Sales Fails: "I went to a job interview and the place was a complete dump"

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 used to work in the mortgage industry, after the financial crisis but before the rates got really insane. The company I worked for gave us leads but paid us on a paid tier system. Basically, we wouldn’t get a flat rate, we would get a commission payout based on our monthly revenue target, so hitting a higher tier would pay us more for all the deals we closed.

A friend of mine wanted to refinance his house. He wasn’t a close friend but he was somebody that I knew fairly well. We went through all the paperwork and got the process started, ordered an appraisal, etc. His deal would be the deal that would put me in the highest payout tier, so I was pumped. After all, you’re unlikely to lose a deal from somebody you know, right?

Wrong! A few weeks into the process, he texted me and told me his wife had found a better offer somewhere else. He asked if we could beat it. Not just match it, but beat it. We couldn’t do either, otherwise we would literally be losing money on the loan, and my managers weren’t going to go for that. I couldn’t believe it. 


Needless to say, he ended up canceling with me despite me begging him to keep the loan with us and even offering to pay him under the table (from my higher commissions) if closed. But he wouldn’t go for it. And he canceled the deal, things got weird between us. I think he was somehow convinced that I had been trying to screw him over, when I was honestly giving him the best pricing our company had available. But hey, what can you do!?

Anonymous             Location Withheld

I sell software in a relatively narrow niche. We only have a few competitors, but whenever a prospect is looking for a solution, there’s a very good chance they’re looking at one of our other competitors along with us. 

When I first started here, I had a call with a prospect who seemed like a good candidate. He didn’t seem price-sensitive and was asking all sorts of great buying questions. We had been on a call for close to an hour when he asked about one of our competitors. The one he asked about was our “main” competitors, and we tended to compete for a lot of business.

At first, I played it safe and kind of just talked about some features we had that they didn’t have. But he seemed to kind of egg me on a bit about how competitive we were with each other (or this might have been my imagination), and I started kind of laying into them and got into some of the bad things we knew about them (they had just lost their CTO, they had some nasty reviews etc.)

We finished the call and the prospect told me he would be in touch. I sent him a recap and next steps email, but he never reached back out, so I followed up a few days later. He responded to my email saying that he couldn’t work with a company that badmouths their competition, even though it felt like he was basically encouraging me to badmouth them. In any case, it was a lesson learned — Just stick to the facts. 

Anonymous             Location withheld 

Back when I just graduated from college, I was interviewing for different sales jobs. I was excited to start making some money, and, at the time, I heard you could make a lot of money working in the mortgage industry. 

I got a call back from a company that wanted me to come and interview with them. They were about a half hour away from my house. I put on a nice suit and put my resume into a folder and drove down to meet with them. 

The company was in a small building that looked more like a multi-family house than an office, though it did have a big parking lot. One thing that caught my eye was that the cars in the parking lot were kind of crappy. I know it’s kind of a lame thing to notice, but they were all cheap and beat up-looking cars, which, from my experience interviewing with other companies, wasn’t what I’d expected from an industry that was booming. 

So I went inside and met the manager. He seemed nice enough, but I noticed that everybody there was dressed kind of schlubby. One guy was wearing a white t-shirt with a stain on it and everybody else was in jeans or even shorts. This was way before the workplace got super-casual, so it was a pretty unusual thing to see. 

The manager and I went into his office and he started asking me general interview questions. He told me his guys made a ton of money and basically made it seem like it was a no-brainer for me to come join. Then he asked if I had any questions. I thought about it, then asked him why, if everybody is making so much money, there aren’t any nice cars in the parking lot. He looked at me for a long time, then stood up, and said the opportunity was “not on the table anymore.” I guess I missed out on a small fortune… 

Anonymous             Location withheld

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