3 Time-Honored Sales Tactics that No Longer Work


The pandemic has changed our society and culture so much that several tried-and-true sales techniques are now not just ineffective but downright stupid. To wit:

1. Glad-handing

Pre-pandemic sales people used personal contact (a firm handshake, wining and dining, etc.) to build customer relationships. Now that it looks likely we’ll be living with some form of Covid for the next few years (and maybe forever), a winning face-to-face personality will get you absolutely nowhere. Ditto with the “I’m successful so you should buy from me” personal semiotics, like the tailored suit and the Rolex.

What works now is a personality and presentation that’s Zoom-friendly. This means a high-quality camera and microphone, professional-quality lighting and a background that’s simple and unique, but not too distracting.

2. Cold-calling

I recently received a sales training pitch that promised “more sales per 100 calls.” Everybody hates being cold-called because cold-callers are pests at best, scammers at worst. This is especially true for people who work from home and use a single phone for both personal and business.

3. Voice mails

Voice mail is in the 2020s as fax was in the 2000s. Some people are still using it, but an increasing number of workers (especially younger ones) don’t even think about it. It’s disappearing fast, so it’s a waste of time.

4. This email:

SUBJECT: I had an idea to get more eyeballs on your product.

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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