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Stop Using Outdated Selling Techniques

Sales success in 2019 means letting go of a few old habits.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more. I stopped making them when I realized that I’ve never kept a single one. Having said that, I do have a resolution that I think everyone who sells for a living can get a lot of value from in 2019: 

“I will no longer use outdated selling techniques.”

This resolution will help you beat your quota and get a head start on both the year and your competition. Here are a few outdated selling techniques that you should plan to lose in 2019:

Misunderstanding Why Customers Buy

Many salespeople operate under the assumption that customers make purchase decisions based on data. In fact, they don’t. So the data-heavy presentations you are making are a waste of your time and theirs. Don’t misunderstand: customers like data and need data, but they don’t buy because of data. First, they don’t need you to get information – they have information overload already. Second, most customers make decisions based on emotion and then justify that decision with data. So make sure that you understand the emotion behind the purchase. Ask yourself what’s at stake for the customer. What happens if the deal goes well for them? What happens if it doesn’t?

Creating False Urgency

Telling a customer that you have a “limited time deal” or a “limited amount of inventory” to push for a quick close is both a relationship killer and a lazy sales technique. Most sellers who use this technique do so because they haven’t bothered to do the hard work in finding out what’s important to the customer. Don’t sell urgency, sell value. Urgency means nothing to a customer who isn’t convinced that they need what you are selling.

Assuming that Sales Isn’t Changing

Customers are changing, and sales is changing – rapidly. Customers today are more educated about available products and services. They are getting younger and more technologically savvy. If you are still approaching sales the way you did ten years ago, think that customers need you for information, or that you are safe because you have a great relationship, you are about to get routed by your competition. I’m not suggesting that relationships are no longer a part of selling; I’m suggesting that you need to be clear about the kinds of relationships customers want. Today’s relationships flourish when we educate the client, provide insight for their challenges, help them manage internal roadblocks, build trust, embrace collaboration and foster authenticity. 

Today’s most successful salespeople are agile. They know when to jettison strategies that no longer work. Your customers aren’t buying as they used to. More than ever, you need to be selling value and insight rather than products and information. Make this your New Year’s resolution and you’ll become a quota-buster.

Jane Gentry,, is the Principal of JaneGentry & Company.

Editor's note: To transform your sales model into one that adds more value, join us for MDM's Sales GPS 2019. This 1-½ day, hands-on conference is designed exclusively for wholesale distribution executives motivated to change their single-channel models into more adaptive and customer-responsive multichannel sales models.

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