9 Antiquated Sales Strategies You Should Have Abandoned By Now

It’s a curious thought that we barely remember a time before the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We talk about those times in our lives as though they were the dark ages. With nothing else to do, we’d sit on a bus and stare empathetically out the window until we arrived at our stop. We had to actually call our friends up to make plans and had to show up on time.

And if we wanted to buy something, we had to physically go to the store, examine the product or rely on someone we personally knew who had already bought it to tell us if it was worth the purchase. As for finding good establishments? There were no review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Zomato to help consumers decide. Back in the day, that’s what television, radio, and the newspaper were for.

It all sounds a little dramatic when you think about it. It’s only been 20 years since the Internet has become mainstream. It’s only been 12 years since Facebook emerged and everyone, including brands, had accounts. And it was only 10 years ago that the first iPhone was released.

And yet here we are, thinking that life before the Internet, social media, and mobile devices was a lifetime ago – a generation that we talk about the same our grandparents talk about the days without electricity and how they had to travel miles on foot to reach their closest neighbour.

But while we reason that life before social media and mainstream Internet wasn’t that long ago, one thing we cannot deny is how fast things have changed. The Internet, mobile devices, and social media haven’t just disrupted the way we communicate, but it’s turned the world of sales and marketing upside-down.

Many salespeople and marketers were quick to keep up with the times, afraid to get left behind. However, there are some brands who are still set in their ways, thinking that old-school sales tactics will pay off if they’re patient enough when the reality is that those approaches are now obsolete.

If you’re still practicing any of these 9 outdated sales strategies, then you’re wasting your time:

1. Face-to-Face Sales Calls


Sales calls today are exactly that – calls. Decades ago, you would have to take the next flight out or drive for hours to make a “sales call” which essentially meant meeting a prospect in person to try to generate a sale.

These days, it’s no longer necessary to hop on a plane every time you want to meet a new client and wanted to build a relationship. In fact, showing up at someone’s office today just to meet them in person feels almost intrusive. That’s the reality of our modern world. We’ve become so accustomed to meeting people via email or video calls that showing up at anyone’s office would be perceived as pushing too hard for the sale.

2. Cold-Calling


You’re torturing your sales people if you’re still asking them to make cold calls. Even before the Internet disrupted marketing as we know it, cold calling’s effectivity was already waning as more people started to use Caller ID to screen their calls for those obnoxious telemarketers.

Cold calling today is not only ineffective, but it’s costing you money. According to Ovation Sales Group, the average salesperson spends 6.25 hours to set one appointment, and Leap Job found that only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment. That’s a lot of man hours dedicated to locking in just one appointment that’s not even guaranteed to convert into a sale.

3. Overselling


Everything is happening at a much faster pace now. What used to be a six-month sales process would now be a 28 to 56-day sales cycle. Thanks to the Internet and connectivity, there are no longer dramatic long pauses between pitching the product to closing the deal.

This means you can no longer sensationalize your brand and what you’re selling in the hopes that no one will figure the truth between the time the prospect was convinced by your performance and doing their own research to validate the real numbers. Everything can pretty much now be found online. Claim your product is loved by a celebrity? Where are the Instagram posts or the Tweets to prove it?

4. Selling vs. Solutions


To tell someone from sales to not sell seems absurd. However, we’ve come to a time when consumers don’t want to be sold to. They don’t want to hear about why your product is #1 or how it’s passed every certification or rating to make it the best of the best. Well, they do want to know that, but they don’t want other people telling them what they need.

What consumers want to know is how something will solve their problems and how your product or service is the solution to their issues.

Telling your prospects what they need was a tactic that worked back in the day when most families had one TV in their home, and they didn’t have Google to turn to verify if you are, in fact, the “only,” the “first,” or “one-of-a-kind.” Consumers are bombarded by so many options that you need to convince them why what you have to offer is not just unique, but unique to their specific needs.

5. Thinking That Creating a Social Media Account Is Enough


When marketers started to hear about social media marketing, many brands were quick to start creating their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They chose a nice image of their logo as their profile pic, filled out their profiles so it had their contact numbers and website. Maybe they posted a Facebook status or sent their first Tweet that they had joined the social realm. Soon, they were on LinkedIn and Instagram. And then they walked away, thinking that was enough.

It’s called a “social media presence” for a reason. If that’s where the majority of your prospects spend their time, that’s where you also need to be. You should be keeping your ear to the ground to know what this constantly evolving market is talking about. What are their needs? What are their problems? How do you nurture relationships with them?

Your social media marketing strategy involves much more than a profile that’s been filled out. It needs to be active, engaging, and visible.

6. Not “Smarketing”


Sales and marketing functioning as silos no longer has to be the way it’s done. Today, their efforts should be aligned. Ultimately, your goals are the same, and that’s to generate more sales and increase revenues. So why can’t you integrate your approaches to create frequent and direct communication between one another?

Because marketing is the one who produces the content such as the visual, ads, and resources, sales should be involved because they should know what kind of leads marketing is reeling in. When everyone’s efforts are aligned, the transfer from marketing over to sales is less likely to leak. Transitions are more seamless, and you don’t lose money over leads losing interest, getting confused, or getting offended.

7. Trade Shows


There’s a reason why trade show attendance is declining. Those who organize trade shows say that there is still value in them. However, trade shows are only really reserved for specific industries such as technology. For obvious reasons, tech is better experienced and witnessed in person and in action.

However, for most other industries, trade shows are a thing of the past. Everything anyone wants to learn about your company, they can search for online. The reality is that the Internet is the new trade show venue and your website is now your trade show booth.

With trade show and field marketing becoming a thing of the past, it’s best to focus your efforts on more modern sales and marketing tactics such as building a strong online presence, investing in paid ads, creating quality content that establishes you as a leader in your industry, and being active on social media.

8. Casting Too Wide a Net


Outdated marketing tactics involved casting a very wide net and trying to catch as many fish as you can. Marketing then sifts through the hundreds or thousands of fish hoping that the sales team will consider own or two as hot prospects that they can run with. Today’s sales and marketing are highly targeted and personalized. It’s a waste of time and energy to be fishing in the wrong pond or catching too many fish that aren’t all hot leads.  

Stop treating all consumers as though they were potential customers. Your product or service only caters to a specific niche. Selling today is much different than it was 20 – 30 years ago. Now, you have the technology and the software to recognize who your hottest prospects are, what people in the industry are talking about, and what their problems are.

9. Not Leveraging Technology


And speaking of technology, sales and marketing now have the tools for everything from automation to CRMs to social media monitoring tools. These social media monitoring tools give us insight on our competitors and who the influencers in our industry are. And social listening tools allow us to stay on top of online conversations and measure sentiment. We are able to identify where our target markets are from and what their specific demographics are. With all the insight we gain from social media tools, there’s no excuse not to personalize our sales and marketing approach.

Wake up! We’re living in bold new world where those old sales tactics just won’t work anymore. Consumers have evolved as much as technology has. If you’re still up to your old tricks, you’ll quickly find yourself left behind.