15 Problems Only Salespeople Would Understand

1) When nobody trusts you

In sales the person you’re speaking to starts off defensive, even rude and you have to bring them round (even if they’re usually nice people to be around).


2) When marketing exaggerate

Having to explain to a prospect that although the advert they watched suggests that the product ‘can do XYZ better than anything else that has come before’ is a lie gets old quickly.


3) When the prospect say “I’ll call you back”

When you hear a prospect say “I’ll call you right back” you know you’re going to be waiting a long time. If you can’t get the prospects attention and keep them talking when you call then, then they’re never going to return the call at a later date.


4) When you leave a voicemail knowing full well that you’re never getting a call back

I’ve left thousands of voicemails over the years and rarely get called back directly because of them. Why does voicemail still even exist now that everyone has email on their phones?


5) When you work hard to keep a customer happy and then they go with the competition

Winning the customer the first time around is only half of the battle as a lot of a turnover comes from the backend of repeat business. Customers however like to make you work your ass off supporting them and then move to a competitor as they assume that the grass is always greener (even though it’s not).


6) When your boss randomly changes your compensation plan

Sales is the only job where the goals and targets you agreed on when you start can change for the worse at any moment. Changing things up  can be a powerful way to make the role fresh and interesting but not when it means that I’m going to lose money this month because the goal posts have moved.


7) When you’re promised the world when you join a new company

Every time I’ve ever joined a company in a sales role they’ve promised me the world. “Everyone smashes their targets”, “the leads marketing pass on are high quality” and more. Every single time I’ve been lied too.


8) When your customers will lie to you

It seems like customers are given a God given right to be able to lie and cheat sales people. This is unacceptable but inevitable and when it happens you should sack your customer.


9) When there is no training

No other company critical job exists where you turn up on your first day and then are left to it. Far few companies offer sales training to their sales force. You likely learnt from trail and error over the years.


10) When one day you’re a hero and the next you’re a nobody

No other role in life has the constant ups and downs of sales. Monday morning you close that big deal, the sales management are singing your praises and you’re walking down the office high fiving everyone you meet. At the end of the month when commissions are paid out and sales targets reset, every success you’ve ever had disappears into the ether. You have to do it all over again.


11) When you get given a lead that is 100% unqualified

We all get leads that turn out to be nonsense. I’ve called ‘qualified’ leads that have been passed on from marketing departments to discover that they have no idea who the company is I’m calling from a number of times.


12) When you get hung up on

How long does it take to say “no thank you”? I’ve never understood why prospects throw the phone down when they’ve been cold called by a salesperson. Sure you may have interrupted them but it’s because you believe you have some value to offer them.


13) When you’re closing the deal then realise that you’re speaking to the wrong person

Not getting to the decision maker is a mistake that salespeople often make. There is nothing more embarrassing than confidently asking for the prospects business, looking them dead in the eye and them explaining to you that they’re going to have to ask their boss.


14) When it’s the end of month and you’re only £100 off target

Everything is calm and then it happens, that big sale you thought was going to close falls through. It leaves you a mere £100 off a big sales bonus and with only 2 days to find it.

The next 48 hours are spent calling all your favourite customers, begging them to buy something, ANYTHING to get you over that target.


15) When a customer doesn’t recognise you

You’ve worked with the customer for years and you’ve given them tremendous value.  You see them randomly at a conference, run over reach out to shake their hand and then see it in the look on their face – they don’t remember who you are.


What problems do you face that only other sales people would understand? Leave a comment below.



  • “4) When you leave a voicemail knowing full well that you’re never getting a call back”

    Damn this sums up the past 6 months of my life. Any tips on how to break past the voicemail barrier?

    • The simplest solution is not to rely on the phone. I always set up my calls with an email that shows –

      1) I’m an expert (links to the podcast, website and best articles in the emails footer)
      2) I start off by just trying to help at first by sending article links or perhaps a video or two
      3) I then get them to agree to taking a call via email

      Once I then have the prospect on the line they know, like and trust me and I close most of the time.

  • I recently had my manager change my bonus plan out of the blue. Needless to say I’ll be leaving the company and moving elsewhere. Anyone need a professional ad space saleswoman?

  • I find it oddly soothing that the problems are international.

    Have experienced every one in my 20+ years in sales (and o god that makes me sound so old)

    The being lied to is the worst. I once moved across Canada for a new job only to find that I’d been blatantly lied to. When I confronted the manager about it he said “what, did you expect a fee ride?” I was out of there as soon as I got a new position and when he threatened to sue me I went to his boss with an 8 page document proving fraud on the managers part. He was fired. They didn’t sue.

    I was top seller at one place that cut the commission from 20% to 15% and when I protested was told “it’s just a 5% cut”. Duh. No it’s 25%.

    And that is the worst part of sales – and it isn’t even on the list.

    Lack of respect for what we do.

    I once had a coworker who nailed it when he said “some places would replace sales staff with monkeys if they could. That’s how little regard management has for sales.”

    • Thanks for the comment Nicole and wow, I’m blown away that someone with your experience agrees with a lot of what the post said.

      If you’re the top seller and they’re not prepared to halt any changes for you then I’d be getting out of there.

      There are many companies that respect high quality sales professionals (I’ve been lucky enough to work for two of them) but I guess you just have to track them down.