The World’s Worst Sales Person


Stay away from this person at all costs!

During the course of writing this column I have always focused on great sales people. What their characteristics are; what it takes to find great sales people; how to incentivize them, how to keep them motivated and how to make sure they are kept happy, inspired and passionate about what they do. But just the other day one of my clients asked me an interesting question, she asked, “who do I stay away from? It seems I keep hiring lousy sales people, they look good when I hire them, but, well after a while they turn into duds. How do I keep from doing this?” At first, I have to admit, I thought it was a pretty silly question. But it has been two weeks since she posed the question and I can’t get it out of my mind. After some careful consideration I came to realize that I can pretty much tell a poor sales person when I meet one, it has always been one of my strengths. But how do I know? What makes it obvious to me? What is a certain something that I could pass on to this lady who asked this question.

Then as I started to list the characteristics of a poor sales person, I realized that not all of them are that obvious in fact there are as many subtle traits and habits as there are obvious ones, so I decided to compile a list of the ways you can tell that a sales person is not a great sales person, or even a good one. In the end I decided to list the characteristics of the proverbial worst sales person on earth, and share them with the reader so this column:

Here then, without further ado is the worst sales person in the world!

The world’s worst sales person:

  1. Hates to call on customers. He can list every single day of the week and give you a reason that is a terrible day to call on customers.
  2. Says that she can’t visit a customer before ten o’clock because they won’t like it
  3. Can’t visit customers after two o’clock because it is too late in the day.
  4. Can’t get any business because the weather is bad.
  5. Can’t get any business because of China.
  6. Can’t get any business because of Wall Street.
  7. Can’t get any business because school is out.
  8. Can’t get any business because school is back in session.
  9. Can’t get any business from Halloween to after New Year’s.
  10. Can’t get any business because it’s Fourth of July week.
  11. Can’t get any business because of the World Series, Super Bowl, World Cup or the International Chess tournament.
  12. Blames it on the times, saying things like, we used to me able to make appointments, but now in this social media world, no one wants to talk to me anymore. I can’t get meetings.
  13. Says, “you can’t call on customers in the summer, they don’t want to see you.”
  14. Hates all new sales programs, saying they don’t work, can’t work and are a waste of time.
  15. Asks, “do you want me to call on customers, or write this report? I can’t do both.”
  16. Always blames the company’s performance, claiming that the product is no good and nobody wants it.
  17. Blames the buyers who will not buy from him.
  18. Says that every buyer is on the take, and that she cannot make any progress because she is too honest.
  19. Says she can’t make her sales numbers because is a woman in a man’s world.
  20. Can’t make his sale numbers because the buyers want to see cute women and not men, and he has the unfair disadvantage of being a man.
  21. Claims his company’s prices are too high.
  22. Says that if her company only offered (whatever it is they don’t offer) she would be successful.
  23. Is the one who talks the most in any annual sales meeting. (show me the person who is sucking all the air out of the room by talking non-stop and I’ll show you the worst person on the sales team)
  24. Says that reading books about sales is a waste of time.
  25. Says that she can’t leave the office and make sales calls because she has to stay in the plant to make sure her product is built correctly and delivered on time.
  26. Says he can’t go out and sell until the new literature comes in.
  27. Says she can’t go out and sell until the web site is updated.
  28. Claims that trade shows never work.
  29. Claims that the CRM software isn’t any good and they are not going to get anywhere until they get the same software at his old company.
  30. Hates to ask for the order because he does not want to look like a pedlar.
  31. Considers himself a technical consulting sales person and it is below him to ask for the order.
  32. Has to get a haircut today before he calls on anyone else.
  33. Wants to wait for the current buyer to retire before he calls on that company.
  34. Believes that the only way he can get business from that large account is to play golf with the buyer. And oh, by the way, is a scratch golfer.
  35. Needs a complete set of pristine product samples before she will even consider leaving the office to visit customers.

And finally, the world’s worst sales person says that he can’t get any business because everyone is now buying online and there is no such thing as live person to person sales any longer.

If you meet a sales person who says even three of these things run for the hills because I can guarantee that they are not going to work out. They might not be the worst sales person in the world, but they will be one of the worse…it’s only common sense.

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