Avoid the Oversell...

This past week, I had the experience of encountering a very enthusiastic salesman. Although his product was an excellent one, I decided not to make the purchase. Why? Simply put, he was too insistent. Not persistent, but insistent. Overselling can viewed from two angles: one, where the sales person hypes the product to be more than what it really is; and two, where the sales person constantly bombards the potential buyer with reasons why he should make the purchases. The latter can border on nagging or harassment.

Customers are reasonable people – well, most customers are reasonable people and their intelligence and patience levels are much like ours. Take this example: a vendor has a product and offers to sell it to a potential buyer. The client wasn’t really looking, but the vendor is certainly looking for potential clients. So, he makes an offer to the client. Client says he may look into it and will get back to the vendor soon. The vendor hardly waits twenty-four hours until he calls and mentions that he will have a special offer for the client. Then he sends an email with a brochure and asks the potential client for his thoughts. If that weren’t enough, he then calls the client again and leaves a message, asking if the client has any family members who may also be interested. Overselling? Yes, indeed!

Then there is the sales person who insists that her product is ‘the best on the market…but wait, there’s more!!!” This is one of the biggest culprits to losing a deal – exaggerating the qualities of the product so that you actually disappoint the customer in the end; or insulting the customer’s intelligence so that they don’t wish to make a purchase. The prospect may feel overwhelmed or turned off; or a combination of the two. Either way, you want to attract, not dispel.

While these are all lessons for us in the area of selling, it is very important to ensure that your people understand the dangers of overselling as well. At your weekly sales meetings (and I sincerely hope you meet every week!) ensure that your team understand that sometimes the soft-sell approach may augur better in the long run. Asking questions of the customer would help us understand their actual needs and wants, as opposed to selling them something quite out of the ordinary.

Although there seems to be a natural tendency to oversell when it comes to the excitement about the product; the desire to make sales and hit targets, keeping the client happy is what really matters most.