Avoid These 'Taboos' During First Calls With Prospects

BY Jessica Helinski
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As a consultative sales rep, you’re likely not following a strict script when calling on prospects. So, you need to make the most of each call or meeting and avoiding mistakes that could cost you the buyer’s trust. In an article for XPotential Selling, Barrett Riddleberger shares three “taboos” to avoid when conversing with buyers, noting that these pitfalls can crush your credibility and likeability. Here are two of his examples:

  • The trial close. While popular in the industry and widely praised by many professionals, Riddlberger advises salespeople to steer clear of this strategy. “They engender a negative reputation because the technique is clearly manipulative,” he writes. Trial closes can often lead to buyer’s remorse especially in the first call, because the rep has failed to established credibility with the buyer…In short, it’s old school, pushy and coercive.” As tempting as it may be to use a classic trial-​close line like, “what will it take to get you to buy?,” you’re better off learning what it will take through your own research and consultative selling skills.
  • Unsolicited small talk. Small talk during a sales call or meeting may be ok with some prospects but others may just want to talk business right away. Rather than immediately start chit-​chatting about the weather, follow the prospect’s lead and direct the conversation accordingly…” Evaluate each prospect’s personality style.” Riddleberger suggests. If the buyer initiates small talk, then dive in. If not, move directly into sales talk…”

A first call or meeting sets the tone for your entire relationship with a prospect–make sure that you are avoiding these common pitfalls. By being more conscious of what you say, you can more easily build rapport and credibility–and make the sale!