Do you ever listen to what you say and how you act with potential customers, and break it down afterwards? What do you think of your approach? Would you buy a security system from you?

Here are 16 things you should never do on a sales call. Some of these suggestions are just good common sense, and others fall into the category of offering something that is truly valuable to the customer, rather than offering everyone the same solution. Perhaps you are already using these tactics, and if so have realized their effectiveness.


  1.  Look like the other guy.  Too many of us talk about the same things our competitors do.  Best practice:  Give customers unique reasons to spend their hard-earned money with you.
  2. Say the same old things. Most sales presentations are filled with words that have been promised so many times by so many salespeople that they no longer have any impact — words such as “best prices,” “friendly service,” and “top quality.” Best practice: Tell prospects how you are different.
  3. Fail to give clear reasons to spend money with you over the other guy. Your prospect has lots of other places to be spending money rather than with you. Best practice:  Show prospects clear, unique reasons to buy from you now.
  4. Be boring. Let them love you or let them hate you, but don’t ever let them be bored by you. Best practice: You shouldn’t be so professional and so uninteresting that no one pays attention to you. For you to succeed, you must grab people’s attention and gain their interest.
  5. Talk too much about your company and products. People don’t care about your company or products until they know you care about them and can help them. Best practice: Talk about solving client needs, problems and desires.
  6. Fail to capture people’s attention. The attention span of a customer is worse than an eight-year-old boy hopped up on Halloween candy. You need to grab people’s attention right away. Best practice: Be exciting. Be entertaining. Be different.
  7. Talk like a corporate geek. Leave the corporate speak and technical talk for the classroom. Customers want to understand things in plain English.  Best practice: Communicate at an elementary school level so everyone will understand.
  8. Talk rather than listen and interact. Stop talking and listen to your customers. You’ll gain the intelligence needed to close more sales. Best practice: When talking, ask questions that will give you insight into your customers such as, “What do you wish to accomplish during our meeting?”
  9. Fail to give people reasons to act now. If you allow customers to procrastinate, they’ll never take you up on any offer. Best practice: Give prospects reasons to act now and work to get decisions — not “maybes.”
  10. Forget to measure results. How will you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t measure results?  You need to measure results in order to reach your sales goals. Best practice: Schedule times to regularly measure your sales results.
  11. Not have a plan in place for consistent prospecting. The best football teams always have a great game plan.  If you want to be good at prospecting you need a plan in place. Best practice: Create a sales plan; implement your plan; give your plan time to work.
  12. Treat everyone the same. When it comes to sales, everyone is not created equally. Some customers are going to buy more than others. Best practice: Segment your customers into logical groups and spend time on those with the greatest earnings potential.
  13. Fail to be relevant. Are you addressing the wants and needs of your customers? If you’re not, your customers are going to shop somewhere else. Best practice: Don’t try to be relevant to everyone. It’s impossible. Focus in on your target market.
  14. Ignore existing customers. Don’t ignore existing customers. If you pay more attention to existing customers, you’ll see sales increase. Best practice: Interact regularly with existing customers.
  15. Fly by the seat of your pants. The gunslinger mentality has to go. If you want to succeed, you need to follow your sales plan. Best practice: Slow down. Don’t always be in a rush to get things done. Think before you act. Have a plan and work it.
  16. Say too much. Your presentation collateral and language shouldn’t appear like the side of a race car with tons of sponsor logos on it. Give your customers clear, straightforward messages. Best practice: Don’t clutter your presentation with too much dialogue and jargon. Keep things simple.

If you avoid these 16 pitfalls, you’ll be on your way to sales success.