7 years ago
February 21, 2017

The 5 Sins of Sales People

Being a sales rep is a difficult job. Not everyone is cut out for it. Many sales people try but fail. It takes a delicate balance of very specific p

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

Being a sales rep is a difficult job. Not everyone is cut out for it. Many sales people try but fail. It takes a delicate balance of very specific personality traits to truly succeed. Although some sales people are great, and some are mediocre, others have one or a combination of five deadly sins that simply won’t allow them to be successful in the sales business. Here are the five sins of sales people to look out for, so you don’t become guilty of any of them.


Sales people need to be aware of everything around them-from eye contact to subtle changes in body posture. A sales rep who is oblivious or inattentive to these understated and indirect clues will not be able to read his clients properly in order to gauge how they are reacting to a sales pitch. And in turn, he won’t be able to change his sales tactic if needed or know when he’s wasting time or when he’s close to a sale. Sales is a people business, so being attentive to clients’ behaviours is vital for success.


Sales people should be confident, but never arrogant. Arrogance will lead to presumptions about clients’ wants and needs and won’t allow for relationship nurturing. An arrogant sales rep will just assume that he can get the sale without doing any research, thinking of the client’s objectives or bottom line, or attending to a client’s ultimate buying needs. Arrogance can destroy sales, even the easy ones. When you push this personality trait aside, you will realize how much you can actually learn from your customers, and ultimately, close more deals.


Nothing will turn off a customer from a sale more than pushiness. Especially in this day and age when selling isn’t actually about selling a product or service but about helping a client in his buying decision, pushiness can be detrimental to a company’s sales numbers. Pushiness will make a client feel boxed in, defensive, and negative towards the sales rep-no one wants to feel like he has been forced into a buying decision. Clients want to feel like they are in charge of their money and their decisions, and many will stay away from sales people who they deem to be pushy and use hard selling tactics. An experienced sales person knows when it’s time to close a sale, without being pushy.


Sales people need to be outgoing, motivated, and ready to get the sales with any means necessary. In order to really succeed in the business, sales people need to be passionate about the products or services they are selling and have the intrinsic hunger to find new customers and come up with innovative selling strategies. Lazy sales people typically go after the easy sales and don’t try to perform at their maximum.


A sales person who would rather talk continuously through a meeting rather than truly listen to a client’s needs and objectives is ineffective at his job. Chattiness can come off as the sales person being nervous, being pushy, or being arrogant and believing he knows what the client wants without him having to say so. Either way, chattiness will not come off well in a meeting. A good sales rep knows when to stop presenting his sales pitch and give the client a turn to discuss what he is looking for.

Recognize and Avoid

Sales people create their own success-if you are guilty of any of these five deadly sins, you are likely building up barriers in your job that stop you from being the best sales person you can be. In order to succeed and bring in sales, you need to recognize these behaviours in yourself and put a stop to them-for the good of your career and the future of your company.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.