Sales trainers have told you a lot of things that no longer work. The lessons they taught are now obsolete.

Sales is always evolving, but the fundamentals never do.

Most of the time, new hires are taught all sorts of things about sales. But sometimes these old-fashioned practices can actually hold you back.


Outdated Advice in Sales: How to be a Sales Trainer

“Inform them of what you want to tell them, then inform them of what you are here to tell them, and then inform them of what you have told them..”

When you’re selling a product, it’s important to reinforce all of its strengths.

However, if you do this people will recognize it. This can seem manipulative and condescending.

A good way to do this is by having the major topics in your meeting agenda, explaining what you’ll be talking about at the beginning of the meeting and then asking them if they feel like all of it was discussed once again at its conclusion.

Don’t ask them if they understood you. Even when it’s not the case, no one will admit to that.

“The buyer’s arguments are vexing and must be refuted.”

It’s also important to neutralize any objections that the prospect has before they can be used against you.

As a salesperson, I was trained to avoid objections. The way you win is by overcoming them.

That is wrong!

Objections help me know what information the buyer needs, and can shorten my sales cycle rather than lengthening it.

Sales trainers should stop teaching hard closes and tricks to avoid objections because they are both offensive and ineffective.

If you have to force closing, it means the sales process needs more work.

“A, B, C (Always be Closing).”

After introducing yourself to the customer, do you cut off any questions they have and start closing?

It can be offensive to prospects when salespeople keep asking for the order. They may close off communication, hang up on you or show you out.

Rather than waiting for them to tell you they’re ready, be perceptive enough to recognize when they are.

Sometimes sales trainers say that you should ask for an order at the end of each meeting with a potential customer.

The idea is that you may not get a yes right away, but if it does happen then at least you know what to do. If they reject your offer because the price isn’t good enough for them, then there are other things like discounts and promotions available.

It can be difficult to know whether or not it’s appropriate in the first meeting. It depends on the situation and person.

“The buyer’s first name should be used.”

A lot of trainers will tell salespeople to use the prospect’s first name, for example: “Hi John.”

You: How are you today, Jane?

Jane: I am fine.

You: Jane, I would like to talk with you about the problem of having too much inventory. Is now a good time? Article: A new study found employees are more likely to be satisfied if they have autonomy over some decisions.

Jane: We’ve been trying to diversify our work force, but it’s a problem for us.

You: Jane, do you think we should address this issue in the coming fiscal year?

Jane: Yes, that is our goal.

You: Jane, we’ve found a solution that has helped XYZ Corp reduce their inventory by 25%. Would you like to know more?

You get the idea.

Some people think mentioning the buyer’s first name is more friendly, but I find it to be outdated and offensive.

The first-name trick is old and should be retired. If you want to use their name, earn it by building a relationship with them.

“Modify your style to resemble or mirror the consumer.”

The idea is to mimic the prospect’s behavior. If they’re aggressive, you should be too. And if they talk fast, so should you.

This is bad advice for salespeople.

You can’t fake being something you’re not, so don’t try to be a chameleon. Buyers will see right through it and move onto the next supplier.

“When closing or bargaining, keep your mouth shut.”

After giving a proposal, the first person to speak loses even if it means sitting in silence for several minutes.

So, if a buyer doesn’t say anything to you, they want you to be completely silent?

I don’t agree with this. I never have and I never will.

When presenting a proposal to the buyer, allow time for review. If there are questions about specifics of the proposal, answer them before asking if they have any more questions.

Be sure to give them time when you ask for their response. If they’re sitting in front of you, it can come across as trying to figure out what’s going on.

“Spray and pray.”

With this approach, you tell the buyer everything they need to know about your product and solution. How much of it is there? Why do people like it so much?

It’s a marketing tactic to overwhelm the buyer with information so that they will purchase on the spot.

Sounds good, right?

When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough for them. But it doesn’t work now.

Listening is the most important part of sales, but it’s missing from many training programs.

The buyer is not buying your product. They are looking for a solution to their problem, an opportunity to improve themselves or increase revenue.

So, don’t just give them everything you have to offer. Tailor your products and services so that they will really need what you are offering.

“Exert considerable pressure on the customer in order to obtain a commitment.”

It can be tempting to pressure a buyer who is on the fence or not interested, but it’s more likely that this will backfire than anything else.

Selling is different than it used to be. It’s not about wearing down the buyer’s resistance. This might work when selling a car, but doesn’t work in today’s B2B environment.

High-performing salespeople need to be persuasive, but they also have to change a buyer’s mind about their product or service by presenting relevant information not through pressure.

“If you are successful, attempt to obtain a speedier decision and finalize the deal as quickly as possible. If you are losing, put off making a decision.”

Some sales trainers teach that you should accelerate your efforts on a losing deal, and stall when in the lead. That seems like it would be an effective strategy.

Some things I’ve found that people do to stall or delay a decision are postponing meetings, not providing timely responses, and introducing issues about the competition just for something new.

When you are negotiating with a customer, the buyer might see right through your stall techniques. For example, when you delay in order to make them believe their selected solution is inferior.

Don’t take this risk.

“Cold calling is no longer important.”

One of the most well-known sales trainers and authors believes that cold calling is a waste of time.

Cold calling may still be necessary because there are two reasons why it’s important to make those calls:

  • If you’re in marketing, it’s likely that your department is struggling to keep up with the demand for leads.
  • A lot of salespeople don’t have enough prospects to hit their goals.

If you want to be successful, then it’s important for you to create a marketing campaign that will help fill the gap between what your pipeline is and where it needs to be this year. A personal marketing program consisting of emails and cold-calls may often prove necessary.

“Sell exclusively to the prospects with the best possibility of success.”

Many sales trainers recommend that you seek out only the most qualified prospects, since it’s more effective to focus on a few than try to sell everyone.

They may have a questionnaire or checklist to help you qualify prospects, but they might not advise digging deeper in order to find the best ones from that set.

It can lead you to spend a lot of time and resources trying to sell something that may not be worth it. For example, they have the need but no sense of urgency.

You want to focus on prospects that are a perfect fit for your product. You should look for people who have the needs, value proposition and strengths of what you offer.

“Make every effort to be the last presentation when a customer is evaluating many vendors.”

Many sales trainers think that presenting last gives you an advantage. They feel the buyer will remember what was said to them most recently when it comes time for a decision.

This is a valid strategy. It’s common for buyers to forget the key points you make during your meeting if they have either been distracted by other meetings or if it has been quite some time since their last presentation.

I always like to present first. This way I can set the bar high for other companies, emphasize our strengths and make it difficult for future presentations.

Presenting first could be a good strategy because it can result in immediate decisions and cancellations of other presentations.

Before you fight to be the final presenter in a sales meeting, think about how going first might actually help your cause.

How to Become a Sales Trainer and Do Sales Trainers Have Anything to Offer?

I am not saying you should stop formal sales training. I recommend it, in fact.

But I’m saying that many outdated practices from the past should be retired for good.

If you’ve done your job in the sales cycle and demonstrated how our product solves their needs, then there is no need for hard closes or manipulation.

In order to succeed as a salesperson, I need to do more than just focus on the product. Instead, I have to offer ideas and solutions that improve their operations or minimize pains.

Forget what sales trainers have told you in the past, they don’t know anything. In 2020, it’s all about hiring great people and training them effectively.


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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.