The Top 10 Sales Don’ts to Avoid at All Costs

Sales are EVERYTHING!sales don'ts

Every day people enter sales positions or start businesses.

They are either taught techniques and tricks of the trade, or they assume that certain behaviors are appropriate. Unfortunately, many of these people are doing the wrong things and therefore, not getting the results they seek.

Below are the top ten sales don’ts, listed from least offensive to screaming hot bad.

10. Do Not Hand Your Business Card to Everyone You Meet

First of all, they don’t want it. Secondly, you are telegraphing that you are interested in what you can get, not what they need. Only give your card to people who ask for it. This way you’ll know who really wants it. DO ask for the other person’s card every time. You’ll want to follow up with them, if only to send them a short note saying it was nice to meet them.

9. Do Not Prospect by Email

I’m not talking about email marketing which I believe in. I’m talking about prospecting; sending an unsolicited email to someone trying to gain their business. It doesn’t work for a whole host of reasons. Remember, the prospect wants to know that you want to do business with them specifically. Make them feel like you are working to gain their business by going the extra step of regular mail or phone.

8. Do Not Pitch on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a place to build relationships and position yourself as an industry expert. No one wants to be sold – anywhere. Plus, you don’t know whether you want to do business with someone just because you’re connected to them on LinkedIn. Use the platform to connect and build. Business will come naturally when and where it makes sense.

7. Do Not Connect with People Just to Sell to Them

People see that coming a mile away and will avoid you like the plague. Remember, people don’t like to be sold to. Have a reason to connect with people outside of selling to them. Or, if you find someone you think might be a potential client find out how you are connected to them and ask for an introduction.

6. Do Not Give a 30-second Commercial That is 2 minutes Long

I see this happen all the time. Someone starts and just doesn’t stop. The more you talk, the less people listen. So create a 30 or less second commercial and use it. If you can’t figure out how to say what value and results you bring in 30 seconds or less, get help figuring it out.

5. Do Not Lie

Enough said

4. Do Not Over-promise

It’s better to be realistic with what you can do. A lot of salespeople want the money so badly that they will agree to do anything the prospect wants. Then they find out that they can’t deliver.

3. Do Not Tell People Everything You Do

When you are in that sales appointment do not go on and on about your products/services, bells and whistles. To tell you the truth – they aren’t listening! They only care about a solution to the current problem they are having. So talk about your solution to their problem. Later you can share more as you build the relationship.

2. Do Not Sit Around and Wait for People to Call You

Sales is a verb. It’s an activity you have to engage in daily in order to grow your business.

… And the #1 most offensive Don’t?

1. Don’t Sell

Yep, I said it. There is no place in sales for selling. We see selling as convincing, cajoling, or persuading. That’s not what it’s all about. Sales is about matching a solution to a problem. So don’t sell. Listen, learn, and connect what you have to offer to the problem they are having.

Have you committed any of these don’ts? That’s okay. We all have at one point or another. Moving forward, remove them from your practices and you’ll see your sales increase.

Guitar Amp Dial Photo via Shutterstock


Diane Helbig Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Top Sales World Experts Panel at Top Sales World.

3 Reactions
  1. I agree with all 10 Diane. I believe that a salesperson should be helping a prospect to solve a solution and if they’ve done a good job qualifying their prospects then the opportunity to “sell” will happen very naturally in the context of solving the problem at hand.

  2. Excellent! Thank you for sharing the Top Ten Don’ts–spot on and most helpful…