When Bad Sales Happen to Good People

When Bad Sales Happen to Good People

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

There’s good and bad in all professions. Sales is no exception. Surveys show the only thing lower than a salesman in the minds of many Americans is a politician.

I got a call from a guy who said he went to a car dealer with cash wanting a new car. The salesman was so bad he left without purchasing, still hasn’t purchased, and has told 2550 people how bad the experience was. Unfortunately this is far from an isolated experience. There are thousands of examples of poor salesmanship. But it isn’t you, is it?

Every business owner and sales pro reading this will swear, “It can’t happen here.” And they are dead wrong. Salespeople get cocky, think they know it all, think the customer is stupid or unwise to their tactics, treat everyone in the same manner, and end up losing the sale.

They fail to focus on the fundamental elements to position the customer or prospect for the buy.

Relax, you don’t always have to sell it if you do it right,
ninety five percent of the time the customer will buy it!

Here are ten common mistakes made by know-it-all salespeople (who actually know little or nothing):

  1. Prejudge the prospect Either by looks, dress or speech they have made up their mind what type of person this is, and whether they will buy, or have money.
  2. Poor prospect qualification Failure to ask the right questions about what the prospect wants or needs before the selling process begins.
  3. Not listening Concentrating on a selling angle instead of trying to understand how the prospect wants (needs) to buy.
  4. Condescending Acting or talking above (or talking down to) the prospect. Making the buyer feel unequal in the selling/buying process. Lack of respect.
  5. Pressure to buy today If you have to resort to those tactics, it’s because you are afraid of the customer finding a better deal elsewhere. Also indicates a “no relationship” attitude.
  6. Not addressing needs If you listen to the prospect, he or she will tell you exactly what they want or need. Sell back something that addresses those needs and the prospect will buy it. Don’t sell in terms of you, sell in terms of the prospect.
  7. Telegraphing closes and hard selling “If I can get you this price, will you buy it today?” is a repulsive sales line reserved for salespeople in need of training, or salespeople who like losing sales. When you close, don’t make it obvious.
  8. Making the buyer doubt your intentions If you change from friendly to pressure at the end of the presentation, or change terms or prices, the buyer loses confidence and you lose the sale.
  9. Lack of sincerity Sincerity is the key, if you can fake that you’ve got it made, is an old sales adage. It’s half true. Sincerity is the key to building trust and establishing a relationship with a prospect who will become a customer if you are successful at conveying the feeling.
  10. Poor attitude I’m doing you a favor by selling you. Don’t ask me to go out of my way, because I won’t.

Here is an easy self test to determine if you are losing customers:

Can you answer ‘yes’ to these…

  • Do I know my prospects needs before I begin the selling process?
  • Am I addressing the needs of the prospect during the sale?
  • Do I look at the prospect when they are talking?
  • Do I take notes and ask questions to determine my understanding?
  • Would I buy from me if I was the customer?
  • Am I sincere?
  • Will this customer bring another back for the same treatment?

I hope you can answer ‘no’ to these…

  • Do I use (high) pressure tactics to get the customer to buy today?
  • Do I have to resort to telling the customer about some sales contest or sob story to try to elicit the sale?
  • Do I use antiquated sales tactics and think my prospect is too stupid to know?
  • Do buyers doubt my intentions?
  • Are contracts being cancelled after the prospect goes home and thinks about it?

Whenever you’re frustrated or mad at a salesperson, please don’t be too hard on him or her. Usually in situations when poor salesmanship is at fault the blame goes to the person who trained them.


Sales Manager Success Rules. Don’t manage…lead! Just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user and enter the secret word SALES MANAGER in the GitBit box.