Old habits die hard in sales. Sales tactics that were big in the '90s and even '80s are still being used today. Maybe it's because we have a sense of nostalgia, helped by Hollywood, for the "old-fashioned salesman" trope. Just think of the lovable shower curtain rings seller played by John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" or Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn trying to woo a client to buy watches over a swanky dinner in "The Internship," for example.
While these techniques work in movies, they no longer work in real life. Modern consumers are hip to when and how they're being sold to, and salespersons of today have a wealth of digital tools at their fingertips to help them close the deal.
You may think your company is on the vanguard of 21st-century sales tactics, but there's a chance your employees are still using some outdated moves. Here are three sales tactics you should drop:
1. Having unnecessary in-person meetings
Elaborate in-person meetings – often with a fancy lunch included – used to be a hallmark of sales, but that's just not the case anymore, as HubSpot explained. Traveling by car or plane to see clients is necessary at times but not in every instance, as travel is costly and time-consuming. Meetings can be had just as effectively, if not more so, over video conference. Video calls also give you the advantage of being able to easily access and present any digital media you have that supports the conversation.
2. Casting a wide net
Old-fashioned sales tactics say to be persistent and pursue prospects no matter what. But modern sales philosophy is to be picky with your clients, Entrepreneur magazine guest writer and sales strategist Marc Wayshak advised. Instead of desperately trying to convince people they should work with you, consider whether you want to work for them. Reversing this type of thinking means you can be choosier with your clients and take on only those that closely align with your company's goals.
3. Spending too much time with problem customers
Traditional sales thinking says that more is always better. That philosophy can lead companies to expend a disproportionate amount of time and energy on putting out fires with their problem customers. In today's business landscape, where you can be more selective about who you take on as clients, spend the bulk of your time growing relationships with your best customers.