I Said “No More Salespeople, Please”
May 23, 2017

I Said “No More Salespeople, Please”

by Brian de Haaff

I bet at some point, you have done it — you hid from a salesperson. You did not want to be rude, but you also did not want to be bothered with the hard sell. The goal was to get done and be gone before they could harass you. This happened to me recently when I was test-driving a new car.

When we arrived back to the lot, the salesperson was agitated that we were not ready to purchase. He actually asked why we were there. “To test-drive the car,” my oldest son calmly responded.

Most people do not want to be pressured into buying anything. If you have read my posts before, then you know that I reject the idea that you need a hungry and commissioned sales team to drive growth. I have found that there is a much better way to attract and keep customers.

You earn devotion from customers by being helpful, understanding what they need, and explaining if you think your product is a good fit. And you are ok if what you have is not a good fit. 

In my new, bestselling book Lovability, I share our approach to serving customers. It is based on principles we pioneered called The Responsive Method (TRM). This has helped us create an organizational mindset that makes traditional salespeople unnecessary, even obsolete.

No sales team is required in this approach, but there is hard work involved for sure. At Aha!, we do this by hiring former product managers for our Customer Success team. These experienced professionals take a consultative approach to helping customers towards the happy and successful use of Aha! Our team is able to connect with customers in a genuine way because we have faced the same challenges. And no one gets paid more or less based on whether the customers they help buy our service.

People reach out to sales teams at most companies because they need answers quickly. And if you just respond quickly and show the value your product has to offer, you have a much better chance of gaining a loyal customer than any sales pitch.

This is why our average worldwide response time at Aha! is less than two hours. Sometimes it just means a simple email exchange. Other times, we set up a one-on-one video call to learn more about a customer’s specific use case and offer guidance.

Our responsiveness translates into an experience our customers love. Then, they tell others about the experience. And a sustainable cycle is completed.

If you are ready for a new approach, here is how you can adopt the principles of TRM in your organization to support customers:

Be goal-first — Share goals so the entire team can keep the overarching strategy in mind while serving the customer.

Be curious — Ask plenty of questions and listen to learn more about the customer and the problem to be solved.

Be interrupt-driven — Stop what you are doing to help the customer get back on track immediately.

Be decisive — Do not make people wait. Strive to answer customers quickly, even if it is to answer “no.”

Be transparent — Tell the truth. If you must say “no” to a request, just explain why. People will appreciate your honesty.

Be kind — Treat your customers with respect. Life and business are better when you care.

If you strive to match your product with the customers who really want it, you will not need to worry about selling — just serving.

And yes, even with ultra-responsive service, not every customer will choose your product. But it will get you much closer than a sales pitch.

So, no more commissioned salespeople or high-pressure tactics. Please. Let your happy team and happy customers spread the word instead.

What other outdated business tactics do you wish would go away?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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