In 2019, many advances were made in the field of customer experience. But as the old adage goes, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same – especially when it comes to common sales mistakes. We asked CX professionals for their greatest pet peeves of 2019, and they let us in on classic mistakes that got under their skin both as salespeople and from the customer point-of-view.
Here are 9 sales pet peeves that likely hurt many deals in 2019 – and should be resolved in 2020 and beyond.
Ignoring the “give” part of the give-and-take relationship
“Sales and marketing messages that are all ask and little to no give, especially early in the relationship. As a seller, the onus is on YOU to get, earn, and keep my attention. I’m not going to watch your demo unless you prove first that you have something interesting to say or to share. It’s a higher bar but not THAT high. With a little extra effort, I believe these organizations can transform their engagement and response rates.”
- Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
Me, me, me
“My #1 pet peeve is an outbound sales pitch that is all about the sales rep. Whether via cold call, email, or social, the message typically starts with the word ‘I.’ It includes phrases like ‘I want to schedule a few minutes of your time,’ or, ‘I would love to work with you.’ What these sellers forget is that it’s not about what they want, it’s about adding value to the prospect. High performers make deposits before asking for withdrawals, and their pitches always answer the SWIIFT (So, What’s In It For Them?) question.”
- Christian Banach, VP, Business Development Director, Genuine Interactive and Outbound Sales Influencer at ChristianBanach.com
Get to the point already
“I hate it when salespeople spend the first 10 minutes of the meeting asking me a bunch of questions about my pain points, again. The fact I’m talking to them is probably because they’ve already cataloged my pain points. Just. Get. To. The. Solution.”
- Ann Smith, Director Cross CX Content Marketing, Oracle
“One of my biggest sales pet peeves are sales people that call from different numbers or multi-line dialers. This practice gives good salespeople a bad name. The salespeople that use these are typically not professional and are way too aggressive. I think that it is important for prospects to be able to call you back on a phone that reaches you; the professional [direct line].”
- Jennifer Murtland, Team Leader, Team Synergi
The ultra-casual dress code
“A lot of sales people, especially in tech, are used to casual work environments with flexible dress codes as they’re mostly communicating with prospects via email and phone. I’ve seen several times when they first start having in-person meetings, their dress code isn’t proper, and it can be a bit off-putting for their client.”
- Eric Hoppe, Director of Marketing, Crowd Content Media Inc.
When you assume…
“Sales professionals regularly ask questions; but stop when they get an answer or two and don’t inquire a little deeper. Normally, going a little deeper into the ‘why’ behind the response is what you need to close the gap for both you and your potential client.
It’s a pet peeve, because a lot of people have great products and services. But if you rob yourself of the opportunity to sell due to your assumptions and presenting too early, you’re doing both you and your prospect a disservice.”
- Khabeer Rockley, Sales Trainer, Founder of The 5% Institute
The disappearing prospect
“As a salesperson, my biggest pet peeve is clients and prospects not doing what they say they will or simply going dark. To begin the sales process, you are trying to identify what problems the customer has and how you can help them. During the initial meeting, you come to terms on a plan of action and determine how you will communicate, but then suddenly they disappear. Most often, the reason is because your contact wasn’t the actual decision maker, and that individual gave them bad news they don’t want to deliver. Having said that, I would always prefer to be given bad news if the alternative is being ghosted, which is unprofessional no matter the context.”
- Tom McGee, Vice President and General Manager, Lucas Group
“It’s time for businesses to reconcile what’s really a ‘lead’ vs. simply having contact information from a gated asset. We can’t bring sales and marketing teams together until they’ve got agreement on what qualifies as a lead (use a scorecard or digital body language), and then only pass high quality leads to reps. Only a portion of the ‘leads’ are actually potential buyers, so stop wasting your salespeople’s time chasing random people.”
- Angela Wells, Senior Director, CX Customer Advocacy, Oracle
The Golden Rule also applies to salespeople
“Today we are bombarded with sales calls, texts, emails, letters, and door-to-door visitors. Whether we realize it or not, most of us also have a sales commitment in our occupation. There is the initial sale through an Outside Sales Representative and recurring sales opportunities through an Inside Sales Representative, Project Manager, Account Manager, or anyone providing a product or service to a client. We should always remember when we are approached by a salesperson that they are simply doing their job.
We should place ourselves in their shoes and consider how we would wish to be treated if it were us or one of our loved ones. In addition, we should always remember when we are approaching a prospective client how we would like to be approached.”
- Ron Humes, VP of Operations Southeast Region, Post Modern Marketing