Because of politics, the pandemic, and economic crisis, people today are feeling more sensitive than usual. That’s why it’s critical for salespeople to be extra thoughtful when having conversations with customers.
Here are some things reps should never say to buyers during these changing and challenging times. (It might be smart to avoid saying them even after things settle down.)
- Are you the decision-maker? In today’s complex business world, it can come across as condescending — or even insulting – to ask this question. It’s especially awkward if you ask someone who isn’t the decision-maker, while the actual one is in the room, or on the same zoom call. Today, the decision-maker could be the most unexpected person in the meeting.
- But wait, there’s more! Buyers are more sophisticated than ever. You should avoid saying things that seem hackneyed. Statements like this sound like they belong in a non-stick pan television ad rather than as part of a sales pitch for a sophisticated company.
- Buy now and save. Not only does this statement come across as corny, but it can also damage trust. Why would you place a limit on when your best price is available? This is especially true during challenging times like these. People may need extra time to work through their budgets — or to negotiate extra layers of approval — to find the cash to make a purchase.
- I’m voting for… Politics is something that should never be discussed in sales meetings. Ever.
- Can I send you more information? Who would ever volunteer to receive additional information? No one has extra time these days to read whatever you’ll send them. And why didn’t you cover everything necessary to close a deal during the sales pitch? Sure, it’s important to follow up after sales meetings. Just do it. Don’t ask permission.
- Can I tell you about it? Don’t ask. Just tell. Asking permission only makes you seem less confident.
- Could you direct me to the right person to contact? It’s easy to conduct research online about the companies you want to do business with. Most organizations have contact information on their websites or do a search on Linkedin to find the information you need. You’re wasting someone’s time when you ask them who to contact.
- Would it make a difference if I offered you a discount? Why didn’t you open, and close, with your best price? Discounts cheapen your product and service offerings and make people question whether they’re any good.
- Limited time. Any reference to limits on time is a bad move during challenging — and changing — times like these. You must give people the time they need to make smart business decisions. Adding pressure doesn’t help when people are already feeling pressured.
- Do you have money budgeted for this? It’s a rude question in normal times. It’s more so when companies are dealing with financial issues. Assume that people can afford to buy what you’re selling, or will be able to in the future. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be talking with you.
- Does that make sense? Asking this is condescending. A far better alternative is “Do you have any questions?” The original suggests an inability to understand things. The alternative acknowledges understanding and communicates that you’re available to fill knowledge gaps.
- Feel free to call me. Salespeople will always take a call. It’s what they do, especially during challenging times. Just tell people to call you. Any time they want.
- Frankly. This may be the greatest sales faux pas of all time. Why are you suddenly deciding to be frank? What were you doing before? Enough said.
- Have you heard about us? Why lower the reputation of your business by questioning whether potential clients know you exist? A better alternative is to explain what makes your company different from — or better than — others. Don’t encourage people to question your existence. Elevate your operation instead.
- Highest quality. Every business claims this and few have the data to prove it. Unless you’re ready to put up the numbers… Well, you know the rest.
- How are things going? OR How are you doing today? At a time when the answer could be negative or awkward, these could be questions to avoid unless you’re ready to address anything people could answer. What if someone says, “My mom just came down with COVID” or “Educating my kids at home is driving me crazy?” Unless you’re prepared to sensitively address people’s issues, don’t go there.
- I don’t want to waste your time. Who has time to waste? There should never be a need to say this. EVER.
- Why haven’t I heard back from you? This question comes across as accusatory. It’s something you should never ask when people have so many reasons to not respond to your inquiries, including child care issues, healthcare problems, and economic challenges. Just be happy when someone takes time to respond to your call.
- I want to. OR I’d like to. OR I’d love to. To put it simply, why don’t you? Just do it!
- I’ve sold. OR I’ve been selling. Salespeople provide great value. Just don’t remind others what you do for a living. Think of yourself as someone who provides service, not sells. There’s a BIG difference in most people’s minds. It could influence how they treat you.
- If I don’t hear back from you… The sound you hear is a door closing. Why let it shut permanently?
- Money-back guarantee. Why would any business highlight that there could be flaws in their product or service offerings that could necessitate returning contractually obligated payments? Seriously.
- New and improved. Everything today is being updated to address ever-changing times and customer needs. This includes evolving how businesses operate, along with tweaking or rethinking product and service offerings. Don’t cheapen the thoughtful work you’re doing to make things better by not taking time to explain it. The fact that it’s new and improved is meaningless. The WHY and HOW are what’s important.
- Trust me. Saying this diminishes trust. If you have to resort to asking buyers to trust you, you’ve probably already lost the sale.
- We are happy to announce… In today’s busy world, unless the announcement is about the impending birth of a close family relative, graduation, or impending wedding, few people will care about anything you have to announce. It better be life-changing.
Need help training your employees on best practices? Mobile Locker’s app is an affordable and effective way to deliver educational materials to salespeople and everyone on your team. Contact a friendly and helpful Mobile Locker rep to learn how we can help you make your training programs a LOT more effective, even in these complex and changing times.