4 Outdated Tactics That Sabotage Your Sales

It seems counterintuitive, but you'll close more deals if you stop pitching. Ask questions, listen and get to know what your prospective client really needs.

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By Marc Wayshak

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Most salespeople think they're using a modern selling approach, fit for today's fast-paced, information-saturated market. In reality, most sales tactics in use today were invented more than a century ago -- and they haven't changed a bit.

It's no surprise that so many salespeople struggle to dominate the competition in sales: They're using outdated techniques that sabotage them every time they sell.

If you want to make sure you're not one of those salespeople, banish these four old-school tactics -- forever.

1. Trying to persuade prospects.

Persuasion: Some call it an art. But in sales, it's just an overused selling habit that no longer works. Nothing turns prospects off more quickly than realizing you're actively persuading them to buy something they're not even sure they need.

The biggest problem? Not all prospects you meet are qualified to be your customers. Expending the effort to persuade every single prospect who comes your way wastes time and resources.

Focus instead on disqualifying prospects who aren't a good fit for your product or service. Ask questions about budget scope, their decision-making process, and their biggest challenges. The result? You'll gain tons of information about your prospects so you can decide whether your offer can help them achieve their goals.

Related: 3 Conversations Starters to Convert Prospects into Customers

2. Leading with a product pitch.

Your prospects today can go online to learn everything they want to know about your product or service. They don't need to hear it all again from you. And they certainly don't want to hear your pitch right after meeting you. When you lead a sales meeting with a product pitch, you're using a predictable, unimpressive sales approach.

The best salespeople don't even mention the features, bells, and whistles of their product until the very end of the sales meeting -- or until the prospect explicitly asks for that information. Getting to truly understand your prospect's needs is far more important (and effective) than pitching your product. You'll close more sales if you never lead with a pitch again.

3. Talking instead of listening.

For decades, salespeople everywhere have been associated with fast-talking conversationalists. While it's great to be able to carry on a good conversation with prospects, talking should never be your main action in a selling situation. Listening should.

When you spend more time listening, you gain a deeper understanding of your prospects. At the same time, you build strong, trusting connections. People want to feel they've truly been heard.

It might feel uncomfortable at first to let silence rule. Still, try talking less in every selling situation -- even if your prospect isn't too chatty. Ask insightful questions about your prospect's company, goals, difficulties, and goals. Don't jump in or interrupt with relevant information about your product or service. Just listen.

Related: We All Are Salespeople. Use These 3 Techniques to Become a Better One.

4. Turning on the fake enthusiasm.

Are you aware of how dramatically your voice, demeanor and personality change when you're in a selling situation? Chances are, you become vastly more enthusiastic, cheerful and loud when you're selling. That's because most salespeople are taught to turn on the fake enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, that does grave damage to your chances of closing a sale. It puts your prospects on the defensive. And it does nothing to help you discover your true sales personality and achieve your ultimate success.

Instead, talk to your potential client as you would talk to a friend or family member. You'll notice that your prospects will act more at ease, and they'll be more likely to buy from you if they sense you're being genuine.

Related: 20 Genuine Gestures That Will Boost Your Business and Cost You Nothing

Marc Wayshak

Sales Strategist and Author

Marc Wayshak is the author of Game Plan Selling . As a sales strategist, he has created a system aimed at revolutionizing the way companies approach selling.

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