Are you using sales tactics that are no longer effective? You might be surprised to hear that some sales professionals view certain traditional tactics as outdated and irrelevant. It can be tough to let go of old habits. But in the sales industry, evolving is necessary–as is letting go. “Sometimes, salespeople need to do a little subtraction — identifying unproductive strategies that can stymy their efforts and undermine their potential,” writes Jay Fuchs for Hubspot. In his article, he shares specific strategies to move away from, including:
- Relying too much on case studies
- Qualifying on the first call
Why are these sales tactics outdated?
The first tactic that Fuchs introduces involves being too reliant on case studies. While case studies are an effective way to demonstrate credibility and social proof, often, sellers rely on them too early. He speaks with HubSpot’s Principal Sales Manager Dan McAdam who thinks sellers shouldn't be a "crutch" early in the process.
“Case studies are great for underscoring the value you can provide once you've dug in and figured out how your product or service solves the problem,” he explains. “They should be used to reinforce the value — not to handle objections at the beginning of the process or do the selling for you."
If done too early, you won’t know enough about the prospect or their business to share a case study that is relatable. You must first learn about their needs and challenges and explain how your solution can provide value. Then it’s time to share a case study. Reps should use case studies deeper into the sales process to support what they've already shared about their solution's value.
Julie Thomas, CEO and president of ValueSelling Associates, agrees. As she explains, “Past case studies are effective fodder for value-based stories and fill the gap between imagined impact and measurable results, providing the vital specifics that reps require to demonstrate that they understand the buyer’s critical business issues.”
Case studies are still considered effective sales tactics. It's their timing that counts. By simply adjusting when you introduce case studies, you have a great opportunity to increase their value. Rely on your pre-call research and discovery questions to learn as much as you can first. Then, when you do share a case study, it’s relevant, relatable and impactful.
Qualifying on the first call
While connecting and discovery calls are must-have sales tactics, reps shouldn't combine them. Fuchs advises against using the first phone call to qualify a prospect. Often, sellers will use the first connecting call to qualify to avoid wasting time on someone who isn’t a good fit. While avoiding bad-fit prospects is a good thing, this particular effort is misguided. They overload the lead with questions and seemingly put the emphasis on getting them into the sales funnel rather than seeking to help.
Sellers today need to show buyers that they want to help. Spending that first call qualifying rather than connecting won’t sit well with the buyer.
The connect call is the time to introduce yourself to the lead and get to know them. Build some rapport and engage in a dialogue that gives you an idea of whether or not your solution could be of value. As SalesFuel explains, “Use this call to gather insights about the lead that will help you determine where to go next in the sales process.” If it goes well, then it’s time to schedule that discovery call and prepare your qualifying questions.
These are just a couple of sales tactics that may no longer resonate with today’s buyers. To stay competitive, sellers need to revisit and adjust their tactics to make sure they align with today’s buyer behavior.
Photo by George Milton