Are you guilty of “hidden sales trolling”?

A shocking 68 per cent of businesses admitted to unnecessarily pestering existing customers for no good reason and with little or nothing to sell – the very definition of hidden sales trolling. This is worrisome given the fact that this will only irk your customers into finding a rival company because you just don’t understand their need.

In the view of the customer there are acceptable and unacceptable times to be contacted. If you’re not sending out a newsletter, personalised email or discount vouchers and sales alerts, then don’t merely contact them to remind them that you’re there.

“We all know what trolling is in social media terms but in the business world things are very different, not least because trolling is less well defined,” said Sales Commando MD Doug Tucker. “And yet on a daily basis it’s happening and often by sales people who do not realise they’re doing it.”

The company has identified two types of business trolls that businesses should be wary of. 

“The first type is the one who knows what they’re doing. For example, PPI recorded telephone messages, water cooler and franking machine emails, invites to advertise on spurious print projects – the list goes on. This isn’t spam, it’s trolling and, however uncomfortable, we’ve come to recognise it and live with it.

“The second type of troll are sales people who, no matter how innocently, contact their clients at least weekly to see how things are going and this hidden sales trolling has to stop.

“The fact is, the more you pester an existing customer for repeat business without anything to say or legitimately sell, the more that customer will form a negative opinion of you and – in social media terms – will eventually block you. This is absolutely destructive for long term business.”

In response, Sales Commando recommends a simple five point plan to rise above the trolling trap and gain proper long term sales success. 

The five points are:

  1. Research your customer and understand their needs;
  2. Learn to respect your customer and their daily working demands;
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, ask your customer “what’s going on”;
  4. Find a problem your customer has and answer it with a solution; and 
  5. Give your customer an experience that will get them coming back to you.
There’s no doubt that hidden trolling damages business and it’s happening at an alarming rate, as Sales Commando research has proven. 

“In business terms, hidden trolling breaks confidence between the sales person and customer,” Tucker added. “It’s equivalent to door to door sales – harassment that ultimately ends in zero sales.” 

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