Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Sales Shortcuts and Why They Should Be Avoided

These shortcuts, however tempting, can do more damage than good. They can have a long-term negative impact on a sales rep’s reputation within the industry.

Sales reps face a tough job day in and day out. Often, when customers are approached by a salesperson, they are cautious, or even worse; they’re suspicious. This distrust can throw more than a mere roadblock in many sales deals; it can stop the sale before it even gets off the ground. As a result, what Ted Harro called sales “shortcuts” in an article for The Huffington Post tempt many salespeople. These shortcuts, however tempting, can do more damage than good. They can have a long-term negative impact on a sales rep’s reputation within the industry. Below, we assess five of these shortcuts and why they should be avoided.

1. Vague About Your Intentions

If a potential client is suspicious, it may seem like a daunting task just to get your foot in the door, let alone make the pitch and close the sale. If this is the case, salespeople may be tempted to be vague about their intention behind calling our showing up at a client’s doorstep (or office’s reception). However, if you are avoid answering specific, directed questions about your presence and motivation for being there, it will only heighten or ensure the client’s suspicion. Although it may seem easier to skirt the real reason you are there, in the case of sales, honesty is truly the best policy. If you are direct about your purpose for being there — whom you work for and what you are selling — your chances of getting a meeting are actually better. Don’t give people a reason to be suspicious of you, you’ll just make your job that much harder.

2. Asking About the Customer After the Sales Pitch

When facing a doubtful customer, instead of starting off the conversation about your product or service, ask about them; find out about their business and their needs. Better yet, do your research ahead of time and impress them with your knowledge of their company. As a people, we want to hear about ourselves, and we want to be asked questions. By creating this back-and-forth interaction, you will gain the client’s interest, which is a great foundation for making your sales pitch. Not only that, but you will give the potential client real and tangible reasons why they should make an investment in your paper and its ad department.

3. Prone to Exaggeration

All salespeople, no matter what they’re selling, are prone to exaggeration. In order to sell something, we tend to want to make it larger than life; an absolute necessity to the client. Of course, you should drive home what’s great about your ad services, but it’s important not to go overboard. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, or exclaim things that are just not true. It’s better to be known for your achievements and abilities, but far worse to be known for little white lies that caught up with you. Exaggeration or flat out lying can have irreparable damage on your reputation as a sales person, and worse yet, your newspaper and ad department as a whole.

4. Ignore Comments and Concerns

During a sale, potential clients may throw out comments and concerns about your service that throw you off your game. Answering them may seem like you are only bringing the negative to the surface and ultimately a surefire way to kill a sale. However, if you choose to ignore these concerns or breeze over them, it will only add to a client’s concern. It will make them think you are covering something about your ad department. Consequently, anything you say afterward, as well as your department and your own credibility will be questioned. Instead, stop and take a moment to thoughtfully answer concerns. Clients will appreciate your honesty and your conviction for your product. 

5. Demanding The Customer “Act Now”

It may feel like it’s “now or never” with every sales call you make. If the customer doesn’t act right then and there, you make him think the deal is done for. However, by making customers feel like they need to give an answer now, you are forcing them to act on an impulse, which is a very reactionary response to a situation. Impulses don’t have staying power. Instead of urging the customer to act now, give them the time they need to think it over and make their own decision. Then, later in the week you can do a follow-up call to see where they are at in the process. This demonstrates your value and ability as a salesperson. Even better, you have proven that you are not the typical, pushy sales rep. Make sure clients are equipped with all the information they need, and make sure you give them real reasons your service will solve their advertising problems. Solving a real problem for a customer is much more valuable than satisfying an impulse.