As a freelancer or small business owner, you need to sell.

I get it. All reasonable people get it. If you don’t sell, how will anyone know what you have to offer?

And if you don’t sell, how on earth will your business or the people that rely on you survive?

As a person whose job includes selling, I have definitely been annoying more than once. I am a believer in persistence paying off. I have admittedly been able to get in front of customers that have said that the only reason they’ve answered me is that they’ve “received all my messages” – which has been a polite way of saying that they could no longer resist any more phone calls from me. They were agreeing to meet with me as if throwing their hands up in the air saying, ‘OK, I’ll listen.’

Whether I closed deals with them is another story, but as for me there was no love lost because it was due to circumstances outside of my control, and not because I didn’t try.

The bottom line is, I won’t even get a “no” if no one knows I have something to offer.

In sales, being invisible is a total loss. But rejection still has the potential to become a victory.

Anyhow, we’re not here to talk about my sales philosophy. In fact, I don’t claim to be a sales expert so I’m not here to dole out advice on how to sell, either. The point of sharing my experience as a seller is just to say this: I do not hate salespeople. I simply can’t.

I’m merely writing from the perspective of the consumer to say what not to do, to hopefully help you win.

This list includes a few things I’ve done myself and I’ve seen the error of my ways, mostly because of how I’ve felt when approached by other salespeople who are still doing them.

A few of these things have been driving me crazy lately because I’ve been bombarded by them, especially on social media. By the way, it’s so easy to tell who’s on social media to build real relationships and see through those who simply see all of their contacts as leads.

Now, I’m flattered that they all think I have the money to spend, but I have to tell you that the mistakes they’re making are schooling me every day on what not do to. I put this little list of gripes for laughs (please don’t take anything personally) and also so that we as sellers can look at ways to change our approach as sellers and build relationships that will pay off not only now, but in the long-run as well.

  1. Request a meeting before establishing trust. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of you and you want to have a meeting? I’m not going to say I’ll say no every time, but it will be a no at least 9 times out of 10.
  2. Refuse to provide info in writing to let me see if I’m interested in a meeting, first. Who would meet with someone without knowing what they’re getting into?
  3. Threaten me with FOMO. Nothing else will make me resistant to your pitch faster.
  4. Threaten to never contact me again if I don’t answer your follow-up messages. If didn’t ask you to contact me to begin with, your threat is actually welcomed. You’re threatening to lessen my inbox and voicemail box load, and you’d only be doing me a favor.
  5. Lack of transparency. Like in any relationship, if you try to hide things from me, it’s over.
  6. SPAM-selling. I know you need to reach as many people as possible quickly, but if you send me a message that’s completely irrelevant to me I’ll take it as SPAM.
  7. Won’t take no for an answer. If I buy something under pressure, I’m going to seriously consider returning or canceling it before the cancellation window expires. Unless I really, really, love it.
  8. Speak to me in a fake excited voice. Please calm down, your exuberance is scaring me. We can have a normal conversation to determine if I’m a potential customer for you. No BS needed.
  9. Ask me a bunch of questions about me that are not relevant to your service thinking you’re flattering me or you’re building rapport. I will question your motives if you don’t tell me the truth up front about why you’ve called.

As a consumer, which are the sales tactics that have failed on you? What kind of salespeople have you enjoyed working with?

I’d love to hear from anyone on this subject that can help being sold be a lot less annoying and instead a lot more fun.