Five One Liners That Kill A Sale

Prior to the economy tanking in the fall of 2008, business came relatively easy to most.  Regardless of the level of sales competency, there seemed to be enough business to go around.  Even those highly skilled in building trust, uncovering needs, and providing a solution, admit their sales skills had gotten ‘soft’ during the good times.  Needless to say, smart business owners are sharpening their sales skills once again.

There are, however, those daring few who have yet to master the 21st century sales skills needed to make the sale.  Here are a few one-liners we’ve experienced firsthand the past 2 weeks that put a nail in the sales coffin. (Pardon our sarcasm.)

1.  “I don’t know what you do”.  (From a cold call made to our office offering a product/service.) What goes through our mind: Really?  Didn’t you do your homework on our company before you made this call? 

 2.  “I’m new at this”.  (From a cold call made to our office offering a product/service.) What goes through our mind: Seriously?  Why would we want to do business with you?

 3.  “Call our office on Monday.”  (From an email received from a potential vendor that we could refer.) What goes through our mind: What?  Your company doesn’t offer customer service?

 4.  “Can you call to remind me?” (From a call made to a potential vendor that could be referred.)  What goes through our mind: Honestly?  Do I look like your administrative assistant?

 5.  “I’ll get that right out to you”.  (From a vendor from whom we were ready to purchase.)  What goes through our mind: Excuse me.  Can you clarify what “right now” means?  We’ve  been waiting, with credit card in hand, for 10 days now.

This is honestly what goes through our mind – and the minds of your potential buyers – when such deadly one-liners are heard or read. Undoubtedly you’ve heard some good one-liners yourself…..hopefully not from us!

Our recommendation?  Avoiding killing the sale by arming yourself with research on your potential client and some well-thought out, well-rehearsed scripts that demonstrate you’re here to help.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I do not think that you lead with “I am new” but if you are, how do you think you spin that into a positive?

  2. I wouldn’t think you’d have to announce you are new; I think that is nerves.  You should go in with confidence and if they ask a question that you don’t have an answer for, then you can just say – “Let me follow up with that, I just want to be sure I’m giving you the right information  .. those are just my thoughts.

  3. Amy is right on….undoubtedly, the caller was suffering from newbie jitters. It speaks to the importance of the importance of conducting research and preparing your presentation. We don’t have a second chance to make a first impression so its important to make it count.

  4. Basically, it all comes done to customer service. Remember, they show you who they are the 1st time. #4 was a man, right?! I have only had men say that to me. What am I your secretary?