A common thread among any skills-building course is the fact that you’re always educated about what to do, which techniques to employ, etc. These build the foundation of what all newbies will do, founded on years of experience and trial-and-error that their seniors or instructors have gone through.

Out in the open field, however, things may not be as clear-cut. Things can go wrong (and they will), unexpected events may occur that can throw you off your groove, or you may even be led astray by ideas that seemed fine on print but are disastrous in reality. These can often happen when you only know what to do but not what to avoid doing.

You may ask yourself, “Why would I want to know what techniques don’t work if they won’t work?” The simple answer is this: If you know what not to do as much as you know what to do, not only can you avoid committing them, but can even detect when you’re starting to fall on that path. Awareness of what techniques shouldn’t be done helps you and your business prosper better, or it may even lead you to solve what’s wrong with these techniques!

When it comes to sales techniques that you and your sales team should avoid at all costs (unless you’re up for innovating them), here are the top four old methods that you need to watch out for:

  1. Selling the product benefits

In most customer service training courses, experts tell you to sell the advantages rather than the features. Avoid this! Discussing benefits from the get-go is jumping the gun when it comes to what most customers are expecting with how their first encounter with you and your company will go. Assumptions are dangerous for salespeople because this gives an often-unrealistic standard to jump over.

Instead, work out a buying vision with your customers. Work out a case as to why a prospect needs to chance because you’ll need this before the prospect can even begin appreciating the benefits they’ll get with your products. Start changing the status quo, then present your case on how your customers’ lives or conditions can change for the better.

  1. Competing on a feature-by-feature basis

This is akin to competing in a vendor bake-off, with your customers as the hapless judges. The “I’m better than him!” competition usually leads your potential customers to eventually not decide at all since, chances are, you and your competitor had made it seem like you are in a constant tug-of-war on which of you is the better choice.

Forget the why-you-should-choose-us and start focusing on why-you-should-change and why-now. Remember: this is about your customer — what they want and why their situation needs it. It’s more crucial (and more effective!) to let them see where they are, why they should change their status quo, and then demonstrate the real and unique value of your products’ or services’ solutions to their lives.

  1. Relying on standard sales pitches

Sales pitches are often the very brief rundown that most salespeople use to define their products, services, or company quickly. This becomes a show of the company’s story, not the customer’s story, when it should be the other way around if you want to succeed.

Remember that your prospects are the hero of the story, not your company. You may be the weapon, the tool, the one thing they will use to defeat their problems, but it is still their story. Instead of spending time finetuning your sales pitch to convince them about the power of your company, focus on building your customer’s own Arthurian legend where they are the king who has been guided by Merlin (you) to wield the Excalibur (your products or services) in their battle against Mordred (their problems).

  1. The use of PowerPoint presentations

Sales meetings are never complete without a slideshow projected on a flat vertical surface in a pitch-black room, with your prospective clients watching as you flash slides of logos, bullet points, and cute animations to sell the entire package. As a tool, using PowerPoint to deliver your message across is no problem, but the way it’s used matters a lot.

If you’re in a meeting with a small, intimate, executive-type conversation, it’s best to put the program to rest and switch to better visual techniques instead. Not only do they make a better impact and a longer-lasting impression, but they also help you connect more with your prospects and make them feel more included in the conversation instead of making it seem like they’re only there to be presented to. Focus more on telling an engaging story about your products with props and other means of putting the point across.


Business Coaches Sydney can help you develop sales skills with our Sales Management services. Contact us at 1300-833-574 to learn more.

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Garret Norris

Garret is the founder and CEO of Business Coaches Sydney and through his company, remains dedicated as ever to use his training and real life business experience to meet his passion to see business succeed through disciplined management, creative marketing and committed client service.