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Deal Breakers: Sales Reps, Stop Doing these 3 Things – NOW!

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deal breakers
deal breakers

Everyone is busy. You’re busy and your customers are busy. For buyers, it’s frustrating when sales people continue to waste their time! That can be a deal breaker. And your customers and prospects deserve better than that. Be cognizant of your time and your buyer’s time, and avoid these three deal-breaker selling techniques.

  1. Lacking relevant knowledge of your buyer

Nothing frustrates a buyer more than a seller who is not prepared for a meaningful conversation. Buyers expect that you are calling them to further understand and/or validate what they are trying to achieve — discussing their priorities, industry trends and how other firms solved similar problems. In other words, no one wants to be pitched blindly on how a product or service can help them without understanding the nuances of their business, risk tolerance, past successes/failures, etc. 

  1. Aggressively approaching buyers and being excessively persistent

If you were solving a buyer’s issues based on their priorities and timeline, then there would be no reason to be excessively persistent. However, if you’re selling based on your reasons — such as why the customer should buy your really cool solution, without caring about the buyer’s business outcomes and priorities — then you could see why a sales person may get a bit aggressive. If a seller or sales manager selects a close date – not based on the buyers’ needs but purely to close a hole in your pipeline — then this can also lead to assertive sales techniques where the sales person is being a bit more insistent than is necessary.

  1. Using overly scripted sales approaches

Marketing, sales operations or someone in your organization has put together PowerPoint slides talking all about YOU, allowing you to be lazy and just spout off scripted language with little to no input from the buyer. The scripted sales approach does not take into account the notion that you sell to actual people with real needs, experiences and priorities before you start “pitching” your solution. An overly scripted sales approach can be used ONLY IF you spend time doing proper and relevant discovery of your buyer and then use the meeting to validate the information gathered. Only then should you use the scripted sales approach while peppering in the details you have learned based on the proper confirmed discovery.

I know, I know:  it takes too much time to truly understand the buyer; you can’t get higher up in the organization to gain the required information; or it’s easier and less time consuming to just throw things at a “buyers’ wall” and hope something sticks. Really? Think about the times you were pushing the boulder uphill to get a deal signed on a date that you had in your pipeline versus the times when the customer was willing to buy. Then ask yourself:  was that a good use of my time? Probably not. Spend your time wisely with your buyers and it will reduce frustration for everyone involved.


Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter

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