Advisor Speak 23rd September 2014
10 things I hate about salesmen
Vikash Agarwal, DNS Wealth, Rourkela

imgbd There are many ways to learn about how to become a better salesperson. Vikash says a very effective way is to ask yourself what you hate about salesmen who approach you every day to sell you something for your professional or personal needs. Write down what irritates you most, look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself whether you too are unwittingly doing just that when you meet your clients and prospects. Vikash has listed out 10 things that he hates most about sales pitches he has seen, and is ensuring that he and his team steer clear of these pitfalls. Check out Vikash's top 10 hates and ensure that nobody in your team is practicing any of them.

As IFAs, we are in the business of selling our advisory services or selling financial products - either way, we are selling. We go out and meet new prospects and pitch our services, as best as we can. In trying to become better at selling and better at engaging with customers, one very effective method is to put yourself in the shoes of your clients, and look at what will and won't appeal to customers.

Its not at all difficult if you think for a moment, because you are actually a customer to so many salesmen who come knocking on your doors every day to try and sell you something - whether for use in your professional or personal life. I sat down and wrote down these 10 things that salesmen do that really bugs me, and puts me off as a customer. However good the product may be, I may not want to buy it from this salesman, because he irritated me. This list became very useful for me and my team - if I myself get put off by these 10 aspects, I need to ensure that none of us commit the same mistakes. I am sharing this with all my IFA friends through Wealth Forum - if you too get irritated when any salesman exhibits any of these 10 traits, please do make the effort to ensure that we don't commit the same mistakes when we deal with our clients.

  1. First impression : I don't like to deal with a salesman who is not clean and well groomed. The first impression itself is negative. All of us as customers have varying expectations, depending on what the salesman is selling. Street urchins sell flowers at traffic signals, flowers are also arranged into beautiful bouquets and sold at high end florists. The grooming, etiquette, language and behaviour expectations we have from both these salesmen is very different. Just the same way, if we think we are in the business of providing financial advisory services - of being a professional - we need to ensure that our grooming, cleanliness, etiquette and behaviour is consistent with what is expected from a professional. Before you walk out the door to go to work, look in the mirror and determine whether or not you look like someone you'd want to do business with.

  2. Do I need it? : One of the things that annoy me when I encounter some salespeople is when they try to sell me something I don't need or will never be in the market for. Some of them assume they know what I'm there for, while others interrupt me as I try to explain what I'm looking for. Needs based salespeople give me the feeling that they care about what I want, and it's their job to help me get whatever it is. These are the people I'll do business with over and over.

  3. Being judgmental : Salespeople who treat women different from men is a big put off, especially when they think that anyway it is the man who takes the decisions. A salesman who assumes that senior citizens won't understand computers anyway and therefore does not bother to address their queries properly, is a big put off. Somebody who comes to conclusions on how affluent a client is based on the clothes that he wears, and then becomes less respectful to the client, is a complete no-no for me. Any salesman who is judgmental is not somebody I will ever want to do business with.

  4. Getting to know your client : A salesman who attempts to hold a conversation with the prospects to find out more about them is doing the right thing - this is common courtesy that shows empathy and a caring nature. However, while you need to get to know the customer, also know where to draw the line. I've been annoyed by salesmen who pretend we've known each other all our lives. They've given me cutesy nicknames, told me supposed secrets, repeated jokes that made me blush, and said more than I want to know about their personal lives. Please keep the relationship professional.

  5. Mis-representation : Never misrepresent anything you are trying to sell. Lying about your product will only come back to haunt you later. As soon as I find out a salesperson has lied to me about anything during the presentation, I decide immediately that I will never do business with him.

  6. Keep your promises : If you can't deliver something on a certain date, don't pretend that you can. Let the customer know when you can have the product and offer to find a solution if that is a problem. Making unrealistic promises will break down all trust that you need to build a strong customer base.

  7. Talking down : Never talk down to someone when asked a question. A well-answered question is one step closer to a sale.

  8. Flexibility : If you can see that you're going in a direction with your sales explanation that the customer doesn't understand, try a different approach. Or if your customer seems uncomfortable with your sales tactics, be ready to change your strategy. Every client is different, and reacts differently to sales approaches. Having a standard pitch for all can be a put off for many.

  9. Acknowledge mistakes : Any time you deal with the public, you put yourself in a position of vulnerability to your own words and actions. You're likely to occasionally say the wrong thing or act in a way you later regret. If possible, apologize to the customer and don't ever make that mistake again.

  10. Don't lean on friends for business : Your pals may want to buy from you, but never apply pressure. That's a sure way to have them running the other way when they see you coming. Make sure your friends know that you don't expect anything from them other than friendship.

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