Five Unconventional Sales Strategies You Need to Know

  • 3 min read

Always be closing. Be a yes man. Don’t take no for an answer! There are so many clichés in the sales world, but not all of them impart best practices that will lead to success. 

In my experience, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works in sales. I’ve worked for companies that demanded employees follow their sales processes to the point it almost seemed like a cult. Salespeople must have autonomy–we need to think like entrepreneurs–by being the experts and owning our markets. This tactic isn’t as unconventional as one may think; just like entrepreneurship, sales is a craft that requires resiliency, honesty, organization and autonomy. 

That’s why it’s so important for salespeople to stay flexible and learn as much as they can to be able to serve customers to the best of their ability. When it comes to successful sales strategies, I’ve found that sometimes the seemingly unconventional methods most accurately reflect real situations, and ultimately lead salespeople to the best course of action.

Here are five unconventional, yet tried and true, sales strategies to practice this year:


1. The customer is not always right. 

While you should always be respectful and pay close attention to what the customer is asking for, you shouldn’t blindly agree to every request just to close a sale. The most successful salespeople know that honesty and transparency are key to long-lasting client relationships. 

In practice, this means not lying or making something up in response to a customer’s inquiry (such as offering a solution when, in fact, your product does not solve their key problem). Customers also may have a certain feature or solution in mind that may not necessarily be the best for their business. 

Salespeople should act as a trusted resource and use their experience and knowledge of a product to steer customers away from something that won’t achieve their desired results and toward something that is a better fit, even if it’s not something their company is offering at the time.


2. Practice doesn’t always make perfect. 

The traditional statement implies that after a certain amount of practice, you’re a pro and therefore don’t need to practice anymore. In sales, learning should never end. Salespeople should constantly be educating themselves on the market, the latest features of what they’re selling, how customers are using their product, how their industry is evolving, and how their prospects and customers are reacting to market changes. 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in sales for 20 years; there is always more to learn to  hone your skills.


3. Say “I don’t know.” 

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something. Feel confident in offering to follow up shortly after your conversation–“I just want to check on that and I’ll get back to you.” This builds another level of trust with your client; first, they know that everything you’ve answered thus far is accurate and correct, or else you would have said so. Second, following through quickly gains you respect and allows you to continue a relationship built off of honesty. 


4. Don’t settle for your quotas. 

It’s important to consider whether everything is truly optimized. If you’re consistently meeting your quotas, it may be time to evaluate your KPIs and see if you can be more aggressive in your goals. There is an art and science to fine-tuning the overall sales strategy, which needs to be evaluated and improved over time to reach its maximum potential. 


5. Ask basic questions before shooting for the moon.

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask any question you’re embarrassed to ask about their business. Don’t worry about being perceived as not smart; ego can sometimes get in the way, misaligning messaging and creating mistrust. Put your ego aside and ask the question that will give you the information you need in order to help the client. In the end, be authentic, always.  

Conventional wisdom shows that people buy based on relationships and trust, which is especially true right now in challenging times. As you put some of these more unconventional tips into practice, always remember that great salespeople–like great entrepreneurs–hone their craft over time. Stay resilient.

Raul Perdigão Silva Pipedrive headshot

Raul Perdigão Silva is the global head of inside sales at Pipedrive, the first CRM platform built from the salesperson’s point of view. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

  • Originally published July 27, 2020