Top 10 Reasons Salespeople Fail

Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out to make it as a salesperson just like not everyone isn’t cut out to be a teacher, policeman, parent or CEO. After 25 years of delivering sales training programs, sales tips, sales strategies, delivering thousands of live sales seminars and creating sales programs that have changed the lives of 100’s of thousands of salespeople and increased sales for entire companies, even industries I have discovered that there are certain traits that will guarantee that a person will fail as a sales person.


There is something you can do to counter these reasons and traits but the first thing is to know what the failing sales traits are. Before you or your company get involved in sales training, sales meetings, or improving your selling skills you must know these traits cold or they will plague your sales results. When hiring sales people you should also use this list to identify whether this person is cut out to be a sales person or at the very least to understand what type of sales training the applicant will need to be an excellent sales pro!

#1, Hate being told no.

I have yet to meet anyone that actually likes being told not but if you tend to have a highly emotional response to be being told no and it sticks with you for days, selling is probably not for you. The truth is planet earth is going to be difficult because you will be told no by lots of people in many ways and many times. It is the meaning that you place on the no that causes sales people to personalize the no. The sales skill of turning a no into yes is a learned skill that will allow to be successful at selling and successful in life.

#2, Unwilling to ask for the order.

Believe it or not, this is the number one reason salespeople fail to close a sale. Sales people believe they ask for the order more than they actually do, and in fact, never even asked the first time, much less enough times. Probably trying to avoid rejection, a no, and failure, or because the discipline of asking hasn’t been developed yet. Many sales people that are unable to ask are operating under the false belief that if they are just nice sales people they will get the order. Only a very small percentage of the people will buy from you without you asking and most will only buy after you have asked for the sale five times. If you are unwilling to ask for the order you will only get the leftovers of those that are professionally trained to ask for the order.

#3, Inability to selectively listen.

If you are one of those people that believe everything someone says to you is true, this profession will be a disaster for you. People will say many things to you that is almost meaningless, like; “I can’t afford it,” “we are on a budget,” “we aren’t buying today,” “we are going to wait until,” “we never buy at the first place,” “I have to talk to my wife first,” “I’ll see you later today” and the like. If you are so gullible that you must believe everything your client tells you, and are unwilling to understand that people can say something one second and completely change their beliefs the next, you won’t cut it in sales. Selective listening is a trained skill of the professional sales person and there is the art of knowing when people are saying something meaningful and when what they are saying means nothing at all.

#4, Unable to stay sold on your beliefs.

If you happen to be one of those personality types that is easily sold on another’s story and unable to maintain your own beliefs, you will not be able to sell your own products because you are too busy being sold someone else’s. Stuck in some kind of reverse boomerang universe where you intend to sell your ideas, products or services and then end up buying rather than selling. Another trait you are only stuck with if you refuse consistent and professional sales training.

#5, Unable to ask questions.

If you hate asking questions and feel like asking questions is like getting ‘too’ personal or prying into someone’s business, you will not make it in the field of sales or as a negotiator. “What is your income,” “how long have you worked there,” “who is the decision maker,” “why can’t you do this” are questions you will have to learn to ask. If you don’t become comfortable with asking personal questions your fate in sales will be determined just by your unwillingness to ask questions.

#6, Unwilling to get answers to questions.

I know some sales people that don’t mind asking questions but never take the time to actually get an answer. It is a myth that the person asking questions controls the conversation. It is true that the person that gets answers to his/her questions controls the sale and the negotiations. Majorities of salespeople never actually get answers, and often answer questions themselves for the customer and never collect information. This can be accomplished and learned through proper sales drills to train the sales person to get answers.

#7, Believe the price is key to the sale.

If you believe the lowest price is the reason people buy things then you should not consider sales and become a waiter in a restaurant. 99.9% of all products on this planet can be replaced by cheaper alternatives. Whether it is a purse, phone, TV, automobile, insurance, mortgage etc., someone, somewhere can sell it for less. Most of the things that are bought and sold are not necessary so if a person wanted the lowest price, the thing to do would be to not buy it at all. Price is actually a myth and not the reason people buy anything but if you believe the lowest price is the reason people buy things you should not be in sales. Check out my book Sell to Survive as I go over the remedy to this in detail.

#8, You believe persistence and pressure is a bad thing.

If you are one of those people that became convinced by your parents, teacher and environment that getting your way is a bad thing then you should avoid all sales jobs, any job involving negotiating, debating, management and entrepreneurship. Coal is only a diamond until the right amount of pressure is applied for the right amount of time. People will not separate from their money or make decisions without someone building value and then insisting on someone taking action. People that are not unable to use professional pressure and persistence are just an indication of a lack of sales training.

#9, Think that selling is a negative thing.

Even a small dose of this thinking will kill your chances of making it in sales. Most sales people actually believe that what they are doing is wrong, unethical and because they believe that what they are doing is a bad thing they will fail at it. Great sales people are proud of their title and profession and know that nothing happens on this planet without sales people.

#10, Unwilling to train and prepare.

If you are one of those people that think they are going to successfully sell just because of natural abilities and unwilling to train and prepare you will never become a consistently great sales person. Even great salespeople over the life of his/her career will be plagued with competitive threats, industry changes, challenging economies, and will find themselves at risk. To be a career great at anything you will have to make a commitment to sales training, sales seminars, sales books, daily sales tips, motivation and sales strategies.

All of these failing personality traits can be altered but only with consistent sales training, drilling, rehearsing and rehabilitation. This would include daily sales motivation, daily sales training, sales solutions close by during the day, and then especially important sales rehabilitation after a failed sale to keep the sales person fresh. Our Virtual Sales Training web based platform provides sales people and sales managers with 24/7 access and has been proven to take ordinary people and turn them into sales pro’s almost immediately. Sales training is the only solution to weak personality traits and making exceptional sales people.