In the world of sales, some advice can be helpful, while other nuggets of wisdom can be potentially damaging. If you’re a new sales rep or new to the promo industry, you may wonder what you should listen to and what you should tune out.

Zach Drollinger, the senior director of sales at Coursedog, has compiled a list of five pieces of terrible sales advice you should 100% not follow. Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for these ill-advised insights, along with guidance on what you should do instead.

  1. “Cast as wide a net as possible. Don’t worry about personalization.” Some people may try to tell you that sales is a numbers game and you’re wise to just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. This is terrible advice, Drollinger says, because sales is inherently a personal practice. People are naturally more receptive to outreach that has a personal touch. Should you scour your prospects’ Instagram accounts so you can bring up their latest vacation? No. But you can look for something professional to mention, like a recent career milestone or an article they published.|

  2. “Always be closing.” Drollinger admits it might be a hot take, but he believes the “always be closing” mentality is totally ineffective. Being aggressive, persistent and on the hunt for your next deal doesn’t really mesh with modern buyers. Instead, he says it’s better to be helpful and consultative. Assume the role of a promo adviser and strive to educate your prospects. Listen well, do your research and align your efforts with the prospect’s specific pain points.

  3. “Never take ‘no’ for an answer.” Sales requires persistence, but you should never power through until you hear what you want to hear. Objections are par for the course in sales, Drollinger says, and it’s up to you to skillfully manage them. Don’t force a relationship when it’s not the right time or the right fit. Always respect boundaries. You never know when the prospect may circle back at a better time.

  4. “Under promise and over deliver.” This may sound like solid advice, but it’s better to promise realistically and then work hard to deliver more. It’s disingenuous to set the bar low and then inevitably go beyond the prospect’s expectations. Drollinger recommends trusting your solution, selling honestly and working to produce results that are as impressive as possible.

  5. “Get personal, and let prospects know you did your homework.” There’s a difference between congratulating a prospect on a promo award they recently won and mentioning their kids by name and asking how they did at their recent basketball competition. When it comes down to it, sales engagements are professional interactions, Drollinger says. Don’t lose sight of that by getting too personal.

Just because someone passes along a piece of sales advice doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth following. If you hear that it’s best to “always be closing” or “never take ‘no’ for an answer,” you’ll know it’s flawed advice. Thank the other person for their suggestion and move on.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Zach Drollinger is the senior director of sales at Coursedog, an academic operations software.