5 Outdated Sales Tactics You Need to Avoid in 2016

I've preached it from the rooftops - the world of marketing has changed!  But on the flip-side of that, sales has changed a lot too.  Buyers are in control on an unprecedented level.  This means that if you're selling or marketing to them the same way you always have, then it's time to seriously considering throwing away those tired tactics with diminishing returns and start selling to people in a way that works better and costs less.  SO - let's look at the tactics you need to bid adieu to...

#1 Say NO to Cold Calling

This is seriously one of my most hated forms of marketing... like I seriously have to restrain myself from evil-ing the poor people that are just trying to do their job and call me all freaking day every single day until I'm ready to unplug the phone. So...


And I do mean stop!  Not just because it annoys me, but because it's a bad marketing tool that will only see it's successful decline even more than it already has.

According to http://www.nomorecoldcalling.com/stop-cold-calling :

Not only does cold calling have a low percentage return, those who cold call and those who receive cold calls rarely have a positive attitude about cold calls. Research by Huthwaite® surveyed both sellers and buyers about their attitudes on prospecting:

• 63 % of salespeople say cold calling is what they most dislike about their jobs
• 88 % of salespeople work for companies that consider prospecting important
• 91% of buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry
• 71% of buyers find cold calls annoying
• 88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers
 • 94% of buyers couldn’t remember a single prospector or message they had received during the last two years


Focus on warm calls.  Focus on activities that will endear you to your prospects and form a good relationship from the beginning. Instead of spending that time harassing people, spend it writing blog articles, making meaningful connections on social media and interacting with them.  After you have interest, THEN spend some time calling those people.  They've already expressed in an interest in your or your company and will be significantly more receptive to talking to you and the entire interaction will be more pleasant.

#2 Stop Overselling


Because today's buyer is sooo much more informed when they come to you, you don't have to spend time trying to shove your product down their throats to make the sale.  They have done their homework, and whether they are right or not, they come to you confident that they've looked into their options and know what they're talking about, so they don't need you to convince them to buy.

For seasoned salesmen, this can be super frustrating because you want to deliver your pitch - it's what you've practiced and what you know - but stop!  They don't want or need it anymore.


Start considering tactics that give you a chance to talk to them while they are doing their research.  Blogging and social media are great tools for this phase as well since most buyers turn to online sources for reviews and information about your services and/or your company.

5 Outdated Sales Tactics You Need to Avoid in 2016

#3 Focus More on WHY & less on WHAT


Stop focusing on how amazing your product and service are.  In today's economy, it's very rare that you are the only one that offers your products and services.  So stop putting all of the emphasis on WHAT you offer, and focus more on WHY you're a good fit for their specific needs.


  • Focus on explaining why you're different than your computers? And why is that better for them?
  • Why is your team, and your culture, better?  And why is it better for them?
  • Why are you different in how you deliver your product or service?  Any why is that better for them?

Do you notice the trend there?  You need to tie everything into how it benefits your prospect and focus more on you and your company instead of your products/services.

#4 Stop Talking AT Prospects

Using pushy, aggressive sales tactics can be good for sales in the short-term but it will harm your business in the long-term. No matter how good the salesperson is, if the prospects feel that they were manipulated or pressured into buying, they are unlikely to make a repeat purchase. And repeat purchase is the lifeblood of a stable business.
Sant Qiu - Profit Strategist @ Maneuver Marketing - from GrowthTribe.com


When you were the gatekeeper of information, you were used to spending a lot of your time pushing features down their throat and trying to keep their side of the conversation to a minimum with yes/no questions so you could overwhelm them with all the reasons they NEEDED your product.  Now they are more informed, and they know what features they want, and who else offers them other than you.

So, you aren't to get anywhere if you forget that your prospects are human and they make their decisions to buy largely based on how they feel about you when they meet you.  Remember - they are doing more research before they come to you, so they are already pretty sure that they want your product or service.  The only decision left to them is to whether they go to you or your competitor to buy it.


You need to spend more time listening to their concerns and questions, and talking with them about what a good solution would be so you can HELP them make a decision instead of telling them you are the decision they should make.  Be willing to be helpful and solve their problems instead of pushing for a quick win.   This leads me to the next point...

#5 Focus on the Relationship


Salesman are typically used to high-speed, high-pressure transactions - especially if you work on commission or have quotas to meet.  So it can feel natural to want to brush off a lead as soon as you identify that they won't be a good fit for your company.

What you might be forgetting though is that you never know who someone knows.  And this is especially true online.  While it's tempting to just hide behind your computer and forget that there's a human on the other end, you really should resist the urge.  Anything that happens online happens with an audience, and you can quickly damage your reputation with a few poorly chosen words.


Focus on having a real and meaningful conversation with every lead.  Treat every lead like a human being that you care about.

Help them figure out the best solution for them, even if it isn't you.  You might not see the return on these conversations as quickly, but that doesn't mean it won't pay off over time.  They will remember you and refer others to you in the future.  So be human.

Do you think that I left anything off of this short list?

If you can think of something that you think should be here and did not see please let me know in the comments.

Ashley Burnett

Web Ninja

One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.

I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.

My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.