Each week, we bring you the most cringe-worthy sales moments from across the web. To submit your sales fail story for consideration, click here. (Don't worry, you'll remain completely anonymous).
“This happened when I was in my first year of sales, many moons ago. I was an Account Executive at a nationwide mortgage company, before the crash of 2008. We worked out of a branch, and each branch had a sales manager and branch managers, and the places were basically run like boiler rooms. Maybe not as extreme, but pretty close.
One time I had this deal that I just couldn’t get to sign with us for a refinance. It was a complete no-brainer, but the guy kept waffling. My sales manager and I were committed to it, because it was a fairly slow month for the branch, and because it was such a slam-dunk.
The branch manager we had at the time was this hard-charging type. He was non-stop, super arrogant, combative, and full of himself. But at the time, there was this mythology around him because he was in his early twenties and was already a branch manager because of how successful he had been as an AE and then as a sales manager. Long story short, a lot of people didn’t like him but basically respected him because of how far he’d come.
So I decided to ask my branch manager to get on a call with my prospect to help get things rolling. I figure if anyone can do this, he can. And he agrees, and a handful of us sit on the desks around him (he got on the phone at my desk) to watch and listen and learn a thing or two.
So the call starts off fine, he asks him a few questions, the usual etc. But after a few minutes, he starts getting combative with the prospect, and they basically end up in a full-on argument. After a while, he ends the call, stands up, and says something like, “That guy is an asshole,” and goes back into his office. Not sure if I could’ve got the deal to move forward on my own either, but that definitely put the nail in the coffin on that one.”
Anonymous Location withheld
“This actually happened to me last month, and I still can’t really make sense of it. I sell software, and our target customers are engineers and CTOs. Without going into too much detail, our software is a nice add-on for people who already use a very specific tech stack.
So I got this lead, and connected with the prospect. We did a one-on-one discovery/demo video call, then he said he would get back to me. He was friendly on the call, and didn’t do or say anything weird, and even when we ended the call, he was polite and acting totally normal.
After the call, I followed up and asked if he was ready to proceed. No response. I followed up a few days later, then again a day after that. Then, I got a response in the form of an email.
He said that he doesn’t do business with “dishonest liars,” and that he wouldn’t use our software if it was free. I had absolutely no clue what he was talking about so I reached back out and politely said that perhaps there was a miscommunication and asked what it was that he felt I was being dishonest about.
He responded with “You know EXACTLY what you did.”
I have re-read our communication over and over again, and have absolutely no clue what this guy is talking about. What could I possibly have even lied to him about? It’s the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to me in sales, so I had to share.”
“I used to work for a mortgage company in a big regional call center. One of the things that would happen quite often is that people who were shopping for houses would call us to get pre-qualified, but their realtor would then encourage them to work with somebody else to get their mortgage.
This was annoying, but what made it even worse was that since we were a call center with set hours, people would call us when they needed a pre-qualification letter to submit along with their offer since they knew we would be open and would be able to give it to them even though they had no intention of using us.
Well, one day, this couple I had pre-qualified before called in and said they needed a pre-qual letter asap to submit with their offer. I asked if they were going to definitely use us for financing, since we didn’t want to do work for somebody else, and they said yes, absolutely. Their realtor then got on the phone with me and swore up and down that they would finance through us.
So I sent them the letter and waited. A day went by and I followed up with the buyers. They sent a quick reply saying they were going to get financed through a friend of the realtor. I called the realtor who kept sending me straight to voicemail, but I left a pretty harsh message about how dishonest of a person he was. No one is obligated to work with us, but the lying right to my face was a little too much. In any case, not sure if this is a Sales Fail, but it definitely felt like one to me.”
Anonymous Location withheld