Sales Fails: "I took over my coworker's accounts after he left for a competitor. He completely screwed me"

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).

I remember working with a guy at a software company a few years ago. We’re a big company and in some ways, it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. He was a decent sales rep but he was one of those guys who always thought he was too good to work in sales, so I got the impression that he was either full of it or wouldn’t be somebody that stayed around for long.

Lo and behold, he announced that he was leaving to go to a competitor of ours. It wasn’t surprising at all and I don’t think management really cared all that much. He did offer to stay for his two weeks but as was customary at the time, his accounts were going to be handed off to other reps and they wouldn’t let him communicate with the customers unless it was to do the hand off.

Well, I was one of the people who took over the majority of his accounts. And my life basically became a living hell for the next two months. This guy had known he was leaving for a long time, and he must’ve been interviewing for the previous six months or something, because he had made all of these absolutely insane promises to his prospects, had them send in all sorts of stuff we didn’t need, and didn’t ask for the things we did. He was essentially pretending to work while searching for another job. 

As you can imagine, we ended up losing a lot of the deals. We did manage to keep a few but it was honestly one of the most unpleasant experiences I’d had to deal with in my sales career. I basically had to call people and tell them the projects they had been counting on were either impossible or were going to cost three or four times what they were promised. My managers were so pissed they actually considered suing the employee. But eventually, we all just moved on. 

Anonymous      Location withheld 

I sell luxury cars at a dealership. One day, this guy came in. He knew what he was looking for and wanted to take a test drive. He was nice enough, pretty quiet, but there was something odd about his mannerisms. 

Anyway, after the test drive we're both sitting in the car, and I was telling him about the different packages. He asked what the price would be for the exact car we were sitting in if he drove it off the lot today. I told him the price. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Mike sent me," and smiled. I sat there confused, trying to figure out who the hell Mike was. Nothing came to mind. I tried to be polite and asked him which Mike he was talking about. There was no one at our dealership named Mike and I hadn't sold a car to a man named Mike in a while. He looked me in the eyes again with a completely straight face and said, "Mike sent me, he said you'd give me a good deal." 

I kept trying to get more details out of him about who this Mike character was, but he just kept saying that Mike had sent him and he was told he'd get a special deal. Eventually, I gave him the lowest price I could give him. I could see him thinking about it for a few seconds before he said, "That doesn't seem like the Mike discount. Too expensive." He got out of the car and left. I never found out who Mike was.

Anonymous      Location withheld 

My best sales story is the time I went to a prospect’s office to give a sales presentation. The prospect was actually a sales manager himself, and we were looking to sell him some industry-specific software which he would use for his team, then, if they liked it, roll it out to the whole company. 

I showed up early and they put me in a conference room while the manager and another employee got ready. While I was waiting in the conference room with the door open, the manager who I was supposed to meet with came into the office directly across the hall while on his cell phone. 

He closed the door behind him, but he started screaming so loud that I could hear everything he was saying. He was screaming at someone from his condo association (or homeowner association), telling them that there was no way he was going to pay something because he had already paid for it once. He was screaming at the top of his lungs and swearing. He told them to go ahead and sue him, because he would spend “literally every penny I have” defending himself in court. 

This went on for close to half an hour. When he finally got off the phone, he walked past my conference room without even noticing me. A few minutes later, his coworker came in and I gave him my presentation without the manager present. Apparently he was too upset to meet with anyone. Long story short, the deal did not close. I wonder if he ever went to court over that call. 

Anonymous      Location withheld 

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