Sales Fails: "I was selling door-to-door and accidently let the prospect's dog escape"

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 to me about ten years ago or so. I had my first job selling roofing door-to-door, commission-only. I was actually closing some deals and making really good money for my age. 

One day, I rang the doorbell of a prospect's house and a small dog came to the door and started barking at me acting like a big scary dog. A woman answered the door, and used her foot to keep the dog back and came out onto the front steps. I gave her my pitch and she seemed to warm up to me and invited me in to discuss the details. 

The dog had calmed down by this point and was just sitting with us in the living room, occasionally coming over to sniff my feet. We talked for about 15 minutes. It was going well and I had a good feeling I was going to close the deal. 

After we wrapped up and went over some of the paperwork, we talked in the hallway for a minute, then I thanked her for her time and told her I'd see myself out. But as soon as I opened the front door, the dog darted outside. The woman screamed and ran outside to chase him before I could even move. I ran out after her, we must have chased that dog around the neighborhood for a half an hour. 

When we finally caught it, the woman gave me a dirty look and said she'd call me if she was still interested. Of course, she never called.

Anonymous             Location Withheld

The worst mess-up I’ve ever had in sales is one-hundred percent my fault. At the time, I was honestly thinking about leaving my company, so I was kind of checked out. The funny thing is I actually ended up staying for a few more years after. But it’s still painful to remember.

Anyway, I was selling software. It’s not important what type of software it was. The important part was that it worked differently for different industries. So, on demos, we had to display the use-cases based on the prospect’s industry and needs. For instance, a company that sold cleaning products would use the software differently than a company that handled logistics. 

I was handed a lead from our lead gen department. Supposedly, it had already been qualified, and a demo had been scheduled. I was to give the demo. We had pre-built demo templates depending on the industry. All we had to do was enter the company name so it looks like it had been customized. 

Well, rather than pay close attention and confirm that I was researching the right company, I literally did a google search and clicked on the first link that came up for the company name. And, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, it was a completely different company that just had the same name as the one I was supposed to demo to.

So we got on the demo call. Thankfully it was only me and two people from the company. And I got about ten minutes into the presentation, which showed our software helping them manage their supply-chain business when they stopped me and asked if this would work in their industry, which was commercial real estate management. The funniest part: we didn’t have any use-case for their industry. 

Needless to say, that deal did not close. And I still cringe a bit when I think about them saying, “Excuse me, but I have a question,” in the middle of my demo.  

Anonymous             Location Withheld

Recently, I was in a product demo for a Security Suit specially designed for the authorities. In Germany, it’s well known that authorities are really behind on everything digitization-related, and in this case, so was this particular product. 

Usually, I sell leading solutions to enterprise customers. So, as I sat there, I was impressed by how bad the product we were pitching actually was. It was a small deal and I wasn't interested in it, so I turned my camera off. 

A colleague was standing next to me, and he was also blown away by the low standards of our authorities, so I said, "Wow, that solution is total bullshit" — well, I wasn't muted. 

I got removed from the call, and now some other partner has the pleasure of working on this deal.

Anonymous             Germany   

You might also like

Everything sales, straight to your inbox.

Sign up for The Quota, a fun, free weekly newsletter for salespeople and sales leaders -- from the people who brought you Sales Humor.

Thanks for subscribing! Just one more step!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.