4 Things Sales People Do That Customers Loathe

As a sales leader and a life long sales guy, I’m probably the worst person in the world a sales person can sell to. I can’t help myself; I critique everything the sales person does. If a kid comes to my door selling something for his High School, she gets my money AND some tips on how to do it better, cause their approach sucks and I want the kid to sell more.

Yup, I’m that guy. I’m a pain in the ass to sell to. You’d better have your game on when selling to me. With that said, I may be a pain in the ass but I’m not an asshole and a sales person can always count on a little free advice on how they can up their game.

A sales person plays the defining role in the buying experience, and if they screw it up, they can screw up the sale. The fastest way to screw up the sale is to forget it’s not about you. Selling isn’t about you, your quota, your commission check or making your sales manager proud. Sales are about delivering game changing solutions to your customers and clients, and if you can’t do that, you’re not selling.

It’s because of this that customers and buyers hate when sales people do these four things. It drives them up the wall. So if you do them STOP!!!

Not do your homework

I recently went through a demo where the sales person kept showing us features that were irrelevant to our business. They were features that we wouldn’t use, because we’re not that type of business. I wanted to blow a gasket. It was a complete waste of my time.

Do your homework. I don’t mean some quick search, some quick peruse of your customer’s website, but actually do your homework. When sales people show up for the call and don’t know anything or almost nothing about the customer, it’s infuriating. Customers are giving sales people their valuable time. Customers have businesses to run and they have to know you’ve done your homework and that know what it is they do, who their competitors are, what their products and services are, and why you think you can help them. Doing your homework is the committing to the sale and to the buyer. Nothing pisses off a buyer more than feeling they are putting in more time than you or that they are more committed to the sale than the sales person.

Don’t screw this up. Do your homework. Know who you’re selling to, what’s important to them and how your product can help them.

Platitudes and Ass Kissing

Customers are busy; they are trying to get shit done. Telling a client their product is awesome or that you love their most recent blog post or how you love the picture of their boat that’s sitting behind their desk doesn’t help the sale, it just makes you look like a kiss-ass and undermines your credibility. No one likes a kiss ass.

Customer’s want to know you will challenge them, tell them the truth and disagree with them when they are wrong. They don’t want another yes-man. Buyers want their sales people to business people who get down to business and get things done. If they sense, for just one second, you’re inauthentic, it’s over — kissing ass is inauthentic.

When you whip around baseless platitudes, like Eddie Haskell, you look like a clown, and the buyers see it and it pisses them off.

Save the ass kissing for after the sale. Be authentic and stay focused on what matters and that’s the problem’s your customer is dealing with and how your product is gonna make those problems go away.

Wasting Time

Buyers have a business to run, they have no time to waste. Dealing with sales people who waste time is insanity. Buyers don’t want to do your job for you. They don’t want to have “follow-up” calls. They don’t want to have a meeting to “check-in.”  Buyers don’t want to waste a single second on non-critical people, events and engagements.

You’re wasting a clients time when you don’t have an objective for the meeting/phone call.  Wasting your clients time is when you’re not prepared for the call. Wasting your buyer’s time is when you show features that aren’t relevant to their business. Wasting a buyer’s time is when you don’t understand the value you’re selling. Wasting your buyers time is when you’re selling a product, not solving problems.

Sales people are stewards of the buyers time and when they fail in this effort, the buyer suffers. Guess what? Buyers don’t like to suffer.


It’s sad this even happens. Sales people have ONE job and it’s to be informed.  When sales people are uninformed the buyer is the victim. When sales people are uninformed, buyers can’t get the answers they need and this infuriates buyers. Their time is wasted. They have to go elsewhere to get the answers or wait for the sales person to get back with them. When the sales person is uninformed, the buyer’s trust in the sales person is eroded. An uninformed sales person is a cluster-fuck and is absolutely annoying to a buyer.

Buyers are looking to sales people for answers. If the sales people are uninformed, they are useless.

Don’t be the town idiot. Your buyers and customers are looking to you for the answers.

There is a lot to selling. It can be complex. It’s a skill that needs to be continually honed and cultivated. However, in spite of this complexity, there are 4 simple things no sales person should do; be uninformed, waste the buyer’s time, kiss ass and not do their homework.

Don’t do these things and I can’t promise you’ll get the sale, but I can promise you won’t kill it right away.

No one wants to work with an uninformed, time wasting, lazy, ass-kisser, nobody!