6 Unsavory Sales Tactics You Should Avoid

John Greene


12 min

Inside this article:

1. Pushiness

2. Selling Without Research

3. Feigning Interest

4. Overselling

5. Fake Promotions

6. Auto and Predictive Dialing

Wrapping Up Unsavory Sales Tactics You Should Avoid…

Sales shouldn’t be sleazy.

If you’re coming off like a used-car salesman desperate to make the next buck, then prospects will instantly get that unsavory type of vibe, and it’ll be nearly impossible to make the sale.

But even more subtle tactics can be unsavory - tactics that you might be using without even realizing it. And they could be undermining your sales efforts.

Just by avoiding these tactics, you’ll make a better impression on your prospects and improve your chances of making a sale.

So today, we’ll talk about a few unsavory sales tactics you should avoid.

1. Pushiness

Aggressiveness may have worked in the past, but prospects today are smarter, and more measured in their decision-making.

There’s something to be said for persistence - but you can overdo it by not respecting your prospects lack of interest, or by selling in a manner that's overly confident, aggressive, or pushy.

Research by Professor Steve W. Martin at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, illustrated that 85% of the top salespeople exhibited high levels of conscientiousness. They respect their prospects, and it shows.

Not only does forceful selling feel sleazy, it's damaging to your reputation and wasteful of your time. You end up convincing "put off" prospects rather than listening and finding solutions... or working with more qualified and interested prospects altogether.

2. Selling Without Research

The colder you go in, them more it sounds like you're fishing for a sale than targeting a genuine prospect with something they can benefit from.

When you target prospects effectively and do some qualifying and research, you show them you’ve actually taken their needs and problems into account.

You can tailor your pitch, your questions, and your solutions-based approach to their genuine needs, concerns, and hot-buttons.

It's a much better, and more effective way to go.

3. Feigning Interest

We’ve all been approached on the street by a seller asking, “Hey, how’s it going?” in an enthusiastic pitch.

Usually, we walk by these people without a second thought. We know the greeting is just a way for them to bridge to the sales pitch. It’s fake interest and it feels a little slimy.

Avoid feigning interest on your calls by starting with vague questions like “Hey, how’s your day going?” or “Is this a good time for you?”

These may seem like harmless, polite questions, but in reality, they’re a waste of your prospects’ time and can make you come off sales-y. They also give them an easy “out” to say no, put up their guard, or hang up.

Instead, craft a powerful opening statement that identifies who you are, answers the “What’s in it for me?” question, and ends with an engaging question.

4. Overselling

This is when you took your prospect up to the point of being ready to buy, but then continue trying to sell them.

They’re already sold, but you keep trying to hammer the point home and get them even more excited about it.

As a result, they begin to feel like they’re “being sold”, and it makes you seem like you’re trying a little too hard. Both of these are red flags for the prospect.

Instead, when you get a sense of when the prospect is ready to buy, go for the close. Don’t keep selling when they’re already bought in!

5. Fake Promotions

Promotions and special pricing can be an effective tactic for closing sales. Used correctly, they can add urgency and incite action. But make sure they're real.

Inflating a price to offer a discount, pretending you're offering a bonus that's not really a bonus, or telling someone they need to decide today when they don't are all unsavory ways to close a deal. And if they do work, you can kill your relationship (and reputation) when your customer finds out.

Play it straight. And live up to your word.

6. Auto and Predictive Dialing

Robo-calling, voicemail broadcasting, and auto-dialing are all high volume, low quality ways to sell. The same is true of multi-line predictive dialers that subject prospects to awkward delays followed by abrupt impersonal greetings.

It's an unsavory way to sell, and a surefire way to anger your precious leads.

predictive dialers meme

Yes, dialing technology can be a valuable tool for increasing agent productivity.

But single-line dialers like PhoneBurner are superior for sales, and far more respectful to prospective and existing clients - while still offering a major boost to productivity.

Your leads won't know they weren't dialed manually, and because you're on the line to hear "hello" you can begin conversations naturally.

Wrapping Up Unsavory Sales Tactics You Should Avoid…

The more authentic you are with your sales techniques, the better you’ll do. Prospects will feel like you’re adding value and presenting them with a good opportunity instead of trying to rip them off.

To recap, here are the scammy sales tactics you should avoid:

  • Repeatedly calling prospects when they're not interested, or using "hard-sell" aggressive tactics is inadvisable and ineffective.
  • Selling without research or proper targeting makes prospect feels like you don’t really understand their company or needs.
  • Faking interest comes off as sleazy and like you’re hiding an agenda.
  • Overselling your offer when the prospect has already bought in makes you seem like you're trying too hard
  • Faking promotions or value propositions to try to close a sale is dishonest and will cost you in the long-run
  • Using multi-line dialers is impersonal, detectable, and rubs prospects the wrong way

Chime in! What other sales tactics have you learned to avoid? Tell us in the comments.

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