As sales professionals, we strive daily to deploy words and actions that will be most effective in building customer relationships, influencing customers and closing sales. But what about the actions that undermine our efforts and are actually off-putting to customers? That would be pretty valuable insight as well! A recent AMA survey of more than 1100 customers revealed the sales tactics that are most offensive to them. Here's the resulting list, from most annoying to least:

  1. Being too pushy (24%)
  2. Not taking "no" for an answer (23%)
  3. Not listening (18%)
  4. Talking too much (9%)
  5. Bait and switch (8%)
  6. Reading from a script (7%)
  7. Using meaningless sales jargon or terms (5%)
  8. Upselling (4%)
  9. Being impatient (2%)

Two foundational principles of Dimensions of Professional Selling‚ (DPS) sales training are:

  1. the importance of understanding and addressing the sales process from the customer's perspective, or "odds are" instead of our own, and
  2. the importance of listening to the customer. Nearly every item on the above list is the result of the sales professional operating in his/her own "odds are" or not listening to the customer.

While sales success requires an arsenal of knowledge, skills, processes and techniques, avoiding the counter-productive sales blunders on AMA's list is really pretty simple: Approach every customer with the goal of helping them and adding value, and then listen to understand his/her objectives and needs.

Read the entire AMA article here: 9 Things You Should Never Do When Trying to Make a Sale: AMA Research