A List of Sales Improvement Frauds

There are some who present ideas as if they are truths that one must follow to improve their sales. Here is a field guide to frauds.

The “Is Dead” Fraud: Those who insist that some prospecting methods no longer work. The more one insists that some method of prospecting no longer works—or soon won’t—the truer it is that individual is a fraud. This fraud almost always gains attention for themselves for feeding a salesperson’s fear of cold calling. This is true even if they hedge, suggesting that cold calling still works now, but that its demise is imminent. The easiest way to spot this fraud is to notice the regularity in which they write posts about cold calling on LinkedIn, that frequency indicating how much they need attention, as they normally measure their success in likes and comments (all of which come from their fraud peer group or those whose fears they intend to feed). No prospecting method is dead.

The “Social Only” Fraud: Those who insist that social channels produce better results than cold calling and one should exclude all others. Were this true, salespeople would already be experiencing the embarrassment of riches that these frauds promised were possible when they set up the mutual exclusivity of one medium outproducing any other. Let us call those who are not frauds “operators,” those people who actually produce results. Operators will tell you that you want to be omnichannel, using every prospecting method available. When results are necessary, more direct methods of asking to explore change outproduce the tools that nurture relationships (both of which are necessary, one taking more time to produce the outcome that is an opportunity). Frauds reject the idea that direct outreach is faster, suggesting instead that you write more blog posts and post more frequently to LinkedIn.

The “Henny Penny” Fraud: Those who suggest that the salesperson is irrelevant and that the buyer has parity when it comes to information and insight. Let us call this type of fraud Henny Penny, after the chicken that was hit on the head by an acorn and worked up the rest of the barnyard animals by telling them the sky is falling (a fable that results in almost all the characters dying at the end). More than any other, this group of frauds seems to be made up of those who used to work in sales but found it difficult to create compelling differentiation and sincerely believe that their experience is every salesperson’s experience. In every industry. In every corner of the Earth.

Let’s imagine you have sold what you sell now for 3 years. In that time, you have helped 36 companies buy what you sell and enjoy the benefit of the better outcomes you helped them generate. The buyers in each of these cases makes the decision to buy what you sell two or three times in their career. How could they know more, without the many and varied experiences it takes to really know how to produce results?

The “Fake News” Fraud: Those who share fraudulent facts about sales that lack the smallest hint of credibility. There is zero credible evidence that buyers no longer take phone calls, that they reject some number over 90 percent of all attempts through a cold outreach, or that over 80 percent of all opportunities come from recommendations. Even some of the facts that are well researched are misinterpreted and being used to suggest a course of action that was never intended. It only takes a few clicks to discover that what is presented as a fact is really a blog post written by a person in a company that sells some sort of technology that is going to “change the way we sell forever.” They write these posts and share these fake facts as a way to make the case for their offerings by suggesting they provide the answer to “why change now?”

The “Non-selling Expert” Fraud: Those who offer sales advice without ever having sold. There is a category of frauds made up of people who have never carried a quota, never had to create opportunities in white space, never sat across from a prospective client, and never had to win competitive deals in order to generate their income. They write about sales, some even being published on popular web sites and magazines.

Ideas are infections. Once you believe that something is true and adjust your actions to those beliefs, the consequences of your actions follow, no matter the harm that comes to you. Avoid frauds.

Filed under: Sales Knowledge

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