Sales is the lifeblood of most businesses. It is a necessary activity needed to bring in a consistent flow of customers needed to sustain the business. After years in various sales roles, one thing I’ve learned is that irregardless of what type of product you are selling there are two totally different ways to approach selling; one way is to approach it from a mind frame that you are helping your customers fulfill a particular need, and the other way is to sell because you are simply looking to make a sale or a profit.

sales tactics
Image by Steven Pam

Unfortunately, many businesses choose the latter of the two approaches, they are much more concerned with meeting quotas and increasing bottom line than understanding and building long term relationships with their customers. This approach to selling often results in businesses using less than professional tactics to drive sales and risk turning people off or worse even their potential customers. Some of those tactics include:

Scarcity or Urgency

Scarcity is a very popular tactic used to entice customers to buy products by saying that there is only a limited amount available. Customers are urged to act quickly before they lose their chances of buying a product, this might be effective in the short term but if used consistently can actually lead to customers mistrusting your business.

Another sales ploy that many companies use is the “limited time” offers to generate quick sales. The tactic is generally accompanied with a low price that is said to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” offer. Like scarcity, the use of urgency is to generate quick sales but can quickly lead a poor reputation if used consistently.

Reciprocity

This sales tactic is one that plays on a customers emotions. It is where a customer is told they will get something free and then feel pressured to make a purchase. Many businesses use free gifts as a way to get their customers to want to buy something in return.

Many of us have downloaded the supposedly free program only to get a subscription expiring message twenty days later. If it is your goal to offer the free item in return for a purchase, then clearly state it to the customer so that they are well informed ahead of time and can make the appropriate decision.

Over Promising

Oftentimes businesses will try to smooth talk the customer or over promise results as an attempt to close a sale. This is done instead of genuine interactions. Sadly, many salespeople who offer customers the world do not deliver on what they promise.

The point is be honest with your customers. Plus, if your product or service is designed to meet the needs of the customer, there will be no need to resort to over promising to make the sale. The rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver, it has been shown to lead to higher satisfaction rate in customers.

Excessive Ads

In the online world where advertisement is highly visible to customers, we’ve all encountered that website that is strung with a slew of ads pushing the sale of a product. The truth of the matter is that people don’t like feeling like they are being sold to, and especially not when it is shoved in their face. There is nothing wrong with placing advertisements but it should be done tastefully to avoid overwhelming the customers.

Another inappropriate use of online advertisement is the tactic known as spam. We all know about spam and we all talk about how much we hate spam, yet it still amazes me how many companies still resort to the use of spam to sell products to customers.

Not only can spam be a huge turn off to most people, it is also illegal and can severely hurt a businesses’ online presence. According to SEO company in Atlanta, Everspark Interactive, businesses that are linked to spamming run the risk of being blacklisted by major search engines such as Google. Unfortunately, many businesses that outsource marketing and sales or use affiliate programs, might not realize their business is engaging in spam.

Aggressive Selling

This list will not be complete without the addition of aggressive selling by using excessive pressure to push a sale. No one wants to be pressured into buying something this is one of the prime reasons why people have such a negative perspective of sales people. The goal of the sales process should be in educating your potential customers about your product or service, and if it is appropriately designed to meet their needs, there would be no need to use the pressure tactic.

An additional food for thought, even if a customer was successfully pressured into buying an item when that item was not appropriate for them, it can lead to a sense of regret and that could prompt a negative review from the customer.

A businesses that focus too much on the sale itself and not enough on the customer will often resort to using unscrupulous sales tactics that can only do more harm than good in the long run. The primary goal of any successful sales strategy should be to develop and retain long term relationships with customers and business partners.

Do you know of any other annoying sales tactics? Please share in the comment box below

About the Author: Ebele Okocha is an internet entrepreneur who often consults with small businesses on their marketing and sales strategies. She is also a contributing author for SEO company in Atlanta, Everspark Interactive, a marketing firm dedicated to helping their clients reach their desired level of success with services ranging from branding and website creation to search engine optimization and copy writing services.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevenpam/162238697/