Beware of the Sales Advice You Read Online

Random Rants

I imagine there are some new sales reps out there who might get their information from just one source, take it as gospel, and as a result get stuck in the molasses of mediocrity.

They might be attempting unsound methods, while avoiding others they have been warned do not work, obediently drinking the Kool-Aid because they read it online from their guru.

Sales is part art (no pun intended) and part science. And it of course relies mostly on the individual performing the activity.

I don’t have all the answers.

I don’t suggest my way is the only way, and I don’t claim to have invented sales.

But what I do know is that I present a tremendous amount of common sense, which I find is the best way to minimize our chance for resistance and maximize our chance of success.

I didn’t originally plan on writing this as part of the weekly Tip that went out today (see it below), but TWO other sales newsletters that came in this morning within minutes of each other set me off.

One, from an anti-cold calling guy selling a program on how to do direct marketing and social media instead of picking up the phone—catering to the call avoidance crowd—said that one of the dumbest sales tips ever is calling business owners before and after hours and during lunch hours, when supposedly they tend to be alone in the office.

His feeling was that the only owners disorganized and inefficient enough to be in the office during those times couldn’t likely pay their bills or have the means to buy from you.

Huh? I had to re-read it to be sure it wasn’t a misprint. Nope, that’s what it said.

Of course, in reality, THAT is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, and an insult to every hard-working business owner, or anyone for that matter who actually is not just a 9-5 office worker. In other words, most of the people who are actually successful.

Not only an insult, but it’s just wrong.

Just like his claim that prospecting doesn’t work (OK, cold calling, and at least I will agree with the “cold” part not working).  Any successful sales rep has plenty of examples of reaching decision makers at odd hours, and selling to them.

Amazing.

And then, ironically enough, another email came in from one of the most widely-followed sales personalities about asking for referrals. Ironic from my perspective, because I already had the tip below all teed up and ready to go—on asking for referrals.

The other newsletter’s advice was to NOT ask for referrals, since if you try the advice of most referral experts, you’ll fail, and lose relationships and customers.

He referred to one of the “experts” as an “idiot” for suggesting you ask. Wow.

I guess that is news to people who have become quite wealthy by having a systematized referral program in place. (They probably worked odd hours at one point, but don’t need to now.)

The article goes on to present some solid material about earning referrals, which is true. If we do a great job, some people will be proactive advocates.

Most, however, do not have us at the top of their mind every waking moment, nor do they make it a daily top priority to send business our way. Yeah, as much as I’d like everyone to naturally bring me up in every conversation they have, it’s not happening.

Therefore we need to ask. It’s just like asking for the business; some will volunteer the sale because we did such a great job and the need is urgent, others need to be asked in order to move.

I just get exhausted when I see outrageous, definitive claims that contradict what has worked, and is working for people this very moment. It’s like saying,

“Despite your actual experience, jets do not really fly. There’s no way that much weight could defy gravity, be in the air and move.”

Ok, got that off my chest.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

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