Ask anyone who doesn’t work in sales for their perception of salespeople and it’s more than likely to be a negative response: Pushy, irritating, persistent are commonly held connotations of our profession.
However, those traits are also key to being a successful salesperson. After all, 80% of successful sales calls require at least five follow-ups and it takes an average of eight calls to even reach a new prospect, according to insight from The Brevet Group.
There is a clear differentiation between adding value with quality interactions and blindly pursuing businesses that have already told you they’re not interested in your product or service. However, it isn’t always obvious that you’re stepping over the line of comfort. To help, we’ve put together a few pointers on when you may be coming across as pushy or irritating without realising it:
1. No new updates? Don’t call or email
While you may think this is a great way to keep your business top of mind and re-ignite your prospect’s interest, it’s more likely to establish you as that irritating spokesperson that won’t stop calling. Be careful of reaching out to prospects unless you have something meaningful or new to share with them – doing otherwise will only waste your time and theirs, and will fail to add value.
2. Keep it fresh – ask something new
If you’ve asked a prospect a question but not received the information you need, asking it again is not going to receive the desired result or reaction. From your prospect’s point of view, they have already answered the query so asking again is only going to irritate them. Try to get creative and phrase your question differently or approach it from a new angle.
3. Steer clear of product talk
No matter how great or game-changing you may think your product is, no prospect wants to be bombarded by overbearing product talk. It’s always beneficial to focus on the benefits of your product, the difference it will make for your prospect, the challenges it will solve for them as opposed to how great the product itself is. Not only is this a great way to get a conversation started, but it will also show that you’re interested in prospects’ business requirements and are committed to solving their problems.
4. Forget statements, think questions
It’s dangerous to think you know a prospect or your industry so well that you can assume what product, service or benefits they need. You may have worked with hundreds of similar businesses in the past and solved their challenges perfectly, but no two businesses are the same and you don’t necessarily know the specifics of their requirements.
So even if you think you have a good understanding of their pain points and how they need to solve them, beware of making presumptive statements and focus on asking questions to get to the root of their issue. This will show your prospect that you have good industry credentials while encouraging them that you’re interested in their specific perspective.
5. Encourage conversation
It can be wholly tempting for salespeople to excited about their product and overshare its values to prospects. But racing through a conversation creates the impression that you’re not interested in getting their point of view. Give prospects a chance to talk – in fact, the less time you spend speaking the more useful information you’re likely to accrue.
6. Beware of fighting objections too hard
Trying to rebuttal every prospect’s objection to your argument with a “But” can come across as argumentative and pushy. Responding to their objection with an acknowledgment of their viewpoint and understanding of their hesitation and asking questions that help clarify their position is much more conducive to a good sales conversation. Try to find a common goal in their objection and build on it to convince them that your product or service is the best solution to their problem.
7. Never force your offering on prospects
Getting a prospect to pick up the phone can be a mammoth task in itself. So, when it happens, it can be hugely tempting to drop as much information on them as possible. But you need to remember that prospect is likely to be extremely busy, so stay calm and tease them with the key advantages of your service, then look to schedule a longer follow-up.
Ensure you’re always telling a coherent story that hooks a prospect in without bombarding them with too much information at once. Also, be aware of trying to sell too much at once, such as trying to sell the benefits of all your products at the same time. This can come across as desperate and trying to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.
Enhancing your perspective
Avoiding the common pushy connotations related to spokespeople is reliant on thinking about your sales conversations from your prospects’ point of view. Focus on creating rich conversations, encouraging them to share their challenges and make sure you listen to them. Furthermore, simply mixing up your sales approach will lessen the chances of you coming across in a negative light and improve your chances of closing deals.