How NOT to Sell


Stuart Pearce reveals some of the worst mistakes contact centres can make when trying to develop their customer base.

Mistake #1 – Mumbling through the sales pitch

You will not gain much success selling over the phone if you don’t make yourself clear. You cannot mumble your way through, you have to be clear and concise. If you’re not clear in the way you speak then your prospect/customer is not going to respond positively and you’ll lose the sale.

When you’re selling over the phone, your voice is the best tool you’ve got. You have to learn how to use it correctly otherwise it will cost you. If you don’t get it right, people will be listening to your voice and not what you’re selling.

For example, pausing too often gives people the impression that you’re not sure, whereas not pausing at all makes people think that you’re rushing because you’re hiding something. Too fast or too slow can give a similar impression.

Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting that anyone ‘puts on’ a voice when they’re on the phone. What I’m saying is, to give yourself the best opportunity of getting that sale, be aware of the ups and downs that it can create and find the happy medium – use inflection, be excited when it’s appropriate, more subdued when it’s called for – not doing so will, again, mean the loss of a sale.

Mistake #2 – Missing opportunities by not listening to your customers

You have to learn to listen and listen properly. I’ve delivered many a training session explaining the difference between listening and hearing. Getting this right is vital. If you don’t listen you risk the chance of missing all sorts of buying signals and opportunities. You also risk missing opportunities to build rapport, which, as we all know, helps massively.

As an example, I recently listened in on a call during which the agent asked the prospect their date of birth. They replied and I immediately realised that it was their birthday that day! The agent, on the other hand, was so focused on what they had to do that they missed what was a huge, glaring opportunity to get some instant rapport.

Mistake #3 – Putting too much faith in scripts

The other behaviour I see regularly is agents not being adaptable. Scripts are great as a guideline but if you put too much faith in repeating them verbatim then you will miss all manner of things (including sales!).

Any ‘pitch’ that you have should be delivered in a conversational way – to put it in simple terms, talk to your customer, not at them. Not talking to the customer in the right way will undoubtedly lose sales for you.

This may sound incredibly obvious, but if you do not know what you are talking about then you will lose any credibility you may have had and, very possibly, any sales you were hoping to get.

Stuart Pearce

People like to be sold to properly. They like to know that the person they’re talking to is professional and an expert in their field. That any questions they have will be answered and that they will be happy with the answer.

In summary…

  • Do your homework and know what you’re talking about
  • Listen to the customer, ask questions and talk to them, not at them
  • Be aware of your voice and how to use it properly

Without wishing to be too dramatic, if you ignore these basic behaviours, you will lose sales.

For more advice on sales success, see How to Succeed With Outbound Calling – Part 1.

With thanks to Stuart Pearce, Director at Pearce Barber.

Published On: 10th Sep 2014 - Last modified: 21st Jun 2018
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