We've all been there: working with or buying from a sales rep who's overly familiar, way too pushy, or could barely care you're there.
It's easy to forget that the overwhelming majority of sales reps are honest, hard-working people when the unsavory elements stick in our mind so easily.
Here are the 10 most common things that annoy customers about sales reps:
1) Trying too hard to relate - Building rapport is important if you want to make a sale, but people can pick up when you're trying too hard or simply pandering to them. Stick to being cordial and friendly, instead of relating everything the customer says back to your own life.
2) Not following through on promises - When building trust with a customer, it's critical that you honor all of your promises, including the small ones. If you say you're going to call at 3:30, then call at 3:30, not at 4, or the next day. Sales reps that follow through on their promises earn the customer's trust incrementally, and eventually earn the customer's business.
3) Talking instead of listening - This is arguably the biggest difference between the best sales reps and everyone else. Listening is a skill that most people lack, but sales reps that are able to close their mouth and let the customer speak will end up hearing from the customer exactly what it will take to close the sale.
4) Forgetting their name - It can be difficult to remember people's names, especially when there are so many other things racing through your mind when first meeting someone for a sales call. But you absolutely must know your prospect's name, and how they prefer to be addressed. Whether you need to write it down, perform a memory trick, or check your CRM (AppMesh is a great option), just make sure you know it.
5) Using their name too frequently - While it's important to remember the customer's name when you meet them, it's patronizing to start every sentence with "Mike, this product really..." Customers want to feel like they're important, but not like they're the family dog.
6) Not understanding their needs - One big reason why customers get frustrated and sales reps don't close deals is because they don't understand the customer's needs, instead pushing the customer into what the sales rep wants them to buy rather than what they're asking for. Strong sales reps know how to identify or create a need.
7) Dishonesty - Probably the most common misconception about sales reps is that all of them are liars. Even though it's not true across the board, of course, some are. The truth is, good sales reps don't need to lie, and the one who do are prioritizing the short term gain over the long-term win.
8) Disrespectful persistence - Persistence is one of the most important traits a sales rep can have, but there is a point where it becomes detrimental and extremely annoying. Calling someone over and over again, or at inappropriate hours, or after getting a hard 'no' crosses the line into inappropriate and harassing behavior. Be persistent, but don't cross the line.
9) Not answering direct questions - Sales reps are taught to not focus on price, to sell benefits instead of features, and to control the sales process. But some sales reps take it too far by ignoring or deflecting very direct questions. If a customer flat-out asks you something, answer the question in the most diplomatic way possible, but make sure the customer feels like you at least heard them when they asked.
10) Not caring - Newbie sales reps often close a bunch of business when starting out because they have the excitement and enthusiasm that comes with a new job. Customers can sense when someone cares about making them happy, and earning their business, and just as easily sense when someone doesn't care. So if you don't care about whether or not you can earn a customer's business, you might want to consider a different career.
Vidya is the head of marketing for AppMesh, the makers of SalesMesh. Prior to joining AppMesh, she worked for Salesforce. Her favorite sales movie is Tommy Boy.
SalesMesh is the personal CRM/sales app that works the way you sell. Automatically track customer interactions, notes, schedule follow-ups, collaborate with your network, sync to and from Salesforce all from your iPhone and iPad -- even when you're offline. Learn more here.