The Sales Consultancy Blog

Sales Techniques – Why are they so bad?

21 July 2015

Why are Selling Techniques so bad?

You will know by now I’m on a mission to improve the nation’s selling techniques. It seems every day I collect more evidence of just how big a challenge that is going to be! On the other hand a bottom less pit of potential work it seems.

Take my colleague Jonathan’s example from a while ago. Accompanying his friend to a car showroom he was well and truly underwhelmed by the sales techniques demonstrated – or not demonstrated as it turned out. Within a minute of approaching Jonathan and his friend the sales guy was explaining how effective this £68K Landrover was at going up 45 degree hills off road – and that they should check out the YouTube video to see for themselves. He went on to list all the features of this vehicle that HE would have been impressed by.

Now I’m not sure what they teach showroom sales people at landrover but it sure isn’t modern sales skills on this evidence. Maybe they should get inside one of those Delorien cars from ‘Back to The Future’ and got themselves back to 1960’s America where they would have more success!

The Problem?

Where to begin! Firstly he didn’t even know who was up for buying a vehicle, or what stage we might have been in our buying process. He didn’t know ANYTHING about us at all and more crucially did not have any inclination to find out. That meant he remained forever in his map of the world, which was all about off roading and boy’s stuff. He was doing all the talking and NO listening at all. If he had made the effort to find out our ‘maps’ then the knowledge gained would have led to a far more fruitful chat for all of us, more enjoyable too and more likely to produce a win win.

A Solution?

This contrasts with a much more encouraging – sadly rarer story of a friend who after 25 years working in a factory found himself out of work as textile manufacturing moved abroad. His friend was a car dealer and to his credit gave John a chance at his used car showroom. With no real training and no experience John made a fabulous impact at selling cars. How? He knew about and had studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and applied it in the car showroom.

The Power of Rapport

Despite being given second rate leads as returning customers went back to the longer serving salesmen, John soon rose up the sales league table. He did this by leaving his map of the world and making efforts to find out about the maps of those he spoke to. His genuine interest in their buying circumstances and needs led to natural open questions and great answers. He soon found out that it was often the quirky stuff that sold cars, the little things that you can only find out about when you have built genuine rapport with your prospect.

In one particular example John approached a whole family looking around the showroom. Through careful questioning and brilliant rapport building with ALL the family, John elicited that due to a family history of prangs when reversing their previous vehicles, the deciding factor was the bleeper that comes on when reversing this particular car, not that common at the time. Only by building a great relationship – and caring – did John find out this information.


A Sale, of course – and a fantastic letter two days later from the family stating this was the best buying experience they had ever had. His boss and friend said he hadn’t seen a customer letter like that in fourteen years in the business.

So – please please please leave out your needs and wants and make sure you find out their needs and wants. Genuinely care about the relationships you have with your customers and prospects, be curious, ask open questions, listen instead of preaching and you’ll be surprised what it will do for your sales success.

Do let me know your good and bad experiences of sales techniques. Let’s crack this together!

Until next time


PS: Remember to grab your copy of “The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes”

The 9 Biggest Sales Mistakes identifies those key mistakes that are stopping sales teams, companies and business owners fulfilling their sales potential. The report establishes how to identify these errors, indicates how they can be eliminated – and sets out how to avoid them.

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