever.”
4. The Something for Nothing Pitch
Everyone loves a good deal, but what if that limited time offer, new customer freebie, or special discount you throw out isn’t such a good deal? Are a few extra sales worth the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build?
You’ve worked to build your business not on how cheap or fly-by-night your products and services are, but by how much value they bring to your past customers, how skilled you are at meeting a customer’s needs with a custom-fit solution.
Something for nothing offers assume that you can strongarm your way into a sale by artificially limiting availability of a price or offer. Brands that pursue this strategy may be regarded less favorably by customers. That’s likely not the result you were looking for.
5. The Right Angle Pitch (AKA Sharp Angle Pitch)
Right angle pitches are meant to throw the prospect for a loop, hoping and assuming they’ll agree to an impulse buy even when they’re not quite ready.
Some impulse buys, like a magazine or candy bar at the checkout lane, may not be too bad an investment. But insurance, mortgage refis, solar energy systems, school loan refis — these purchases are not impulse buys.
Today’s salespeople want to feel like they’ve helped a customer achieve a win–win solution, not that they’ve taken advantage of them. Customers who are still in the sales objection stage are not ready to buy. They need more assurances the product will meet their needs and that the benefits will be worth the cost. If they trust you, they may be willing to take you at your word, but the fact that they’re still asking questions means they’re not there yet.
Don’t Assume the Sale, Earn It
The common thread of all these outdated sales pitches is that they push too hard for a closed sale on prospects who aren’t ready to buy. We all know it’s very hard to force people to do things they don’t want to do, including buying when they’re not ready. So don’t try to. Earn your prospect’s trust, answer their objections, nurture them along your sales funnel, and then, when the time is right, ask for the sale. Drop these old sales strategies that assume the sale and set your sights on earning the sale.
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