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The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales:

31. Hitting on a Customer's Wife

By Steven J. Schmidt (4/13/09)

I would have to say that you might want to steer of this "sales tactic." Hitting on a man's wife at the door may not be the brightest idea when trying to sell a service or product. However, strange things have happened in sales, and we all have many stories to tell.

Imagine a scenario where you are selling Internet service to a potential customer. You tell the customer how great of quality the service is, and that it is actually cheaper than the current service that the customer currently has. However the customer says, "I am not interested, I'm going to stick with what I have."

Suddenly, the customer's wife comes over and asks her husband, "Did you turn down a deal where the service is better and cheaper? Why don't you let the salesman explain, and we can make a decision, based on that."

It might not be a good idea to say, "Thank you very much ma'am, but one of our main features is how strong and durable our service is, if you know what I mean." Now, of course that could be mistaken as a sexual remark, referring that one could be durable in bed. That could welcome the possibility of the husband giving you a right hook to the face.

Or, if the wife tells you that the service goes out from time to time, it might not be a bright idea to remark, "Well, while your service cannot perform the way you need it to, our service surely can perform the way you need us to." That right there could be misconstrued as a sexual remark that could get you slapped in the face.

Now, assume that you're selling window cleaning jobs to a residential client. You're sitting down at the table with both the husband and wife, and explaining that having a clean is vitally important. However, you tell them, "One great reason to have a clean window is so that when people like me come around to your door, we would love to see your wife walking around in her lingerie." Now, if you did not get slapped or punched with any of the remarks I gave examples of thus far, this will surely get your head flushed down the toilet. By the way, if you don't believe me, go ahead and try it. JUST KIDDING. I don't want you to get fired.

Something that is actually very common that most salespeople will not admit to is watching the wife. This is when you are trying to sell a man for example, and he is with his wife. This could be at a kiosk selling cellular phones, for example. He is asking you all of the questions and you are responding, but there is one little problem. His wife is so hot, you just cannot help yourself but stare at her the entire time. Granted, it might be the summer time and she is wearing some revealing clothing, but you are setting yourself up for not being able to get the sale. The only way that you would get a sale out of this is if the husband's wife thinks you are attractive and wants to have a threesome. But that's just wishful thinking.

There are a million different reasons why you should not hit on a man's wife. If you sell sets of knives for a living and let a customer hold one, please make sure you don't ask the man if his hot wife was in Jurassic Pork or Star Trek The Making of the Next Generation. Not only will you not get the sale; the husband may just decide to try his new knives out on you.

As a conclusion, try to stay away from hitting on a customer's wife. I tried to give you a few examples of what not to say to the husband. Whether you want to risk a sale, and more importantly, your life, is ultimately your decision.

More from The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales

  1. Walking Away - 2/16/09
  2. Not Looking Customers in the Eye - 2/16/09
  3. Talking Too Much - 2/16/09
  4. Not Listening to Customers - 2/16/09
  5. Not Knowing Your Product - 2/16/09
  6. Not Being Organized - 2/16/09
  7. Getting Distracted - 2/16/09
  8. Selling Price Alone - 2/16/09
  9. Not Getting Proper Rest - 2/17/09
  10. Getting Flustered (Lack of Production) - 2/19/09
  11. Leaving Territory Too Quickly - 2/20/09
  12. Being Rude to Customers - 2/23/09
  13. Being Too Content - 2/24/09
  14. Maintaining Poor Hygiene - 2/26/09
  15. Pressuring Customers - 2/28/09
  16. Not Having Fun - 3/2/09
  17. Not Closing - 3/3/09
  18. Lacking a Powerful Introduction - 3/4/09
  19. Not Following Up With Customers - 3/6/09
  20. Not Having a Strong Mentality - 3/8/09
  21. Lacking Discipline - 3/10/09
  22. Not Handling Objections - 3/12/09
  23. Sounding Desperate - 3/14/09
  24. Having Poor Customer Service - 3/17/09
  25. Not Taking a Vacation - 3/21/09
  26. Misreading Customers - 3/27/09
  27. Lacking a Unique Sales Identity - 3/31/09
  28. Not Letting Yourself Be Known - 4/6/09
  29. Not Having Patience - 4/9/09
  30. Not Holding Yourself Accountable - 4/11/09
  31. Hitting on a Customer's Wife - 4/13/09
  32. Acting Like a Salesperson - 4/23/09
  33. Overview - 5/23/09

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