In a sales environment, competition is what makes the world go round. No matter how many times you have your sales people put on name tags and do team building activities, having a salary that is augmented by or dependant on sales commissions means that your business environment if fundamentally dog eat dog. Though most salespeople are not bad people, some of the techniques that they have to resort to in order to gain the edge over the competition are less than savory. It's called high pressure selling.

In high pressure selling, salespeople attempt to push the product, whether it be a car or high end jewelry, onto a customer who doesn't want it or isn't sure whether they want it. By dominating the conversation and giving the customer little time to question, protest, or refuse, the salesperson throws the customer off balance to the point where they will simply agree to purchase the product to gain reprieve from the salesperson. Once the pressure is off and the transaction is over, many customers feel ill-used and cheated and regret making the purchase. You can always shop at a non-commission based sales company, pressure free.

The above example is an extreme one. Because obvious aggression is a turnoff and many people would rather respond with their own aggression or leave the scene rather than acquiesce, most salespeople try to be less obvious about putting the pressure on. Instead, they will continue to engage the customer's attention on the positive aspects of their product or service in a friendly manner despite the customer's reluctance to engage. By glossing over the products weak points or failings, salesperson can still close the deal without giving the customer time to think.

All salespeople have to be assertive in order to get customers' attention and sell the product they've been hired to sell, but when assertiveness becomes aggressiveness then their tactics are said to be high pressure. In a high pressure situation, the customer will feel sold at rather than sold to, as the salesperson generally fails to relate to the customer's needs, wants, and concerns. If the salesperson then attempts to finalize the sale without indication of interest from the customer or displays rude or disrespectful behavior, then it's a dead giveaway.

So how do you encourage your salespeople to get results without also encouraging them to use unsavory high pressure selling tactics? Training and monitoring are key. By making sure your salespeople have the proper training in customer relations and the dos and dont's of selling, by attending team building events to soften the edge of the competitive atmosphere, and by bringing sanctions against salespeople who overstep their bounds and rewarding those who care about their customers, you can change the culture.

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