Three weeks ago, I was speaking to a large group of salespeople in a variety of different industries. I was asked about what salespeople should never do. Immediately, many things came to mind. Here are some of the things I shared with the group:

  1. Never allow failure to enter your world. Shakespeare said that nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so. View every situation as a learning experience. Keep a “possibilities mentality.” When things don’t go your way, focus on figuring out how to get different results.
  2. Never use industry jargon. The confidence level of your prospect drops the second you start to use terms they don’t understand. Keep the alarm jargon for the office and speak in ways your prospect will understand.
  3. Never forget to turn off your cell phone during a meeting. It’s rude and distracting should you get a call and turning off your phone will allow you to resist the temptation to glance at it should you get a text.
  4. Never give a blind quote. When selling security, there is a lot of information you must gather from the prospect to prepare an accurate, fair and meaningful proposal. Amateurs are happy to give blind quotes, but you should insist on gathering the proper information necessary for a great system to sell the customer.
  5. Never fail to qualify a prospect. You must have and use a process to determine if a lead is an actual prospect. Leads are simply potential prospects. Prospects have the potential to become customers. Always qualify your leads. Never assume anything.
  6. Never talk politics, even if you are 100 percent aligned with your prospect. In many organizations, and even within households, there are multiple decision-makers/influencers who may have different views. It’s OK to be real and to reveal a part of who you are, but I advise you to tread lightly around politics and religion.
  7. Never fail to research your prospect online. You waste time, lose credibility and look very unprepared when you ask questions about things that can be easily found on a company website or LinkedIn page. 
  8. Never over-promise. Instead, under-promise and over-deliver. Make sure you, your product and your company do what you say you will. 
  9. Never go it alone. Network with others to exchange leads. Develop joint venture partnerships to leverage the contacts of others. Always ask customers for referrals and testimonials.
  10. Never assume. Professional salespeople ask questions to gather information. They don’t make assumptions, as assumptions often can be wrong.
  11. Never show a negative attitude to a prospect. When you are in a meeting with a prospect, it’s show time baby. When you go to a play or a store or a concert, you expect to be greeted with enthusiasm and caring. Your prospects expect the same. They don’t care that your boss yelled at you, your spouse thinks you are a jerk, or that your kid was out drinking last night. They care about them and what you can do for them. Check your negative attitude at the door and perform with a positive attitude.
  12. Never check email or Facebook first thing in the morning. Many salespeople confuse email activity with selling. It’s not. Checking your email first thing in the morning can be a time trap that costs you hours. Deal with email at noon and again at the end of the day. And stay off Facebook during the time you’ve devoted to earning income. Facebook wastes more time than the U.S. government wastes money.
  13. Never fight to the bitter end.   You are not going to sell all prospects. That’s impossible. Know when things have reached their logical conclusion and know when something is not going to happen, so you can spend valuable time elsewhere.
  14. Never live in fantasy land. You know that prospect you’ve had on your forecast list for the past six months? They probably aren’t going to buy. How about that prospect you’ve been spending two months trying to see? Good luck. Be real.
  15. Never lose sight of your goals and objectives.

That’s my list of no-nos for salespeople. Please email me at with your list.