Your Prospects Want You To Stop Making These 10 Bad Sales Moves

Everyone is in sales.

EVERYONE has an agenda, a product, an idea, a position that they need to sell and on the flip side, we are ALL customers and prospective customers. At any given time, we are selling or being sold. So with a world full of Sales People, sometimes we are face to face with those that give “Selling” a bad name. Over the years, rudeness, desperation, insincerity, and self centered actions have become some of the norms associated with Sales Professionals People. But here’s to changing those perceptions – by pointing them out and sharing!

Many of these points you know, some are reminders. If you are executing everything perfectly here, GREAT! But, I’ll just bet you know a Sales Person or a whole herd of them that could use some fine tuning in some of these areas. Do the whole world a favor and pass these along!

Top 10 Sales Offenses – Customers Beg You to Stop Making These Bad Sales Moves:

  1. Over talking – Listening can be considered a life skill. If you’re in sales, listening is your Life Support. Rambling, excessive talking or the worst thing ever, Interrupting, is a big turn off to prospects {be it prospective customers, bosses, girlfriends, or partners}. “When you Talk you are only Repeating what you know; but when you Listen, you may Learn something new.” – Dalai Lama
  2. Over selling – Know when to stop talking, stop selling, and let the prospect think and breathe. You can actually talk yourself out of a sale if you don’t know when to quit. Nonverbal cues are helpful here to give you the heads up that it’s time to shut up.
  3. WIFM {What’s In It For Me?} – It’s not about you and what YOU think is valuable to me. Value is subjective. Value is earned. You can’t assign value to your customers. If a feature is not relevant or meaningful to the customer, it’s useless and of no benefit. See {many} TSA blog posts for Evangelism on Value.
  4. Death by Power Point – I don’t know about you, but I’ve not yet met anyone in business who enjoys being read aloud a Sales {or any business} presentation. “Death by Power Point” is very, very painful and rather than focusing on the word for word delivery of your carefully crafted slides, I promise you, your subject is thinking about how to politely wrap things up, contemplating faking a seizure or claiming he had bad chili for lunch and must end things immediately. I jest, but seriously, don’ Presentations are meant to be illustrations of meaningful information, not dissertations. If you can’t elaborate upon the information on the slide, you need more preparation and practice.
  5. Not knowing who I am {Being Unprepared} – I shouldn’t have to spend the first half of the meeting playing “catch up” with you about what I do, for whom I do it, who my competitors might be and how my business works. I have a website that will delightfully impart most of that information to you. Do the research to be prepared with questions that are specific to my business, my customers, my processes and use the meeting to unearth what I value, what I view as my problems and my needs so you can craft a solution. Calling or showing up without knowing spit about the business is just plain rude and you probably won’t be invited back.
  6. Going Off Topic – a little chatter, banter, casual conversation = great for building rapport. Lengthy details about your son’s tee ball championship season or your bunion surgery = snooze town for me. Let your customer drive the small talk after you open the can of polite but interesting chatter. Pay special attention to body language and Nonverbal cues to know when to move on.
  7. Make assumptions – about who makes the decisions, what they know, or don’t know. Many an “ass” have been made with this mistake. Ask who is involved, who needs to know what, and don’t assume that you are or are NOT talking to the person who will make the decision or who has the purchasing power to green light your sale. ASK.
  8. Not being upfront with pricing – hiding, covering, not pre-qualifying, or posturing to then offer big discounts. Show me the price, connect it to my value, calculate my ROI.
  9. Not Following Up – Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it and again, don’t assume a yes or no until your prospect tells you {or, you ASK}. Ask for the sale. Ask for the yes, or ask for the No but don’t leave a prospect in limbo.
  10. Being Unprofessional {and rude} – There are certain unwritten rules that, when broken, will get you chewed out by your grandmother and they all apply to being professional and being invited in to sit down and talk to a prospective customer as well. Grammy thinks these are rude and so do prospects:
    1. Being Late – don’t do it. Don’t do it or CALL if you’re going to be a few minutes late.
    2. Dressing for the Club or NOT this audience. You should never under dress. Style and grooming are personal but your appearance makes your first impression – what is yours saying for you?
    3. Put the phone down. Silence it first – in the lobby. Then put it own and don’t EVER look at it unless your client has asked to see a demo of your App. {And for this, I promise I will put mine away and give you my full attention}
    4. Use professional language and grammar. Your prospect sets the tone for how casual you can be. Don’t make them uncomfortable but if they’re the first to get cheeky, crack a joke or cut loose, then you can ease into their tone and language.


If you recognize these actions as some of your moves, it’s okay, now you can fix them. Chances are you’re sitting here, nodding your head because you’ve experienced many of these offenses by a sales person whom you’ve encountered recently. Do them a favor and email this article or print this out and mail it to them anonymously – whatever you’re comfortable doing – to make the world a better place with better Sales Professionals.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!



PS – Got more examples of Bad Sales Moves? Leave them in the comments below!

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Straightforward, practical and perhaps slightly cheeky, Shawn Karol Sandy's innate gift is helping people find new ways to solve old problems, unique ways to approach new problems and helping businesses re-invent themselves and their sales strategies. With Bold and Brave thought leadership and Clear Action Plans, her impact on business is Measurable and Meaningful and will lead your sales revolution to growth and revenue goals.

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3 Responses
  1. Jeff Williams

    Very nicely compliled. I will be sharing this with my sales team in our next meeting and using it as my outline/headers for my PowerPoint (just kidding).

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