When Sales Tactics Become Trite and Ineffective

I got a phone call recently from someone who runs a software business. We connected on Linked in, and she suggested a phone call right away to discuss mutual business connections.

It seemed a little premature but I thought, what the hell, I’m always happy to talk business.

The first 10 minutes were as advertised – we talked about our respective businesses, clients we work with, and potential collaborations.

Then came the magic question. “What are your goals for this year?”

Oh boy. Here we go. As a sales coach I know exactly where this is headed: sales presentation. I had a half a mind to dismiss her, but I just let it play out. Turns out her software is interesting and useful. I think it has a lot of potential.

But she continued asking the same old trite questions. Like: “if you achieved your income goals, what would that mean?”

(Like umm… It would mean more money. More money is good. Duh.)

The first impression was in. My trust for her was damaged because I hadn’t agreed to a sales pitch. I agreed to the call to discuss business partnerships and collaborations.

At most this first touch, if she was smart, should have been about qualification. She should be qualifying me as a potential buyer, seeing if I am even a good fit, before wasting her time and my time on the meat of the pitch.

And on top of that, she was unable to show me a demo of the software. No video, no photos or graphics, just her verbal promise over the phone that everything she was saying was true. Again, a trust problem.

We spoke for an hour. No transaction was made. Even after multiple attempts on her part to close.

The combination of (a) being blindsided by a pitch and close attempt, (b) no deck or visual for me to actually see her product before buying, and (c) most importantly, the lack of trust and rapport, meant that a deal wasn’t going to happen.

Because of poor sales strategy, she lost an hour of her time with an unqualified prospect.

The lesson? Don’t rush into a pitch. It will do more harm than good. At the very least, qualify your prospects before jumping the gun.

And above all, focus on building trust, reputation and authority with your audience.

Without that, you are going to have a very difficult time convincing them to buy.

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