Dumb Things Salespeople Say …

By Tom Searcy

At some point, we all say dumb things. It’s natural, and human. But even with all our communication abilities, salespeople can say the darnedest things!

I’ve compiled some classic examples below, but hope that you will add to the list with your own. Think of this as the list of things to never say if you are a salesperson.

“It could be huge!” We have used this four-word exclamation in almost every seminar we have ever given. However, when a salesperson says it, they’re asking for the owner to either berate them for exaggeration, or pepper them with questions. A salesperson knows that both of these reactions are  painful, and yet can’t help but say it, anyway.

“It could be the next … !” Like the previous statement, this statement comes jam-packed with assumptions and pixie dust. Of course, the worst of it is that the salesperson thinks that the last really big deal that was brought in looked just like this one. Now, he/she is not only subject to the wrath and ire of the boss, but also to that of all of his/her co-workers, since they’re going to have clean up the mess that “the next” creates.

“This is going to be fairly easy … We only have to do a couple things differently than usual.” Whenever salespeople start talking about how easy someone else’s work is going to be, they’ve lost the audience. It’s never as easy as they think, because they don’t have to do the work.

“We have the inside track on this one.” I know that I shouldn’t be superstitious, but I’ve found that the minute you taunt the world by declaring how good you are, or how something is definite when it isn’t, you invite trouble. Trouble usually comes in the form of the unexpected, the unanticipated, and the unstoppable. Don’t brag to the sales gods.

“Now … this is full commission, right?” Any salesperson dumb enough to ask this question already knows that the answer is most likely “no.” Salespeople that worry that they won’t receive full commission are either cutting a deal that doesn’t deserve it, or working for firms that have a history of not paying.

As a lifelong salesperson, I am certain that I’ve said all of these things before. This, of course, is why they’re so familiar. What assumptive phrases have you heard before, from either your own mouth, or a salesperson you know?

The founder and CEO of Hunt Big Sales, Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account selling and has made a career out of doing big deals and creating explosive growth. Read more about Tom here.
Originally published: Jan 13, 2012

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