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The Alternative Board Blog

Wondering if Your Salespeople May Be Scaring Off Buyers?

Dec. 1, 2015 | Posted by Joe Zente, TAB Austin

Have you ever wondered if your salespeople may be scaring off buyers? The fact is that most salespeople are downright frightening. The list of scary behaviors goes on forever, but here are five of the most popular ways salespeople scare away your new business: 

  • They talk when they should be listening:
    A recent survey of C-Level buyers indicated that only 14% of interactions with company representatives resulted in any useful learning or value. In other words, the remaining 86% of salesperson conversations were perceived to be creating zero value or differentiation. 

  • They educate when they should be learning:
    When their lips are moving, many salespeople tell instead of ask. Instead of striving to understand, learn, and facilitate mutual discovery, they strive to educate and "make their points" (even though the buyer isn’t asking).

  • The few questions they do ask are Leading Questions:
    Many salespeople strive to get buyers to nod a lot (like bobble-heads). In the fleeting moments when salespeople do ask questions, they avoid the right questions (the tough questions that will differentiate them) and mistakenly believe they should ask only "yes" questions. Most salespeople believe that if they ask enough leading questions, a sale will ultimately follow. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Leading questions (commonly known as "tie-downs") are one of the most effective ways to destroy trust. When you are personally in a buying role, do you like to be tied down?

  • When they do listen, they listen selectively:
    Buyers need and want to buy, but they hate to be sold. Salespeople who listen for buying signals in an effort to close show up as inauthentic manipulators instead of valuable resources and solution providers. This can be very frightening to prospective buyers!

Want additional insight? Read 7 Steps for an Effective Hiring Process now to learn more

  • They Prematurely Satisfy:
    Premature Satisfaction™ occurs any time a salesperson educates, presents, pontificates, demos, or proposes before the buyer is truly ready and willing to listen and accept. This scary, worthless, destructive salesperson behavior carries a consequence in 100% of cases where it is exhibited. In the best case, Premature Satisfaction™ wastes time and cuts into profit. In many cases, it burns up margins via multiple proposals and repetitive "pencil sharpening." In most cases, it destroys trust and loses the sale.

How much revenue and profit do you think your salespeople might be scaring away? Take some time to assess and train your sales staff to reduce the scary factor.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by Joe Zente, TAB Austin

Joe Zente is the CEO of TAB Austin and Z|Three Performance Development, a company that has helped business owners upgrade, grow, scale, and improve the effectiveness of their Sales Teams for over 25 years.