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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It's Only Common Sense
By Dan Beaulieu
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It’s Only Common Sense: My 10 Favorite Creative Sales Tactics
The best salespeople use the best techniques they’ve learned over the years. Some of them are original, others are learned. Sometimes they are handed down over the years from one generation to another. Some are interesting, while others are a bit hokey, to say the least.
When I was a very young sales manager, I had an extremely successful sales rep, Tom, on Long Island. I was working at Rockwell and Tom handled Sperry, our largest commercial account, in Great Neck, Long Island, for which we build the boards for the MK-Navy Frigates guidance control systems. It was a military program but at Rockwell, anything that wasn’t Rockwell was called “commercial.”
Tom had a bunch of other principals, and I knew from being at his house on Long Island Sound that he wasn’t hurting for dough. Now, here is the interesting part. Tom felt that it was bad for business to let his customers (and his principals for that matter) know that he was rich. When I flew into LaGuardia, he would pick me up in a beat-up maroon Plymouth Valiant instead of the Mercedes station wagon or the Cadillac sedan de Ville that were parked in his garage. His suits and sports coats were strictly Robert Hall (remember them?), and he carried a little vinyl attaché case that he had bought at a drugstore for five bucks. There was no way he would ever let on that he was doing well. “It helps with negotiations,” he would tell me when I’d ask him about it, and then I’d laugh about it. But Tom, well, he never laughed about this. It was part of his sales tactics.
Ever since, I have been collecting other sales tactics. I won’t pretend that these actually work, but hey, you have to give things a try. So, for your sales entertainment pleasure, here are some of my favorite creative sales tactics:
- The Reverse Pitch: Instead of selling a product or service, the salesperson asks the buyer to pitch why they should consider buying this product. The tactic is supposed to turn the tables and engage the customer’s creativity.
- The Surprise Bonus: Offering an unexpected bonus or add-on item during the sales process creates a sense of urgency and excitement, motivating the customer to make a quick decision. Full disclosure, I once bought a 1993 Mercury Villager because they threw in an offer for 50 frozen pizzas. The funny part is that I thought I was getting coupons, but instead I really got a Villager full of frozen pizzas and I had to stop at Best Buy on the way home to buy a freezer.
- The Gamification Approach: Turning the sales process into a game or competition with rewards can incentivize potential customers and make the experience more enjoyable.
- The Scarcity Technique: Introduces the concept of limited availability or exclusive access to the product or service can create a fear of missing out, driving potential customers to act quickly.
- The Nostalgia Factor: Tapping into the customers’ sense of nostalgia by bringing back older revamped versions of products or using retro-themed marketing campaigns. I got this idea from the personal experience of two of my car-nut friends: One of them bought a brand new 2002 Chrysler 300 because of the clock in the middle of the dashboard. The other bought a new 1999 Honda two-seat sports car because it had brought back the push-button starter.
- The Community Experience: Creating a sense of community around the product or service where customers feel connected to like-minded individuals and have a space to share experience.
- The Pay What You Want Model: Allowing customers to set their own pricing for a product or service which can increase sales volume and generate good will. Don’t really know how this one works, and I cannot really recommend you try it with the wise-guy buyers we have in our industry. You might live to regret it.
- The Celebrity Endorsement Surprise: Surprising customers with a video message or interaction for a celebrity or influencer endorsing the product, adding a touch of excitement and credibility. This one reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George buys Jon Voight’s LeBaron.
- Th Storytelling Sale: Telling compelling and relatable stories that highlight the product’s benefits and how it has positively impacted others can build an emotional connection with prospects. This one is not bad. In fact, we use this one more than ever today.
- The Social Proof Parade: This one works, and we use it all the time. Utilizing customer testimonials and success stories, case studies, and video reviews to showcase successful experiences with the product by providing social proof of its value and effectiveness. This is a good one. One out of 10 isn’t too bad, right?
All kidding aside, I think these tactics were good and effective in their day. But the real point here is that they are tactics, and they exemply the fact that the salespeople who have used them were indeed creative and committed to success. What sales tactics do you use? I’d love to hear about them.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.
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It’s Only Common Sense: Going Well Beyond the Norm
It’s Only Common Sense: The Face of Your Company—Customer Service
It’s Only Common Sense: 24 Mistakes Salespeople Make
It’s Only Common Sense: 9 Proven Reasons Customers Buy From You
It’s Only Common Sense: What Makes a Great Leader?
It’s Only Common Sense: Groundbreaking Marketing Stories From the Past
It’s Only Common Sense: Don’t Fall in Love With Your Marketing