Picture this: You’re on an early morning commute, coming to terms with your surroundings, and the person sitting next to you says, ‘Good morning’. What could be a pleasant exchange quickly turns into an uncomfortable experience as you’re hit by an overpowering stench of bad breath. It’s an unforgettable encounter, and not in a good way. Just like bad breath can ruin a perfectly good first impression, there’s something even worse in the world of sales: “sales breath”. In this sales coaching article, we explore the concept of sales breath and how it can be a deal-breaker when engaging with potential buyers.
Offensive sales breath
Sales breath is a metaphorical term that describes a salesperson’s approach, which leaves a foul impression on the potential buyer. It’s when a salesperson comes across as solely interested in pushing a sale, with little to no regard for the customer’s needs, challenges or objectives. This approach is like bad breath for your sales pitch, and it stinks to high heaven.
Buyer’s biggest dislikes
During our research for SalesGuru, we’ve had the privilege of speaking with countless buyers and gaining insight into their preferences and dislikes when interacting with salespeople. Among their biggest pet peeves, sales breath consistently ranks as one of the most obnoxious. Buyers are repelled by salespeople who seem to have no interest in understanding their business or what truly matters to them. The worst part is, they can pick it up almost instantly, and usually as the salesperson opens their mouth…
The importance of genuine engagement
The key to dispelling sales breath is genuine engagement. Sales professionals must prioritise building relationships and understanding the unique needs of each customer. It’s not about pushing a product or service; it’s about actively listening, asking pertinent questions, and offering tailored solutions that genuinely benefit the customer. Buyers are more likely to engage with salespeople who demonstrate a sincere commitment to their success. In fact, a major component to initial sales meetings or interactions is to qualify whether you can provide actual solutions to the prospect. If not, you simply move on.
Preventing sales breath
To avoid leaving a trail of sales breath, sales professionals should adopt the following strategies:
1. Active listening: Make an effort to listen actively and empathetically to your customers. Understand their pain points, goals and aspirations. Only once you have properly gauged the prospects’ challenges are you able to qualify the potential lead. If you want someone to pay attention to your solutions, you need to listen to their issues first.
2. Ask relevant questions: Tailor your questions to extract valuable information that can guide your sales approach. Seek to understand your customer’s unique needs.
3. Offer value: Provide insights, information or solutions that genuinely benefit the customer, even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate sale.
4. Build relationships: Prioritise relationship-building over immediate sales. Long-term partnerships often lead to repeat business and referrals.
5. Personalise your approach: Avoid one-size-fits-all sales pitches. Customise your approach to address each customer’s specific requirements. Once again, this can only be achieved by actively listening and following up with insightful questions.
Sales breath is a deal-breaker in the world of sales. Just as no one appreciates bad breath, customers don’t want to engage with salespeople who prioritise pushing a sale over understanding their needs. To succeed in sales, focus on building relationships, asking the right questions and providing real value. Remember that authentic engagement and a genuine interest in the customer’s business are the keys to freshening up your approach and securing lasting success in sales.