Top 5 Uncommon Sales Tactics that (Actually) Work

Tips for solidifying effective and ongoing sales processes.

Some of you may know that my company’s annual conference, The 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit, is just a few days away (September 13 and 14 in Boston). Personally, I love attending these events—and not for the expected reasons that may come to mind. Sure, I’m in sales, and I enjoy networking, but I like being your everyday attendee, hearing and learning from motivational speakers. However, as much as I enjoy the learning process, it is also important to share, as well.

As such, here are five go-to sales tactics for solidifying effective and ongoing processes:

1. Have an additional touchpoint. You’ve established a connection, and there’s a deal in the works. Then, crickets. The sale goes dark. The sound of silence exists for several reasons: The prospect doesn’t have an update, the deal is in legal or procurement, the contact is waiting on a decision-maker, and so on. Many deals end up stuck in this stationary state of sales. Similarly, many reps (often wisely) refrain from making contact again for fear of becoming a nuisance and annoying the prospect.

At the same time, one never knows where such stagnation may lead—and one of the possibilities is always a lost deal due to, you got it, inaction. To better protect yourself from the risk of loss, stop reaching out with the dreaded check-in when your gut tells you it’s pointless. Instead, train your reps to establish LinkedIn connections with the prospect at the right time (they’ll acquire a sense for when the time is right). This way, your reps are continuing a form of conversation with a short and informal message. A nod on LinkedIn is easy and subtle. It’s also personal. And in my experience, it works.

2. Remember to switch up. Similar to having an additional touch point, this approach works well in the case of a stalled deal. I learned the “switch up” method way back when and continue to use it today. The strategy works like this: Reach out to someone with a different title, maybe a title that’s more senior (i.e., a manager or director) and ask him or her to follow up with your contact on your behalf. When other methods fail to activate a response, the helping rep or manager can be key to releasing the deal from stagnation. Try using a version of the following intro:

“Hello X, I understand you’ve been working with John Smith on my team...It would mean a great deal to John if we could get this deal back on track.”

Keep it friendly and casual. All the while, make sure you’re not coming off as overly aggressive or pushy by adding an out clause note to your message:

“If the timing isn’t right…we’re happy to have this conversation at a later time.”

This exchange humanizes the entire experience and lets the prospect know their time is valued regardless of what happens down the line.

3. Let them go if you have to. Every sales experience is different. Just as some sales are quick and painless, others involve prospects who are incredibly tough negotiators. These are the folks who have seen the value of your product, thought about it, and ultimately came back with a counter-offer, one after another after another...

It’s true, sometimes these folks are only asking to ask (hey, we all do it) or they sincerely don’t have the budget, but other times, what they’re pushing for is downright outrageous. In such cases, if you’re getting aggressive pushbacks from them, it’s OK to push back on them too. Let them go gently and respond with the classic (sales) breakup line: “We may not be the right solution for you.” Because sometimes, some folks, are not worth it. A hard time put on repeat isn’t the best use of anyone’s time.

4. Don’t show them the world. When you’re doing a demo or a discovery call, it’s not necessary to show your prospect every single bell and whistle your product has to offer. In fact, doing so can work against you. Talk through two to three features at the most, but refrain from revealing everything. And not just because you’re giving too much away, but because you also run the risk of putting your prospect to sleep! They have a lot going on; if you show them the world, there’s a high chance they won’t remember and/or will zone out on you mid-call. Simply, it’s TMI. Don’t open the process up to a much longer sales cycle if you can prevent it.

5. Slow down. We’ve all been there: pumped to show off our cool, new features and reveal how they’re relevant for the prospect. But it’s imperative to remember to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself to slow down. This is extremely important.

You’re the subject matter expert, but the person on the other line is not. If you’re talking too fast and not pausing or waiting for them to catch on, they won’t properly articulate your sell to their boss decision-maker. Coach your reps to build pauses; let prospects ask questions and answer your questions. Don’t ask two questions at the same time and don’t overwhelm your prospects. Pause. Take your time to learn more about the client. And importantly, let them talk. If this is proving tougher than expected, stick a “slow down” post it on your wall. Whatever works, right?

There you have ’em, my top sales secrets exposed. Use them wisely and sell on.

James Hanoosh is the director of Sales; Strategic & Enterprise Accounts for Zoominfo. Hanoosh will be in attendance at the U.S. conference, the Growth Acceleration Summit, in Boston, MA, from September 13-14. See him there and learn from him and 25-plus other speakers in the sales  and marketing sectors.

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