This recent piece by sales guru Geoffrey James was just too good not to share.  As you review James' list of "Dumb Sales Tactics" you will consider some painfully obvious; others will make you blush with the realization that you have committed these blunders more recently than you care to admit.  DPS sales training graduates will quickly recognize many of these "don'ts" as the counterparts to skills developed in Dimensions of Professional Selling.  All of these reminders are worth reading to keep us all at our very best with our customers:

10 Dumb Sales Tactics to Avoid

By Geoffrey James

These big mistakes seem to be shockingly common. Make sure you're not guilty of any of them.

In the year or so since I've been writing for Inc.com, I've received several hundred emails from readers asking for assistance and advice. From this experience, I've observed that the following 10 basic selling errors are surprisingly common.

  1. Answering Objections the Customer Hasn't Surfaced. Though it's a good idea to anticipate objections that the customer might have and prepare reasonable answers to them, it's a horrible idea to surface those objections yourself--because you've just created an issue that probably didn't exist. Explaining away something preemptively can also make you seem defensive and unsure of the real value of your offering.
    Fix: Never start any sentence with "You may be wondering..." or "Perhaps you're asking yourself..."
  2. Leaving the 'Next Step' to the Customer. I've read dozens of so-called sales letters and sales emails that end with a suggestion that the customer should call or contact the seller "if you're interested" or "in order to learn more." The people who send these letters always complain that they don't get any responses.
    No kidding--you're asking the customer to do your work for you.
    Fix: Keep the ball in your court. Try substituting a closer like this: "I will call you next week to discuss whether it makes sense to discuss this matter further."
  3. Selling Features Rather Than Results. Incredibly, some people (usually marketing folks) believe that customers buy a product because it has desirable features. They therefore rattle off a list of those features, hoping that at least one will pique the customer's interest.
    In fact, customers care only about the results of purchasing a product and the ways it will affect their lives and their businesses.
    Fix: Figure out why a customer buys your product rather than somebody else's. Then sell that result, using the features to buttress your ability to deliver that result.
  4. Faking Intimacy. Like it or not, the minute you're positioned in somebody's mind as "a person who is trying to sell me something," you're fighting an uphill battle to win trust. Under those circumstances, the absolute worst thing you can do is to try to "suck up" by acting smarmy.
    The most common manifestation: brightly asking, "How are you doing today?" at the beginning of a cold call. It makes people want to puke.
    Fix: Remain personable and professional--but no more--until such time as you actually forge a friendship, which typically takes weeks.
  5. Writing a Sales Proposal Too Soon. Although proposals can occasionally help develop an opportunity, in most cases, the proposal requesting (and writing) process happens after the prospect has already defined the problem and (probably) defined the solution as well. Because writing a proposal takes time and effort, it's usually a bad investment unless you've got the inside track on the sale.

Read the entire article here.

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