8 sales tactics that don’t work with business owners

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Consider how you convert customers. While digital marketing helps pinpoint prospects, it also makes it more difficult for your message to be heard and seen amid the din. Unfortunately, that’s where salespeople may opt for methods that annoy prospects, instead of garnering positive attention.
Here are aggressive, hard-sell tactics to drop in 2020.

1. LinkedIn requests. Salespeople send blanket requests to connect on LinkedIn, even if they’ve never met. If the prospect accepts, they ask for a phone meeting or chat over coffee to discuss how to work together. While some find this acceptable, many feel tricked into connecting with someone who is only trying to sell something.

2. Impersonal lead generation. In 2019, companies spent more than $350 million on email marketing. This form of marketing is here to stay, but there is a right and wrong way to accomplish it. Develop an email drip campaign that uses content to build upon your prospects’ interest, which provides the right information for their needs and nurtures those leads.

3. Annoying emails. Some prospects ignore automated, impersonal emails. Worse, the salesperson resends it with a new intro line, “Did you read my previous email?” The latter is irritating and viewed as aggressive and rude. Make automated marketing effective with personalized emails. Research the individual and incorporate information about business needs or business news. Keep the message concise. Let the prospect know how your product or service works and how it will help.

4. I’m in town and I’d like to set up coffee with you and your team. If business owners have downloaded information or expressed interest, this might work. However, such efforts fail if owners haven’t shown interest in your offerings and haven’t met you. Business owners have little time to spare for “get to know you” meetings.

5. Lobby drop-ins. Salespeople who use this technique interrupt the day of everyone they touch, which doesn’t engender positive feelings. Have a plan before visiting someone’s business, and get their permission before stopping in.

6. Cold calling. This has mostly gone by the wayside. Many won’t answer a call from an unknown number. The same goes for emails obviously sent to hundreds (or thousands). However, experienced telemarketing still can work. Prospects want strategically tailored information. Show that you’ve done your research and reach out in a more personal way.

7. Stalking on social media. It’s one thing to keep notes as you learn about customers — their birthday, favorite wine, beloved pet, etc. It’s another thing to gather information on social media and leak it during an initial meeting.

8. Improper use of contact form. Businesses create contact forms to gather information about prospects. Don’t use a “contact us” form to sell something or send in a resume.

These tactics often fail because of a common denominator: Business owners are busy. If you ask for their time, do your homework and be upfront about why you’re reaching out. Remember, people may forget what you said, but they never forget how you made them feel. If you make them feel like you’ve researched their company and its needs, that goes further than 100 calls or emails ever will.

Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 30-year-old brand development, strategic and online marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.