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December 22, 2021

3 Examples of Really Bad Selling to Stop in 2022

I guess I’m just a magnet for lousy salespeople… I get exposed to horrible selling almost every day. So, I started keeping a file of examples of this behavior and here are three real instances that happened to me just this month.


Using Humor

There are a lot of sales consultants & trainers who promote using humor as a way to connect with potential buyers. And by and large, that’s OK… humor can be very engaging and memorable. If it’s done right. You tell me if this example was done right (these are the exact words from the email)…

Hi (first name) … just kidding

Hey Steve,

I am a real human unless this is all just a simulation of course, but then we are both in the same boat.

And frankly, it was at that point that I stopped reading. Being funny or clever can work… if what you say or write is truly funny or clever. This wasn’t, at least not to me. I just found it stupid and inane. And that’s the risk of trying to be funny during a cold call or in a cold email… you’ll fall flat on your face if the recipient of your humor doesn’t think it’s funny.

And by the way, what has happened to professional courtesy? No “Dear Steve” or “Hello Steve” or Good morning, Mr. Henke”… instead, I get a “Hey Steve.” Ugh!

Getting to the Point

We’re all so busy these days, we simply don’t have a lot of time for ‘fluff,’ so I appreciate it (kind of) when a sales rep wants to get to the point with me. So, this happened (again, these are verbatim – the very first lines from the emails)…

Hey Steve, how can we bid on Harpeth Marketing qualitative projects?

And then a week later…

Hey Steve, any insights into how a new vendor can bid on Harpeth Marketing projects?

Yes, I’m busy, too… but there was no attempt to build any rapport, no outlining the kinds of problems they could help me solve, just a quick jump right to the bottom line – in essence, “Hi. I wanna sell you stuff!” [plus the whole ‘Hey Steve’ thing!]

The reality is this… people won’t do business with you until they get to know you, then like you, then trust you. And this sort of abrupt approach wipes that away in seconds.

Oh yeah, then there’s this… what he’s selling, we don’t use. We don’t do qualitative research… if he had bothered to spend 5 seconds on our website, he would have seen that. He wasted his time and mine.

Social Selling

One of my clients recently put up a post on LinkedIn to promote one of their service lines. And because I’m following them, I saw the post. Then I scrolled down and saw ‘it!’

Someone representing another company responded to the post… and not in a good way. He simply posted an image of their company’s sales sheet, crammed with all of the different products they sell. No words, no trying to tie it into what my client posted about… just the sales sheet.

He simply hijacked the social feed to pitch his products. This might be one of the cheesiest – and laziest – ways of selling I have ever seen.

Wrapping Up

I get it… selling is hard. We’re all looking for ways to cut through the sales clutter and find new ways to stir up sales leads and shorten the sales cycle. But in today’s selling environment – where the buyers have all the power – there are no shortcuts. There are no easy ways to generate sales.

And if you’re not willing to do the hard work that’s required, two things will happen:

  • You will fail at sales!
  • You’ll likely piss-off potential clients because of the [poor] way that you conduct business.

So, as you look ahead to 2022 and those daunting sales goals laid out in front of you, there’s just one thought that should be going through your head… “Time to get to work!”

Good luck and good selling.

By the way, if you’re curious where these examples of bad selling came from or want to see the complete emails/social posts, shoot me an email (… I’m happy to share them privately.

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