The history of professional selling dates back well over a century, but that’s no reason to keep using outdated sales techniques.

If you haven’t reviewed your sales process lately, it’s well past time to question whether the same methods are still working in changing times. While some methods are tried and true, many old-school techniques just aren’t as effective as they once were.

It’s time to break the cycle of outdated sales techniques!

Here are just a few we believe are past their prime:

Selling to Everyone

Have you ever heard the phrase, “They can sell ice to an Eskimo?” It’s still used to describe great salespeople, but a waste of time when you think about it. Great salespeople don’t “sell ice to Eskimos” – they don’t even sell ice to people who are looking for ice!

Top-level salespeople sell ice to people who need to keep things cold. Stop selling to anyone with a pulse, even if they’re a good fit for your product or service. If they don’t have a need or express interest, it’s going to be a long, hard sale. Instead, focus your energy on qualified prospects and warm leads.

Pro Tip – Your website is a great place to find warm leads! Add a “Free Estimate” or “Learn More” form so visitors already interested in your services can ask for more information. Better yet, add SMS texting.

Unclear Next Steps

Many sales people have the habit of ending a pitch or meeting by saying, “I’ll give you a call on Monday to follow up.” Making a verbal date to connect isn’t enough commitment. In the time of email invites, zoom and calendar apps, it’s far better to take out your phone and schedule your next meeting right then and there, even if it’s a quick follow-up call. This creates some accountability with the prospect and helps ensure they won’t miss the call – and you won’t miss the sale.

Overselling Your Product Or Service

Consumers have more access to information, research materials and resources than ever before. This helps them  develop a solid understanding of your product or service on their own. That means they likely already have knowledge of your and your competitors’ offerings.

Don’t spend too much time promoting the features, bells and whistles of what you’re selling. Prospects no longer rely on sales reps to give them that information when it’s so easy to find on their own. Instead, ask questions, listen to the prospect’s needs and sell on the value and your company’s difference.

Smooth Talking

Lots of salespeople want to sound especially polished and smooth when selling, but prospects don’t want a smooth talker. Your potential clients are more skeptical than ever (maybe too skeptical) and they know when they aren’t getting all the facts. They want someone who’s going to listen, and  be real with them.

Instead of smooth talking, speak with prospects the same way you’d speak to a coworker or friend. Have some professional banter, ask them about themselves and listen to the answers. Leave the used-car-salesman approach at the door and be authentic.

Although it’s easy to get complacent, what worked even 10 months ago may need a change. As times change, it’s important for your sales techniques and methods to adapt, too.