Salesmen come in all shapes and sizes, but there are four types of bad salesmen that you should avoid. I remember when I was first starting out in sales, I had the misfortune of working with a few of these types. It wasn’t until later that I learned how to spot them and stay away! One type of bad salesman is the one who is always trying to sell you something. This person is never satisfied with just making a sale; they always want more regardless of whether or not you need it. This salesperson will continue pitching even after it’s clear that the customer isn’t interested. They may even become aggresive or pushy in an attempt to close the deal. Here are 10 characteristics of a bad salesman.

Bad Salesman: The Negative Impact on Business

A bad salesman is someone who is not good at selling products or services. They may be unprofessional, have a bad attitude, or be pushy.

10 Characteristics of a Bad Salesperson

If you’re not into sales and hate being rejected, this isn’t the career path for you. If you lack the listening skills, social skills, and technical knowledge, you won’t be successful. If you’re unable to think critically, and rely on your gut, this isn’t the line of work for you. If you’re only focused on products and ignore the needs of your customers, this isn’t the career choice for you.

1. You aren’t interested in selling. You do it because it pays the bills.

You find yourself performing the role of a sales person by sheer chance and wonder if you should describe it as good luck or bad luck.

“There were no better options for me at that time” is the phrase that tends to surface whenever you explain your reasons for becoming a salesperson.

To be successful, you have to absolutely love sales and take pride in what you do.

If you want to succeed in the sales industry, you have to genuinely enjoy what you do. If you aren’t passionate, it will be hard for you to succeed. Your passion for your job will shine through and people will be able to tell that you care about what you do.

If you think that sales is a dirty word, then it’s not for you.

2. You hate being rejected and can’t deal with getting hung up on.

Even the best salespeople in the world still get a lot of nos. It comes down to what you do after those nos that really matter.

If your motivation and energy drops after a failed pitch, ask, or close, then you do not have what it takes to succeed.

It takes a lot of time, strategy, and patience to convince people to buy from you.

Closing a deal requires both determination and consistency. Without it, your metrics won’t mean much.

Don’t sell if being pushy isn’t your forte.

3. You realize you know less about the product than your customer does.

This is absolutely terrible. There’s nothing more humiliating than being put on the spot and not having an answer for a question someone asks you about your product or service.

Sales success requires you to constantly be learning, practicing, and preparing for every client interaction. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, your success rate will be lower than average.

If you want to succeed in the sales industry, you need to be continually improving yourself. It’s not enough just to be a charming or witty person, especially in business-to-business.

Salespeople who lack an appetite for self-development are doomed to failure.

4. You talk too much.

Communication is key in sales. If you can’t clearly explain the benefits of your product or service, then you won’t sell anything.

Sales is a communication process that requires excellent speaking, presentation, and explanation skills. If you can’t communicate effectively, you won’t be able to sell successfully.

Sales is a communication process that should involve customers doing most of the talking!

If you talk too much, you are preventing your customer from telling you where they are at, what their specific problems are, and which solutions are best for them.

Your job here is to listen to what your clients have to say.

It might seem like a good idea to give a prospect all the information about your products, but you’ll likely end up annoying them.

If you’re more into the sound of your own voice than you are into closing deals, then forget about working with a coach from sales ops and go see a psychotherapist.

5. You don’t know how to ask the right question.

You’d rather not ask people for directions because you think it makes you seem rude. So instead, you rely on maps that you don’t know how to read.

While sales may not be exactly like going on a cross-country road trip, asking questions to your clients not only helps you get closer to your final destination (i.e., making the sale), but also helps reveal other “sweet spots” (such as up-sells and cross sells) that are just waiting for you.

Asking the right questions to a prospect is an art form. It takes practice, patience, and persistence.

6. You assume that you’re entitled to success, and that your success is a given.

Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Without them, a business cannot thrive.

But don’t be too cocky and remind people they owe you all the time.

Too much confidence can be a bad thing. It can lead you to make poor decisions, such as not listening to your prospects.

Overconfidence in your charm, expertise, or abilities can lead you to believe that no further improvement is needed.

Sometimes, a dose of humility can cure your ego.

7. Everyone is a potential customer.

You have a tendency to think that every person in your contact list is a potential prospect. So you go out there trying to engage with all of them, hoping one of them will turn into a whale … eventually … maybe.

Here are 3 emails you may have missed:

Here are three sales tips that you might have overlooked. First off, you should only spend time on good, quality leads that are worth your time. Secondly, you should only engage with the decision makers and key influencers in a target company. Lastly, you should remember that everyone is a potential customer.

Being a salesperson and viewing every person as a potential client is great, but it’s important to focus on one product/service at a time.

After all, you are only selling a product to a specific type of customer.

Always research your audience and don’t make assumptions about them.

8. You fail to put yourself in the shoes of others.

Selling is a people-oriented business and having above-and-beyond social skills will help you go far. If you show any degree of antisocial behavior, then sales is not the field for you.

Ask yourself these important questions:

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may lack genuine social empathy. This can make it difficult to work cohesively with a team and build positive relationships with others in your field. If you want to be successful, it’s important to learn how to genuinely care about the people you work with and empathize with their situation.

Building authentic relationships with your clients can be difficult if you find it difficult to build rapport with people.

9. If Push Comes to Plunge, You’ll Still Push

We understand. You are passionate about what you do.

If it comes down to it, you’ll still be pushy. You’ll immediately barrage the prospect with everything you have to offer when you make contact with them.

When a prospect turns down your proposal, it’s crucial that you follow up immediately. By reaching out to them, you can gain a better understanding of their hesitation and see if you can do anything to change their minds.

If it comes down to it, you’ll do everything in your power – including social media stalk – to pressure a prospect into buying from you.

Your enthusiasm for sales is commendable, but as the adage says, there is a time and a place for everything.

If it comes down to it, you’ll still be persistent. In a lot of cases, persistence is just another word for “pushy”. Instead, try being patient. This will help you understand your client better and, in turn, help you make a more convincing case for your product or service.

10. You rely on your intuition and aren’t very tech-savvy.

Yes, the art of selling is dealing with human emotions, but the science of it is knowing when to use certain techniques.

The days of closing sales based on “gut feeling” are long gone.

Technology’s influence on business will be even more significant than it has in the past.

New technologies for communication as well as transacting will power the platform for conversations.

New technologies will be uncovered and leveraged by marketers, enabling them to gain new insights into how consumers think and shop.

In the future, there won’t be any salespeople who don’t know what they’re doing.

Learning how to utilize metrics, utilize a Sales Enablement tool, and leverage your entire tech-stack will be an advantage for your career as a sales rep.

To be or not to be a bad salesperson

If you meet any of the criteria for reaching a decision making stage, then congrats!

You can

  • Continue down the path of becoming a “terrible” salesman.
  • Change your behaviors.
  • Consider the different career paths you can take.

Not everyone is cut out for a career in sales and that’s okay. If you’ve struggled in the past with being proud of a role in selling, then it might be time for a change.

Behavioral modifications, like practicing your pitch, can help you overcome your lack of skill and confidence. Sales training and coaching can also help improve your skills and your outlook on selling.

No one is good at everything. But don’t let that discourage you from getting better at what you do.


A bad salesman is someone who is not good at selling products or services. They may be unprofessional, have a bad attitude, or be pushy. If you’re looking for a good salesman, avoid these four types of bad salesmen. By doing so, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and frustration!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.