Sales are integral to the success of your business – and without any sales you simply wouldn’t be in business. But, over the years, (mainly thanks to high pressure sales tactics) sales has gained a bad rap.
Let’s take a look at high pressure sales tactics, explore the reasons they don’t work and look at alternatives that will help you close the deal, without being salesy, annoying or aggressive.
What Are High Pressure Sales Tactics?
There are a few things that make a salesperson’s job more difficult. One of these is when the customer simply doesn’t want to buy what they are selling. When this happens, the salesperson may resort to high pressure tactics in an effort to get the customer to change their mind.
High pressure tactics can take many forms, but they all have one common goal: getting the customer to agree to buy something. Some examples of high pressure tactics include:
- Pushing prospects to buy blindly
- Manipulative talk
- Making outrageous claims
- Making unrealistic promises
- Creating false urgency through bogus limited time offers
- Making the prospect feel like the ‘owe’ the salesperson something
Who Uses High Pressure Sales Tactics?
Some unethical investment brokers managed to turn using high pressure sales tactics into a dark art form. This included using unscrupulous tactics to sell securities and other dubious investments. How? By omitting material facts, making unreasonable promises, inflating past performance and lying to clients.
But unscrupulous brokers are not the only ones to employ these tactics, salespeople who have imposing targets and rely heavily on commission have also been known to turn up the pressure. They are persistent, aggressive and employ psychological pressure to make a fast sale.
If this happens to you, you are for sure dealing with the wrong person and our advice would simply be to walk away.
Why You Shouldn’t Resort to High Pressure Sales Tactics
There’s a line between being persistent and being a bully. And if you cross that line, you’re perceived as desperate, unscrupulous and unethical – and guess what? No one wants to do business with someone like that.
What Is It You Want?
The smart money is on a win-win situation. That’s the goal of any business negotiation.
And this is especially true if you’re interested in forging strong relationships with your clients. Rather than making a quick sale, you’re after a more sustainable long-term relationship. Again, it’s playing the long game and considering the lifetime value rather of the client than simply making a little profit off one sale.
How do we do this?
We’re interested in building long term relationships – ones that are mutually beneficial.
You should take the time to focus on your client’s needs and pain points and whether your product or service can solve these issues.
Reputation Is Everything
In business and in life, your reputation is everything. And reputations are built on trust.
I’ve worked with a number of business owners where I’ve seen this put into practice.
One business owner in particular comes to mind.
Mr. Mackay runs a small computer repair and software store and has done so for a number of years. He is an absolute pro at creating a consistent customer experience
I’ve seen how a number of times clients would arrive and ask for a certain product for their business and it would turn out that somewhere along the line they had made incorrect assumptions about a feature or something else.
Mr. Mackay would listen attentively and nod in agreement and hear the client out. He’d then offer his opinion and may say something along the lines of: “This is a great product and this feature is certainly nice to have, but have you considered Product B? It also offers X, Y and Z, but it comes in at 20% less and there’s the option to upgrade at a later date, if you feel you’d like to.
Mr. Mackay knows his clients and he knows their business. He is also exceptionally knowledgeable. We know, like and trust Mr. Mackay – and I’m not the only one.
His little shop is in an inconvenient part of town, parking is a nightmare and no attempt has been made to upgrade the decor from the early 90s. But we go there because of Mr. Mackay. Clients remain loyal and drive for miles because of his expertise and honesty.
He may have missed out on a little more profit on a sale, but he has a client for life.
What to Do Instead of Resorting to High Pressure Sales Tactics?
Sales Is a Skillset You Can Learn
Sales is a skillset you can learn and teach. It requires a lot of practice, flexibility, and a mindset that’s open to growth. If you’re serious about learning sales, Sales Coach Natasha Hemmingway teaches how to sell with heart not hustle.
Authenticity is the key to understanding how to be good at sales. It’s knowing that your delivery needs to be different every single time – your delivery depends entirely on who you are selling to. The language you use needs to be natural. The words need to be the same ones that you usually use – else it comes across stilted and fake – which is why we hate sales scripts.
Having a cheat sheet with a list of things to remember is okay, to use as a guide, although ideally you need to know your product or service so well that you don’t need it.
It’s about switching your focus from a “what can I sell to you” mind set to that of “how can I help you?” Find out what your customer needs and have a solution to their problem. Most importantly – LISTEN to them.
If you think about it, we are selling all the time – we sell to our partners when we persuade them as to which take out we want to get on a Friday night, we sell ideas to our co-workers and supervisors, and like with everything, you will improve with practice.
Do Your Homework
It is so important to do your homework before reaching out to a potential client. Thoroughly research the person or company you want to sell to, this will allow you to craft a pitch that is tailored to their exact needs and propose solutions to the problems they face, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach.
Prospects actually do appreciate a salesperson that has taken the time to do their homework regarding themselves or their company. It shows interest and commitment.
Know Your Product
As well as knowing your prospect and the challenges they face, it goes without saying that you need to know your product or service inside out. Study it. Understand all the features and benefits. The different options available. How they differ from each other, how these would benefit the prospect.
Because sales is a conversation. And so, if your prospect is interested, they may ask you questions. You absolutely want to be in the position where you are able to answer their questions fully, and not have to resort to the “I’ll get back to you on that”. Because you could be leaving money on the table by not being able to close then and there.
Understand You Shouldn’t Always Close Then and There
You’re so close. But then your prospect tells you that they need to take some time to think it over.
Forcing or coercing someone into buying your product or service is exactly the kind of bullying high pressure sales tactics that we want to avoid. It is sleazy and underhanded and can cause resentment that damages your brand and your credibility.
Have I just lost you the sale? Of course not. Would I do that to you?
Reassure them that thinking things through is indeed a wise approach and that you sincerely want to provide them with the best solution for their needs. Tell them that you’d like to follow up with them in a couple of days.
Then, be true to your word. The follow up is king.
People are often busy and distracted and they appreciate that you’ve taken the time to follow up.
Ask them if they have any questions, or whether they’re hung up on anything. Remind them of their pain points and how you can alleviate it.
Then ask them for the deal
Are There Any Benefits to Using High Pressure Sales Tactics?
We’ve weighed up the pros and cons and if we had to give you a definitive answer, our answer would be No.
High pressure sales tactics are aggressive and more often than not, make a prospect feel threatened. And forcing a person or organization into making a quick decision when thy haven’t been given time to digest the information you’ve provided is a spectacularly bad idea. Buyers remorse leads to angry, unhappy customers and no real chance of a long-term relationship.
Bottom line? High pressure sales tactics will not pay off in the long run.
So what will?
Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself and your business will yield better results by far. And this could include outsourcing your administrative tasks to a professional VA who will see to it that things get done properly – the first time. In doing so, this will free up your time so you can get out there and close those deals.
Book a Discovery Call with us today – and find out how we can make your life a whole lot easier.