There are always a few very nice, but literally misguided souls in my telephone sales workshops, cold calling seminars, prospecting programs, and telemarketing training sessions.
They preface their questions with these words: “I heard somewhere that you should ALWAYS do such and such. What is your take on that?”
I have to resist flatly saying, “Never, ever do that!”
Here are 5 of the worst tips that these folks have heard, ideas that you should trash right away because they’ll only keep you from reaching your goals.
(1) “Never cold call.” This phrase is used to sell various things, including sales coaching services. My take: Always cold call! There’s gold in cold calling and that’s why it’s also called “prospecting.”
(2) “Don’t ask someone ‘How are you?’ after announcing who you are.” Leave this phrase, or something similar out, and you’ll sound like a recording and get shut down.
(3) “Ask people early on: ‘Do you have a minute to talk?'” Sometimes referred to as permission selling, it weakly gives control to the listener while asking him to buy a pig in a poke. If he says yes, he could be victimizing himself with a talk-a-thon, so reflexively, out of self-protection, he’ll say no. Don’t ever ask if you can sell something. Just do it!
(4) Don’t manage objections; upon first hearing one. Instead, say: “Thank you very much!” and go on to the next person, who may not object. I recommend using transition phrases to gently but firmly take the call to the next step, without hassles.
(5) “Always ASK your way to a sale instead of TELLING your way.” In theory, this ostensibly consultative approach is a winner, a soft-sell, but in the real world we need to be prepared to close and to close again through tie-downs, okay?
The worst tips are usually offered by cowards that really hate selling and aren’t very good at it. They appeal to your weakness.
Don’t buy any suggestion that promotes avoidance and indirectness instead of meeting the challenges of selling head-on.