5 Counterintuitive Sales Tips

To state the obvious, if you want to be much better than the average salesperson then you have to do something much different than the average salesperson. With that in mind, I've picked up a few things over the years that most salespeople definitely do not do but that do seem to improve sales outcomes significantly. I've written about some of these before. Here are five:

1. Never leave an introductory meeting without talking about your product's flaws. If you tell a prospect that your product doesn't have weak areas you're either lying or your product hasn't chosen an area where it can add significant value. Be proud of your product's flaws -- be proud of the areas where you've decided to focus and those areas that you've chosen to deprioritize. Those decisions are what make your product unique. You'll gain much more credibility by discussing those areas with a buyer.

2. Never criticize the competition (because you have no competition). No two companies prioritize the same features and do things exactly the same way. There is no competitor that does what you do. It's simply not possible. So instead of saying, "we're better than the competition", point out the areas where you've chosen to focus and the areas you've chosen to prioritize. Help the buyer line up their priorities with the right seller. If the competition is a more appropriate fit you should tell them that. Again, you're far more credible when you take this approach.

3. Instead of "always be closing" you should "always be leaving". I've written about this before and I think I first picked it up in Mastering The Complex Sale. Remember, you are not talking to a buyer because you're there to close them. You are talking to a buyer to determine whether or not you can create a mutually beneficial relationship. Be laser focused on mutually beneficial relationships. Have a healthy paranoia that the person you’re talking to doesn’t care about what you’re saying. If you don’t know, ask them. Walk away from prospects and people that aren’t interested. You’re bringing value and your prospects are bringing value — if there isn’t a match, walk away. In short, don't be a salesperson.

4. Don't ask too many questions. There's nothing worse than the seller that starts a presentation asking a bunch of questions about the buyer's business. What are your biggest priorities? What keeps you up at night? I get it. Sellers want to be appear that they care about the buyer's business. But don't ask too many questions. It's annoying and insincere. You're there to determine if a partnership makes sense. Get to it.

5. Be confident but not certain. Whenever you get a question from a buyer and you're unsure of the answer don't be afraid to tell them you're not sure. Walk them through your thinking on the issue, but don't be certain when you're not certain. Buyers are afraid of sellers that know everything. Think things through with the seller when you don't the answer.