7 Things Salespeople Do That Make Them Look Desperate

As I sit in my training center watching traffic go by, I sometimes wonder to myself how many of those “passerby’s” are salespeople. Given how many professions there are in Michigan, and how many salespeople it takes to produce for the organizations part of each profession, there are many. As they drive by, I also wonder how many of them are heading to appointments that won’t go anywhere. Why? Because they haven’t done a good job qualifying or disqualifying the potential opportunity. Sometimes, dare I say, the salesperson is desperate? They may or may not feel this way when the process begins, but their actions say otherwise.

Below are 7 signs that you may look desperate to the buyer. If you are guilty of any of the listed items, you may want to take another look at your process, and adjust accordingly. It could be costly you dearly. Take a look at the list and evaluate yourself today.

  1. Talk too much: Between two people in a conversation the amount of time that goes by from the time you stop speaking and they speak, or the time it takes them to speak, then you speak, is .4 seconds. This means that on average, we are interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences much too frequently. Additionally, how can we learn what is important to our buyers if we don’t allow more time to go by between our conversational exchanges? You want to sell more? Ask open-ended questions and LISTEN to their answer.

    Furthermore, on average, people speak at a rate of about 175wpm. Amazingly enough, it is typical for someone to process between 400-600 wpm. This means that all of the control in a conversation goes to the listener.

    When we aren’t listening, we look like we don’t care, self-serving and desperate.

  1. Try to solve a problem too soon: Many salespeople, once they hear a problem, try to immediately solve it. Why? Because they think that if they can solve the issue, a sale is made. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that the problem that is often brought up in that meeting was not actually the real problem. There could be an underlying issue because of what they are bringing up. Or, it could be a smokescreen from a prospect that does not want to be judged or embarrassed by the real issue. The example we give in our training sessions is a doctor that upon hearing about your problem offers immediate surgery. In the medical profession, they call this malpractice. Although sales does not have a name for it, isn’t it the same thing? Salespeople that prescribe solutions too soon are committing “sales malpractice”! How can we prescribe a remedy before we actually understand what their issue is, and what we can do to solve it?   We cant’ and we shouldn’t. We can appear desperate hear as well. Therefore, to steal and old Stephen Covey phrase from “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, “seek to understand before you seek to be understood”.
  1. Quoting too soon: Just like trying to solve a problem too soon, another way we can look desperate is to offer to create a quotation or bid for someone too soon. There are some rules we have before quoting: nothing in the proposal should be a surprise. It should be discussed and bought into before offering a formal quote. They should be committed to you before you quote. They should be committed to solving the problem now. All good rules to live by. Don’t allow your quotations to do the selling for you. Present the quote as if it is a confirmation of everything already discussed and you appear less desperate, while your chances to succeed go up.
  1. Begging for an appointment: Examples of phrases that sound like you are begging for an appointment sound like this, “I’m just wondering if…”. “I was hoping we could…” “I’ll be in your area…”. When you use language like this, you could come off as inferior to them. In other words, maintain equal business stature.
  1. Assuming interest: Just because someone asks for a quote, or wants you to come out and “give you some ideas” does not mean they want to buy. And, it certainly doesn’t mean from you. Let me say it another way: interest does not indicate a purchase will be made. I wish it weren’t true, but sometimes I will feign interest when I am curious about a product or service. It doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it or even go past the proposal stage. Oftentimes, in order to have a salesperson come out and share information with us that we don’t intend to pay for, we will use phrases such as, “interested in, curious about, wondering about, looking into, hoping you could and researching…”. The desperate salesperson bites on this and heads on out. At the very least, they get excited. When these phrases come up, make it a practice to qualify or disqualify them quickly. Get to used to using phrases like, “Sounds great. Before I come out, mind if I ask you some questions?” You’ll waste less time, and sound more professional and certainly less desperate.
  1. “Sounding” desperate: When I listen to recorded conversations for coaching purposes, it is amazing what I find out. For the purposes of this article, let me simply say that salespeople can sound desperate when their inflections go in the wrong direction. In other words, when a salesperson first gets on the phone, his or her tonality should go down, while speaking fairly slowly and controlled. We call this “slow and low”. Often, the opposite occurs. Especially when nervous, the traditional salesperson’s tonality goes higher and faster. We call this “upswinging”. Remember “valley girl” speech? Kind of like that. The buyer senses your nervousness and the call goes south quickly. Keep your speed even, your pace balanced and let your natural voice come out to avoid sounding desperate.
  1. Offering discounts to secure business: Sometimes it is necessary to discount in order to get business. However, if we make it a regular practice, it will be difficult to survive. When we discount we send many negative messages to our prospect, like it our not. As example, it makes us look like we were padding the bill. It tells them that we are ok giving discounts in the future, it tells them that we don’t value or solution. It tells them that we aren’t the best, and we know it. And, lastly, it makes us look desperate. Learn how to sell at higher prices and make it a policy to only discount when absolutely necessary. By the way, you have my permission to never discount as well!

These are only some of the ways we can look desperate to our prospects and customers. If nothing else, learn to be mentally tougher, so you don’t ever come off looking desperate. Your solution could be the best available, but if you look desperate, prospects won’t want to work with you. After all, people want to do business with those that put them first, are professional and aren’t looking like they are trying to sell to them. So, mind these 7 rules and you are that much closer to a sale!

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