Skip to main content ↓

These 5 Habits Make Sales Reps Look Desperate

a man in a blue hoodie covering his face with his hands

No one likes desperation. We instinctively react to needy people by shaking off their grip and running.

So why do sales reps fall victim to desperate habits?

There’s a lot of pressure to reaching that sales quota. And when a sale is on the line, sometimes distress takes over what once was a good conversation.

While eagerness is healthy, desperation is not. Here’s how these five bad habits repel instead of sell to your potential customers.

Begging for a Meeting

Pushing a prospect to meet is rather pushy, especially after expressing no interest in the sale.

Instead of begging for another shot, ask them a genuine question: “Do you not see enough value in (product/service) for you to schedule another call with me?”

This gets to the real root of their situation faster. If the potential customer says that they’re swamped at work, then you have established that they are just not ready to buy now.

But if they answer yes, then they don’t see how they can benefit from what you sell. That means one more meeting or call probably won’t change their minds.

Don’t say, “I really think you could be a great fit” or “all your competitors are doing it.” Don’t call. Don’t schedule a meeting.

Thank them for their time politely and move forward with another promising opportunity.

Pushing the Solution Too Quickly

It’s part of the sales process to ask questions. Learning the potential customer’s pain points lets you understand how your product or service can solve their issue.

And it’s exciting when there’s a match between their problem and your solution. But being too aggressive to find that connection comes off as desperate.

In an ideal sales process, the potential buyer discovers how your product or service is the best solution. To get to this conclusion, you have to resist the urge to blurt, “we can solve that for you!”

It’s more valuable to show, not tell. Explain how other customers like them have solved similar problems. That way, the potential customer can see themselves solving their own situation with your solution.


Not a Nutshell customer? Try us free for 14 days!



a cartoon of a man holding a yellow balloon

Giving Ultimatums

Threats are no way to nurture a business relationship. Yet many sales reps unfortunately go there.

Phrases like “I’ll lose my job if I don’t make this deal” or “I’ll keep calling until you give me an answer” sound like quotes from a bad film. But sales reps accidentally weave them into their sales speech due to frustration or fear.

This isn’t the way to make a customer feel good about your company. And it also puts the potential buyer in a really uncomfortable position.

Before the conversation goes south, provide specific alternatives. This gives your potential buyer options and a feeling of control in the sales process without feeling backed into a corner.

Speaking With a Shaky Voice

We’re all drawn to confidence. By speaking more confidently, your potential customer feels more confident about your company and what you sell.

If you feel nervous or choked up, your voice won’t hide it. And your potential customer will hear it, which will likely affect their buying decision.

Don’t let the desperation creep into your vocal chords. Take a deep breath, compose yourself and picture the confidence you want to present to your caller before picking up the phone.

Not Taking the Hint

Some sales simply don’t go anywhere. They ignore your calls and delete your emails without responding.

What’s not okay is refusing to let the sale go. It comes off as desperate when you send ten emails or leave dozens of voicemails, especially if the potential customer never responded to your first message.

A solid sales process has steps to follow for when and how often to reach out to a potential customer before deciding that they’re no longer a fit. Make sure to keep uninterested opportunities in mind when drafting out these steps. A CRM that keeps your sales process in mind lets you incorporate these steps into your system so that your sales team reaches out at strategic points of the process.

What other bad habits make sales reps look desperate? Share your story below.

Thanks to Christian Erfurt for the cover photo.


Is Nutshell a perfect match for your favorite software?

Nutshell integrates with tons of software, both natively and through Zapier. See if your favorites are on the list.



a cartoon illustration of two puzzle pieces with faces on them
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Join 30,000+ other sales and marketing professionals. Subscribe to our Sell to Win newsletter!