What is 'Over-Selling'

Over-selling occurs when a salesperson continues their sales pitch after the customer has already decided to purchase. This mistake can sometimes annoy the customer and could potentially cause the customer to change their mind, causing the deal to fall through.

Breaking Down 'Over-Selling'

Over-selling can also be an effort to convince a customer that an extra item would enhance what they are looking to buy, or that a more expensive version might be a better option. Over-selling is most common in retail outlets where associates work off on commission basis or through sales-linked  bonuses, and thus have an incentive to sell as much as possible, regardless of the customers' needs. Car dealerships are often accused of over-selling. Their sales associates sometimes fail to recognize that they can generate significantly more revenue through return customers and referrals than they can by misleading customers into paying for extras they neither need nor want. They are willing to sacrifice long-term brand equity for short-term sales by selling customers on anything and everything. 

Disadvantages of Over-Selling

Although it may be done with good intentions, over-selling usually does more harm than good. Great salespeople know when to close the sale and when the customer is ready to buy. Over-selling can have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line. It can also raise doubts in the mind of a buyer and can do so at the precise moment when the customer is looking for a reason to believe that they are making the right choice. Over-selling gives a buyer a reason to pause and ask themselves if they are paying too much, or if the item is more than what they need. Even if the buyer doesn't backpedal in an over-sell situation, the salesperson risks creating false expectations that can never be met, in which case they could be damaging their credibility as a trusted salesperson.

There are reasons to believe that the pitfalls associated with over-selling are worse today than ever before. Research shows that today’s buyers are more informed and better educated than ever before. With virtually an unlimited access to information, buyers have likely done their share of research, and may have even made up their mind before ever speaking with a sales professional. This access to information has changed the sales dynamic, as sales reps are no longer a consumer’s only source of information. Often, salespeople would benefit from a soft sell or presenting various options to customers. Need-based selling is usually a preferable alternative to over-selling.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Customer

    A customer is an individual or business that purchases the goods ...
  2. Soft Sell

    Soft sell refers to an advertising and sales approach that features ...
  3. Always Be Closing - ABC

    Always Be Closing (ABC) is retail jargon used to describe a sales ...
  4. Inside Sales

    Inside sales is the sale of products or services by personnel ...
  5. Mass Customization

    The process of delivering wide-market goods and services that ...
  6. Sale

    A sale is a transaction between two parties where the buyer receives ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    The Sales Commission Dilemma

    These professionals' interests may not always align with your own. Find out how to protect yourself.
  2. Insights

    It’s Time to Embrace the DOL Fiduciary Rule

    The new fiduciary rule levels the playing field for investors.
  3. Personal Finance

    7 Interview Don'ts

    Knowing what not to do will lead to a more successful interview and help you land that job.
  4. Financial Advisor

    How to Dodge Brokers Using Smarmy Sales Tactics

    Many finance professionals use illegal, high-pressure sales tactics to sell bad securities to investors. Here's how to know if you're being swindled.
  5. Small Business

    7 steps to selling your small business

    Selling your small business is often a complex venture. These seven considerations can help you build a solid plan for profit and lead to success.
  6. Investing

    Playing hardball when selling your home

    Are you planning on selling your house? Learn these strategies to help you get you a better deal in house sale.
  7. Insights

    Tips For Face-to-Face Buying And Selling

    Be aware of these dangers when buying or selling goods in person.
  8. Personal Finance

    5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips

    Reducing the amount you spend is the easiest way to make your money grow.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are some examples of moral hazard in the business world?

    Moral hazard occurs when one party to an agreement engages in risky behavior because it knows the other party bears the consequences ... Read Answer >>
  2. What impact does brand equity have on profit margins?

    Learn how both positive and negative brand equity affects profit margins by influencing profit per customer, sales volume ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between revenue and sales?

    Revenue is the income a company generates before any expenses are taken out. Sales are the proceeds from the selling of goods ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center