From the prospect’s perspective, the potential for your call to be annoying starts with being interrupted, the first impression of the seller, the level of preparation and knowledge, the urgency of the topic and so on. Annoying behaviors are unique to each person we interact with but, over time, an experienced prospect builds up an early warning system to help identify horrendous sales calls and annoying people.
Let’s think for a moment about the prospective customer/decision maker you are trying to reach and earn the right to a conversation or meeting with. Based on internal business meetings, priorities, challenges and conflicts, their to-do list likely does not include this unexpected phone call from you. Adding to this constantly-growing list, how many times a day does a decision maker have to fend off internal interruptions, meetings, annoying bosses and colleagues, new challenges and the countless sales pitches from people and companies they have never heard of? How many of the sales calls are from people who are rude, not prepared to answer questions, do not ask relevant questions, do not listen, use tricks of the trade, trash talk competitors and other annoying tactics?
This is the reality of life with sales people.
Sales is a profession like many others; some people are good at it and others are not. As a sales person in most situations, your job is to help your company grow through the retention of loyal customers as well as engage directly with decision makers at new target companies or new calls or visits to your company. Your work requires you to identify customer needs, evaluate the opportunities and develop a solid and valuable solution for each customer. People and companies do not want to buy stuff they do not need and they do not want to waste time with those who don’t add value and are not aligned with their individual and business goals.
Stop being annoying!
Here are eight behaviors that customers find annoying and likely drive them away from your call or meeting you at an event:
Annoying Behavior No. 1: Disrespect for the decision maker’s priorities. Beyond a successful interruption, you might demonstrate a lack of awareness and understanding of the decision maker’s role, responsibilities and priorities.
Annoying Behavior No. 2: Wasting the decision maker’s time. The obligatory chit-chat and weather check can be an assumed rapport builder. Not knowing who the prospects are or what they do, not being organized and being tied to reading a script are indicators that you are just smiling and dialing.
Annoying Behavior No. 3: Not knowing enough about their business. Asking a prospect what they do indicates you are a novice and a lack of preparation. You fall short of demonstrating how you fit as a proven resource.
Annoying Behavior No. 4: Not having a clear WIIFM for the decision maker. It is frustrating if a seller can’t answer the question “What’s in it for me?” or if a seller does not do the work to understand the prospects’ current situation, where they want to be, the value of achieving these results and the urgency of a better solution. It is hard to present a clear path on how you are aligned with the prospects’ priorities if you are not focused on their buying needs, challenges, goals, budget and urgency.
Annoying Behavior No. 5: Demonstrating poor communications, relationship and rapport building skills. You talk too much, interrupt and do not listen to key things already shared. There may be a high level of self-promotion, blowing your horn, bragging, unsolicited opinions and name dropping.
Annoying Behavior No. 6: Using sales tricks and gimmicks. Many people go to sales trainings and read book on selling. Use of manipulative techniques and gimmicks are easy to spot.
Annoying Behavior No. 7: Trashing your competition. Every decision made has a range of options. Trashing the current supplier sends a strong signal that the buyer’s previous decisions were not well thought out.
Annoying Behavior No. 8: Complaining and whining. They get enough of that from their own team so why share your unwelcome dissatisfaction.
So, what can you do to be less annoying?
As humans we want other people to think highly of us and trust us. In business and in sales it is vital to our success that our ability to present our ideas and ourselves does not backfire. Selling is hard work that requires skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to engage and help prospects and customers achieve their desired results.
Try these five steps to help you come across as less annoying:
Be Less Annoying Step No. 1: Assess yourself. With the help of others, identify your skills gaps or behaviors that you need to address to help you get better and more consistent results.
Be Less Annoying Step No. 2: Be relevant. Figure out what you need to do to be pertinent to your target
customers and earn the right to a conversation, a meeting and a relationship.
Be Less Annoying Step No. 3: Be prepared. Make sure you are poised to be clear and confident on your next steps when you ask “On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the results you are getting with you current solution?”
Be Less Annoying Step No. 4: Be trustworthy. Know what it takes to build confidence and be a trusted resource to address your customers’ needs.
Be Less Annoying Step No. 5: Think chemistry. Understand how your personality and behaviors might cause prospects and customers to be annoyed with you.
Demonstrate that meeting with you can help customers and prospects solve their problems and achieve that higher level of satisfaction. Make each interaction valuable and aligned with the customers’ or the prospects’ priorities at the time needed.
Make the time decision makers and buyers spend with you worthwhile. Help them see their time with you as an investment, and your effort will pay off.
Wayne Bergman is a business and executive coach and founder of Consistent Business Growth. Questions or comments about this piece? Email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.