Consider a scenario in which you enter a department store and the employee does not just say, "If you need help, let me know," and then lets you browse. Instead, they follow you down every aisle, droning on about every piece of apparel you glance at and nagging, "Do you need help right now?"
Although they presumably have the best of intentions, their actions come across as desperate and intrusive rather than admirable and beneficial. B2B sales operate under the same tenet. While being overly polite and helpful to customers may be absolutely acceptable in theory, in fact, it can undercut sales representatives' efforts and actually make things worse for customers.
Let's examine the reasons why being overly helpful hinders sales as well as some traits that sales representatives should avoid when doing their activities.
Why Overly Helpful Behavior Harms Sales
The majority of the burden from B2B sales typically falls on prospects because buyers are continually flooded with purchasing options and information. They have to think carefully about every purchase they make because making the wrong choice could have long-term repercussions.
They're undoubtedly in a difficult situation, so it would be in your and their best interests to avoid making it worse. It can be difficult to empower your prospects, but you must do so. It can appear that "empower" is one of those trendy terms that is difficult to define.
Even while that might be the case, I can think of two behaviors that categorically fall outside of that category. Neither completely ceding control of a conversation to a prospect nor inundating potential clients with excessive attention or passion are examples of empowerment.
The delicate art of guiding prospects without overpowering them is empowerment in sales. In order to make the customer feel like their time with you was well spent, it's important to listen more than you talk, make excellent discoveries along the route, and provide back enough specialized information.
You'll lose that equilibrium if you're too submissive or intrusive. Sadly, some salespeople confuse having those traits with being helpful. And in certain situations, being overly accommodating becomes more of a liability than a benefit to successful sales attempts.
The goal of a sale is to make the purchasing process as simple as possible for your prospects because the world is one where buyers rule. When performing your sales efforts, there are particular strategies and habits you need to avoid if you want to strike the right balance between providing direction and allowing for some breathing room.
1. Excessive Responsiveness
One of the most typical "unhelpfully helpful" actions that reps engage in while responding to prospects is being too aggressive, overbearing, and insistent. Give your potential consumers some credit; they are experts in their own right. When marketing to them, you don't have to take them through every step.
They generally don't want or need you to hold their hand during the purchasing process like you would a young child at a crosswalk; this is especially true if you are continually attempting to move them forward. You need to approach your outreach with greater composure, relevance, and reason.
adopt a more directive stance. This entails not only instructing potential customers on what and how to buy but also providing extremely specific, targeted advice on whatever information is truly crucial in light of what they've shared with you. In order to foster trust, let them know which solutions will provide the most value and be honest about those that won't.
Pay attention to the stakeholders who must be involved in the purchasing process. Recognize the questions they're most likely to ask and how to effectively respond to them quickly when they do. Giving the consumer too much information might make the transaction frustrating for them and make them feel unheard.
I'm not suggesting that you ignore your prospects; rather, I advise you to stop and think about how many times you've already contacted each one and whether the information you want to provide would actually advance the sale.
2. Putting Too Much Stock In Approval
Building relationships, not making friends, is the focus of B2B sales. Finding friends to watch movies with and pedal tandem bicycles through the park is not the goal. In the end, it's a business transaction with a focus on expressing the worth of your offering.
It's not about whether you and a prospect get along personally; instead, it's about their interests and what your company can do to meet those needs.
You frequently lose focus on why you are speaking to your prospect in the first place when you care too much about being liked. Reps that struggle with this issue frequently become obsessed with building a personal connection with prospects rather than demonstrating how their solution is superior to the competition in terms of meeting those prospects' needs.
When this occurs, the salesperson may leave a meeting thinking it went well while the client feels it was a waste of their time and, what's more, they are unable to give honest criticism.
In these situations, sales representatives need to be aware of why they are selling in the first place and remember that they are doing a commercial transaction that is happening during working hours. The sale must come before how well they get along with the customer personally.
This does not need you to be obnoxious, haughty, icy, or callous. The point is that you shouldn't make having your prospects love everything about you your top goal when conducting sales. You still want them to like you somewhat.
3. Being Overly Wary Of Conflict
This idea is related to the one above. Reps frequently have trouble responding to objections and negotiating with prospects. When they encounter opposition and tension, their innate dislike of conflict comes through.
Some sales representatives believe that avoiding conflict and buckling under pressure will be useful, but it's crucial to remember that conflict, when managed properly, is normal and beneficial. They must be prepared to embrace discomfort and behave diplomatically and maturely in challenging circumstances.
A great salesperson is one who is willing to engage in productive disputes. Reps must be well-prepared and confident enough to address complaints patiently and completely.
One of the most crucial things a seller can have is the ability to explain in great detail to customers why a different solution or evaluation strategy won't work for them in light of your prior experiences.
You will miss out on important dialogues and chances to position your solution if you can't occasionally make a sale uncomfortable. Additionally, it will be more difficult for you to gain prospects' respect, and it will be more difficult for them to understand how to buy. And if you mess up all those details, you'll undoubtedly miss some lucrative opportunities.
4. Controlling The Discussion
When performing sales, salespeople can become a little jittery. They might become overly chatty as a result of being overexcited, overzealous, or just plain nervous. In these situations, they run the risk of taking control of the conversation, overwhelming their prospects with unrelated information, and preventing the person on the other side from contributing anything of substance.
Academic study is not sales. Most of the time, your interactions with prospects won't be lengthy lectures that end at the bell with no opportunity for questions. The interactions you have with prospects are precisely that: multi-person dialogues that are conversations.
By providing your prospect with an enormous amount of information, anticipating any concerns they might have, and listing every feature your product or service offers, you might believe you are assisting them. In actuality, though, you're either losing their attention outright or aggravating and confounding them.
Breathe in deeply. Let them express their worries so you can address them. Consider quiet a tool. As you listen to them, reassure them that you are taking what they are saying seriously. As I indicated, talks typically involve several persons; let's assume that is the case in this instance.
5. Allowing Prospects To Take Over the Discussion
Even while it's a terrible practice to talk over your prospects, the opposite is also ineffective. Allowing your prospect to express themselves in whatever they feel necessary might be comforting. It may appear as though you are involving them in the process, and that is crucial.
However, there is a difference between allowing potential clients to engage and allowing them to dominate the dialogue. Before guiding the customer to a more useful line of thinking, do not endure a 15-minute diatribe about technology and pain issues that are unrelated to the dialogue.
Keep in mind that you are on this call because you have work to complete. To effectively communicate your value proposition and have a fruitful conversation, you must take up adequate space in the debate.
You won't have time to explain why you're even having the conversation if you stand by and let a prospect talk over you. It's important to guide your conversations and balance them with empathy.
Keep in mind that you are the one making the pitch and they are the ones taking it into consideration as you sternly steer the conversation while providing room for objections and worries.
It's possible to be assertive without becoming hostile. The first thing you need to do is show them why your service or product is the greatest choice for them. Above everything things, make sure you address that.
I should make it clear that this post is not an "anti-help" attack piece that promotes using sarcasm and hostility when making sales. You must provide assistance to your potential customers, but assistance differs from hand-holding, especially if the latter is painful.
You must treat your prospects like professionals because that is what they are. Although it may be tempting to default to being overly polite and become agitated by silence or slow responses, you must maintain your composure and thoughtfulness. Additionally, if you are too helpful, you risk being neither.