According to a new survey by Harvard Business Review, 81% of buyers would rather work with a salesperson who have the “same mannerisms” as they do. It’s no surprise that people prefer to work with those they feel a connection with, but what specific “mannerisms” and selling behaviors did the customers list as being the most offensive? Here’s the list:
Survey Says! Top 5 Pet Peeves Customers have with Sales Reps
- Being “too pushy”.
- Ineffective communication
- Drastic difference in personality.
- Reps who want to be friends – really badly.
- Large age difference.
What Does “Too Pushy” Mean Anyway?
The survey revealed that buyers were the most annoyed by pitches that ended with an incentivized rush to close. Pitches that end with phrases like: “the sale is ending this month, so we would need a contract this week to get this pricing.” Even if the discount or offer is valid, the push to close quickly doesn’t give the customer time to: discuss with other decision makers, assess the product against their needs, and consider the risks.
It’s essential that you give your relationship with the customer time to develop. Instead of focusing on a fast close, focus on their interests and concerns. Once you become a trusted advisor and start applying good Selling Judgement, you will have a much better chance of closing the deal. And a deal closed next quarter is better than no deal closed at all.
The survey found “only 54% of salespeople they meet with can clearly explain how their solution impacts the buyer’s business.” This is why it’s essential to take the time to really listen, and build bridges. If the customer feels that they are not being heard, a communication barrier has already popped up. If a question pops up that you need time to consider, let them know you are going to do research on their behalf before you reply. A delayed, but thoroughly considered answer is better than a rushed reply. Pace yourself and become a trusted advisor, or rush the deal and become a pusher of products and services.
Rush to the Friend Zone
You know better than to talk marriage on the first date. Apply that same logic to business. Sometimes you have a customer that you just hit it off with right off the bat. But most of the time, relationships take time to grow. It’s also easy to think you have a friendship established, and become too relaxed with a potential customer. Swearing, oversharing, and other things that are typical between friends could be the death of your sales deal.
Open your pitch with questions, and really listen. Let your customer talk. Don’t just listen for your opening to speak, or a problem your product can solve. Really listen. Look for personality cues and read the subtext of your conversation. Is this person very buttoned up, or laid back? How tech savvy are they? What connections do you share? Try to find a bridge to connect you on a personal level. While many first calls are thought of as “fact finding calls” also consider them “bridge building calls”.
Large Age Difference
So you can’t change your age. But you can change your selling behavior. If you are younger, be sensitive to an older client. For instance, ask if they would prefer a Google Drive Sheet or Excel doc. Even the simple act of presumptively sending a Google doc can make someone who is more experienced in a more traditional way of doing things feel out of touch. If you are older, look at the relationship as an opportunity to really be enlightened by a youthful perspective. Coming across as a know-it-all with little patience for (to you) basic questions can turn off a potential customer.
The good news is that with some effort you can adapt to the selling environment All you have to do is train. The UPtick™ platform offers sales reps the opportunity to uncover areas for sales improvement, hone selling behaviors, and learn how to sell better. It’s free to try, plus you’ll see where your current sales skills stack up against your peers and get your personalized Selling Intelligence™ score.