Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Seven sales tactics you should NEVER use again.

Selling has changed a LOT in the last decade. And it promises to change even more in the one ahead. Check out these seven old-school sales and marketing tactics it’s time to give up on, along with more cutting-edge things you should do instead.

1. Pitching wide.

Are you marketing to everyone, but selling to no one? It’s a common issue that frustrates countless salespeople. Many marketers try to maximize their budgets by reaching as many prospective customers as possible. The truth is that they make a very small impact on the people they reach.

Instead, replace broad marketing tactics with highly targeted ones. Start by defining your best sales prospects — people who are likely to convert and are most profitable for your business. Then figure out what media they’re most likely to interact with (for example, social, websites, email). Hit them with as many targeted messages as possible during a limited period of time prior to your sales reps reaching out to them. A good benchmark is 13 impressions in a two week period.

The high-impact marketing blitz makes the kind of impression that will get people to take calls from your reps. It gives prospects a good sense of what your firm does and how your products and services could benefit them. It also makes your business seem like a prominent player in your industry.

2. In-person first meetings

You only get one chance to make a first impression. It doesn’t make sense to waste it on a meeting you’re not fully prepared for.

Instead, make it a policy to schedule scoping calls or video conferences before meeting in person. It will get you the information you need to prepare meaningful presentations for your first live encounters. Your prospective clients will feel that their time with you was well-spent and will want to get together again.

3. Puffery

Back before information about everything was available virtually anywhere, anytime, sales reps were able to get away with hyperbole and excessive promotion. Some still try.

The issue: It’s too easy for people to check up on claims and find out whether they’re true or false. People won’t do business with reps that aren’t completely honest and transparent. 

Instead, work with your sales and marketing teams to come up with messages that are supportable and can be used throughout the sales and marketing process. It will ensure that what everyone is saying is consistent and can be supported through online research.

4. Old-school demos

People have unlimited entertainment options available to them every minute of every day. They don’t have the patience to tolerate sitting through dull product or service demos.

Instead, come up with unique ways to bring your offerings to life. Leverage video — or even better — virtual reality to help prospective clients envision how your products and services will make their lives better. It’s a great way to stand apart from the competition and close more deals.

5. Talk “at”

Prospects have more power than ever in the buying process. They come into it armed with research and information about what you and your competitors are selling. They won’t tolerate being talked at, or even worse, down to.

Instead, engage buyers in open dialogues. It gives them opportunities to fill-in their knowledge gaps about your offerings, providing you with chances to explain how they differ from others available in the market.

6. Selling too hard

If your product or service isn’t right for a buyer, you can’t make it right, no matter how hard you sell. Today, it’s all about solving customer problems, not just closing deals.

Instead, take time to figure out what prospective clients are looking for early in the sales cycle and whether you have anything meaningful to sell them. If not, move on to the next prospect.

7. Forgetting current clients

Salespeople love to go fishing for the next big customer. However, they forget that even bigger opportunities could be sitting in their own current client list.

Work with your sales team to compare the return on investment of selling to new clients versus reselling to current ones. It’s a great way to figure out how to prioritize your sales efforts. You’ll likely find that over time you’ll be able to generate more revenue with fewer people and less effort when you find the ideal balance.

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