Modern Sales Techniques: Moving Beyond Pushy and Slimy Tactics of the Past

I’m a small business owner, and I just got off the phone with a really pushy salesperson and I wanna talk about it because the pushy, slimy sales tactics of like the 90s and before don’t work in 2024 and people need to stop using them. Sales does not have to be slimy and gross and pushy. I say this as someone who sells products for a living. So if you don’t know a lot of like awards and press placements come with a fee. Like you don’t just get an award without paying something, whether it’s an application fee or you’re paying for them to send you a publication with you in it or a plaque.

So in the years past, I had wasted money on being in marquee who’s who. Not only is there this one time fee, but they haunt you for the next several years at least twice a year, trying to get you to renew and pay them more money. But that is not how the call starts. So I get a call this morning.

Hi, this is so and so from marquee. I just wanna make sure that your contact information is updated. Is this the right address? Is this the right email? Sounds innocuous, but that’s a red flag. Let me tell you why.

Old school sales tactics involve basically stacking agreements. So if they can get you to agree to something small, whether it’s a problem you’re having, confirming your contact information, whatever the case may be, they’re gonna keep stacking agreements to small things that are easy to say yes to until they get to the sales pitch. And by then, you’ve just been saying yes to everything. So it’s an easier yes if they can get you to stack agreements, at least that’s the old school pushy sales methodology, very MLM.

So he’s like, is this the right contact information? And I’m like, yes, but is there a fee associated with this? And immediately he’s like, oh, she’s on to me. And he’s like, well, you know, I wanna wait to talk about the fees until we need to confirm that all your information is on file first, whatever. This is all part of the sales script because stacking the agreements is a key psychological mind game that they play with you. But I know this, you can’t trick me. So I say, yeah, no, I’m not interested in wasting either of our time confirming contact information if there’s a fee associated with this because it’s just not worth it for me and I’m not interested.

So then what does he does the old school method of countering objections, which is by saying, oh, well, is it, was it not providing value for you? What was the problem? So I say, yeah, it didn’t really provide any value for me. And in the current economic climate, I need to be mindful of how I’m spending money in my small business.

Now countering objections is still a part of sales, but there’s a much better non slimy way to do it. The way he did it is to basically repeat back what I said to him so that I can feel like, oh, I’ve been heard. And then also to offer a downsell as another alternative. So he says, oh, so if I’m understanding, this is budgetary concerns and, you know, finding value. I know what he’s doing. But I say, yes. And he says, okay, so we can take the plaque off of it and still send you the booklet. And that would be, you know, $800. And I’m like, no. The answer is still no.

So then he tries another downsell. Well, you know, we can offer you, since this is the last, you know, time will be contacting you, we can offer you a 50% customer service credit and it’ll be $400. And I’m like, I’m not sure you’re hearing me. The answer is no.

The last sales tactic that he tried on me was basically to leverage this sunk cost fallacy. So like I had already paid for the initial fee years ago, and they have not been able to squeeze money out of me since. But he’s basically saying, well, you’re already a member with us. This is just part of the package. No, it’s not. Because if it was part of the package, I wouldn’t need to pay you again.

But people get really hung up in this sunk cost mindset where they think, well, I’ve already spent this money on it, so let me just keep going down this road. But that’s how you keep making bad decisions. Some costs should not be decision filters.

So I flat out tell him, listen, sales tactics of yesteryear do not work on people anymore, especially not on people like me. And this pushiness is not going to work. And then he’s like, oh, well, if you feel that I’m being pushy, I’m really sorry about that. That’s not what I’m intending to do. Of course it is. That’s exactly what he’s trying to do and succeeding at doing.

Eventually, I frustrated him. He knew we were not going anywhere. He just sighed and said, have a nice day and hung up because the unfortunate reality is people will still fall for it.

These old school tactics, even though it feels slimy and pushy, especially women, because we’ve been socialized to be people pleasers. But he called the wrong one. Today, sales does not have to feel or look like this at all. Modern, ethical sales techniques should be based on active listening and true, authentic, genuine connection with your customer. And then if you feel that your product, program or service is going to be a good fit for that customer’s problems, then you can connect the dots and explain to them why that is. Objections will still come up, but you can offer more education on the value of your product. You might be able to offer them some free value somehow and showing them different options that might be a better fit for them. So my guy at Marquis tried to do that, but he did it in a very pushy way, basically saying we’ve already spent money on this, so you have to keep spending money.

Once you’ve connected and educated, provided free value and options, the person may or may not be ready to purchase. Instead of continuing to push, give them space and offer that you’re available for questions, comments, concerns in the future. Maybe you can continue offering them free value and education by getting them on your newsletter list or sending them some resource that you have. The answer is not pushiness. The answer is more connection, more education and more value.

If price is an objection, but they’re still interested, you can offer payment plans like I have after pay on my website, or you can offer a smaller version. Like I have mini sizes of my products, but flat out if someone tells you no, they’re probably not the right customer for you. No is not an invitation to keep pushing. Sales does not have to be pushing and slimy and gross. Please stop following sales advice from decades of your.