I hate annoying salespeople, and I don’t think I’m alone in that belief.

Perhaps my annoyance stems more from being a former salesman myself and knowing the shady tricks they are trying, gets on my nerves.

As someone with 10+ years of experience in sales, it’s frustrating to see people with terrible sales techniques, or worse, are trying to pull a fast one on me.

Two months ago I wrote about all the ways I grew as a salesman, but I feel like I didn’t cover what not to do. So, for all the inspiring people entering sales, or if you want to improve, here’s my take on what’s abrasive in the sales process.

Don’t steamroll a prospect

This should be fairly obvious, but you’re not going to convince everyone to buy your product or service if you push them too hard. There will come a time in your sales pitch when you realize that the person is simply not ready to buy, and you need to let them say no.

Step back, thank them for their time, and maybe follow up with them at a later date.

Sometimes a prospect isn’t in a place ready to buy yet, and you need to leave them with a positive experience if you want to get a sale in the future. On the other hand, I understand the trouble with letting someone walk away. You know if you let them walk out the door they may never come back and you’ve just lost money.

However, steamrolling a prospect or bullying them into saying “yes” is terrible and creates a negative impression and sours the whole deal. If you are going to have a long-lasting relationship with this person and their business, being pushy isn’t going to make them like you in the long run. And if they don’t trust you, they’ll look for the first chance to get out of doing business with you in the future.

Sometimes if you have to push so hard to get someone to buy, they are not the right fit for your business. Don’t try and fit a square peg into a round hole.

Don’t forget to listen

If you want to push away potential customers, be a condescending salesperson.

To build trust with a person in order to make them buy from you, you need to present yourself as an expert on fixing their problem, but don’t come across as conceited.

An easy way to avoid coming across as a know-it-all is to take the time and listen to the person you’re talking too.

If you act like you understand more than they do, and give off the vibe that they are stupid if they refuse to use your product, you’re going to push them away. Be humble and learn to listen.

A salesperson’s job is to communicate, specifically, communicating the value of the product they’re selling. You have to show someone you understand their pain, and offer them a solution to fix that pain. If you’re not listening to them, you’re not going to effectively communicate how you can help them.

Different customers have different issues that you need to focus on. You need to understand what they’re currently doing, their struggles, what they think is wrong, and then try to focus in on the real underlying issue.

You’re trying to offer them something that’s meaningful. To do that, you have to really care about them and what their business is struggling with. You can’t just view them as a sales number.

Don’t be cheesy

There is a bit of flare in sales, but you know how unnerving it is to speak to someone just a little too over-the-top.

I find this particularly funny when someone says to me “You’re going to love me, are you sitting down?” with an over the top grin that even Jim Carrey would find alarming.

I honestly wonder if some salespeople watch infomercials to get their inspiration for their approach. People can detect fakeness better than you realize, and nothing destroys trust better than coming across as fake.

Being natural isn’t always easy when you’re trying to be likable and charming. My two business partners do not view themselves as naturals at sales. They were introverts, but instead of putting on an overtly fake attitude they grew their skills and kept a low key approach.

Honestly the best way to approach sales is like a friend who wants to offer a solution to whatever problem the prospect has. You’re not the star, you’re merely the guide for them to make a change for the better.

Listening and straightforward communication is better than an overly friendly facade.

Don’t be apathetic

Empathy is a wonderful trait to have in sales. But often I see salespeople with apathetic attitudes.

Being apathetic means you “show or feel no interest, enthusiasm, or concern”, which damages your relationship with a prospect.

Perhaps this ability is the most challenging to develop, because without a good sense of empathy, you won’t be a good listener or salesperson.

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is not easy. Sometimes you can’t understand unless you struggled with the same problem they did. That certainly happened with our business.

Back when we opened BNG Point-of-Sale, we didn’t realize the pain service companies face when it comes time to be paid. If we had never been strapped for cash due to late paying customers we would not have developed ConnectBooster or helped MSPs with a similar pain point.

At the end of day, you need to remember every person you talk to isn’t just an untapped source of income. They have fears, anxieties, and problems running their business. If you develop your empathy and listen to their problems, then you’re going to be able to help them see how your product or service can help.

Now, maybe you’re in a position where the product or service really isn’t a helpful solution. If you want to be good at sales and keep your integrity you’ll need to sell something beneficial.

But if you are offering a solution to a pain point for a prospect, you’re responsible for growing your sales technique to make sure you’re not coming across as an annoying salesperson.

Final thoughts

There are dozens of other ways you can come across as annoying in sales, but the items I listed are the main ones.

At the end of the day sales isn’t about flare or amazing salesline (although they can help). To truly be successful in sales you need to work on your communication skills.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on sales. It’s a topic I’m incredibly passionate about, but if you think there’s another topic you want me to cover, let me know!

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