20+ ways to LOSE the sale 

(Brought to you by James Newell)

If you want to be good at selling, then it makes sense to know what NOT to do as well as what you should be doing…

Here are a collection of various stomach churning and awkward tactics that will help to turn your buyers away and cost you the opportunity.

(If you like this stuff you’ll probably like this too)


1 – Spamming people at EVERY opportunity

Top of the list is taking ANY conversation, social media post or email and turning it towards talking about your offer despite a complete lack of interest or intention.

Whilst we’re here…did I tell you about my actionable, affordable online courses…?


2 – Pushing people to do things they don’t want to do

The fact is, you can’t really “convince” people to buy – they have to want to buy. This is only achieved through giving them the information and opportunity to make the best decision for THEMSELVES – not you. If you find yourself wanting to push people into action, take that energy and put it into finding MORE potential buyers to talk to. Don’t chase them. Replace them.


3 – Being Critical of your buyer

You look a bit out of shape and flabby…. but don’t worry, I’m a personal trainer! I have literally had DMs like this in Linkedin and I don’t think it occurs to these people that it can be a bit offensive/rude (despite it being true!) It’s far better to reframe this to a positive – “Would you like to achieve XXX?” or “We can help you to achieve XXX” – that’s much easier to connect with.


4 – Telling Lies

Not much more to say other than when you lie people will always find out – they just won’t tell you they found out…



5 – Not noticing buying signals and keeping trying to convince…

You’re so keen to make the sale – perhaps even desperate – that you try so hard to “convince” someone to buy that when they make it clear they are ready, you don’t believe it or notice it and push forward with more “convincing”. The bottom line is that buyers want details and non buyers want space – if someone is asking specific details about your offer then there is an indication of interest.


6 – Being Greedy

We know when we are being taken advantage of. Either we’ll spot it at the point of buying, or realise afterwards. Either way your reputation pays the price. It’s OK to make a profit. it’s not OK to rip people off.


7 – Assuming Intent

Giving people “closed” options – “which colour would you like – Red or White?” assuming that OF COURSE they are buying – we just need to sort the details – is frustrating as a buyer.

Your buyer wants to feel like they are in control (and they need to be in control) of the ultimate buying decision. Any deviation from this is dangerous and no amount of mind games will change that.


8 – Giving new buyers a better deal than existing buyers

If you’ve ever seen your mobile phone provider – or for me the accounting software XERO – offer amazing incentives to new buyers, it makes you wonder why you are staying loyal to them.

Of course we need to attract new buyers and make it attractive, but we can’t ignore loyalty and caring for existing buyers – as we may lose “old” buyers in the  pursuit of “new” ones.


9 – Faking Enthusiasm

This is going to be YUUUUGE.

It’s great to be excited about what you do, but if you fake interest and enthusiasm we can spot it a mile off (and feel it) and it just feels disingenuous as you are only being nice to get paid..



10 – Over-use of someone’s name

The only thing worse than someone forgetting your name? Using it in EVERY sentence because they were told to do it in the salesy training they’ve had.

Use your buyer’s name, but don’t go mad as it creates a formality and barrier that can be a real issue. It’s annoying too.



11 – Having a one way conversation

You may as well not be here as I’m going to run through my script like a robot – whether you’re listening or not. If you need a structure or script for a conversation that’s fine, but if you let that destroy the natural flow of the conversation I’ll feel like I’m talking to a robot and that you don’t care about me.


12 – Not Keeping Your Word

If you say you will do something – however small – make sure you do it.

People notice the small things and remember: Early is on time, on time is LATE.


13 – Offering Unsolicited Advice

I know you didn’t ask me, but I’ve just cold DM’d you to tell you the best way to get 100 followers in the next 20 minutes, I’m happy to share this with you as I noticed you don’t have many followers… Whilst there may be truth to the above, offering advice that’s not asked for is not always the goodwill gesture you think it is – it can come across a bit condescending.


14 – Using Obligation to Guilt People into Acting

The image below is from a REAL message from a REAL person trying to create a relationship with a potential buyer. You should expect NOTHING from your buyer –  however “rude” you may find it, it’s just how life works. We can’t respond to every unsolicited cold spam DM- that’s just life.



15 – Bad mouthing your own offering

If you don’t know who Gerald Ratner is, click the link below. He told an audience how “crap” his jewellery was and lost his empire as people felt he was ripping them off by peddling low quality merchandise. Whether the jewellery was “crap” or not doesn’t really even matter – the fact that the head of the business made this “joke” was enough to scare buyers into believing it was true.



16 – Offering your (unwanted) opinion

When you use opinionated language with your buyer it can be a real issue. For example, when it comes to price its a relative concept – some people find things “expensive” whereas for others it will be “cheap”. YOUR opinion as the seller doesn’t matter, it’s only what your buyer thinks that will move the needle. With that in mind, keep focussed on your buyer and asking them what they think, not telling them what you think …


17 – Offering Unrealistic Discounts 

When you “reduce” the price of something from £1M to £1 or even FREE alarm bells start ringing. It’s one thing to run a promotion, but when the discounts are unrealistic it makes me, as a buyer, wonder if ANYONE EVER has paid that price. If they haven’t, then it’s not a discount – it’s a reality check!



18 – Doing Unwanted Favours

When a seller makes it sound like a big deal that they are “helping” you, when actually they are selling to you… it can be a real turn off.

Your buyers don’t owe you anything, you are there to help them solve their problems and the only “favour” you are doing for them is the one they pay you for…



19- Using Bad Automation

Hey <name> thanks for reading this part of the page, I hope you have enjoyed it so far. If you have any more questions about solving <problem>  then let me know.


20 – Talking Under False Pretences 

I’m just expanding my network here on Linkedin….

Need I say more.

21 – Promoting a future offer too early

If you have new products and services coming, promoting them too early can damage sales of the current offering. This is why iPhone sales drop as soon as the new model is announced- people want to wait for the “better” model.



22 – Not asking for the business

A simple, crucial and all too common occurrence. If you fail to ask for the business or present your offer, then it either implies you don’t have confidence in your offer, or you’re arrogant and don’t need the buyer. Either way it doesn’t look good.

Make it clear to your buyer how you can help and that you want their business.