2021 Sales & Marketing

7 Differences Between Good Salesmen And Bad Salesmen

7 Differences Between Good Salesmen And Bad Salesmen


People talk a lot about sales. 


People either hate sales or love sales – however most people wish they could be better at sales. In this article, I’m going to share with you the 7 characteristics that separate good salesmen from bad ones. 


The truth is that most salesmen are terrible. They’re pushy and they make people feel uncomfortable. 


Most of their ‘success’ comes from people who are just simply too timid to say no. 


And as far as I’m concerned, that is not a way to be long term successful or happy. 


The question that I’m fundamentally trying to answer is: does sales need to make people feel ‘icky’ to be successful? 


Is it not possible to have a sale between seller and client – where both people feel positive and like their lives are about to dramatically improve? 


I even included a bonus at the end. 


Oh, and for more resources, here are my Top 3 Recommended Books on selling:


  1. Jeffrey Gitomer: The Little Red Book Of Selling
  2. Brian Tracy: The Psychology Of Selling
  3. Chet Holmes The Ultimate Sales Machine


  • Salesman Success #1: Good Salesmen Have The Right Solution At The Right Time, Bad Salesmen Have Any Solution And Try To Shove It Down Your Throat


Think about it: have you ever seen a product and thought “OMG I JUST NEED THAT RIGHT NOW!!”


Granted, it is rare – but it does happen – why? Was it because there was such a convincing salesman on the other side? 


No – it’s because they just had the right solution at the right time. They understood the market, and understood what the market needed, and they developed a solution for it. 


And because you already knew you had the problem, as soon as you saw the product that offered the solution – you knew that you needed it. 


And that’s what good salesmen do – the offer the right products/services/solutions at the right time – and people just buy them because they already know that they need them. 


Contrast that with the bad salesman: the bad salesman has no connection to the market. 


He doesn’t know what the market wants, and doesn’t care about meeting their needs. 


Instead, the bad salesman has already predetermined what the market SHOULD want, and tries to shove that down their throats. 


And that is why the bad salesman meets resistance: nobody wants what he’s selling. 


The good salesman listens to what the market needs, the bad salesman tells the market what it should want. 


One more time to be clear:


The good salesman listens, the bad salesman tells. 


  • Salesman Success #2: Good Salesmen Are Real, Bad Salesmen Are Fake


We all know it. We all know that meme of the sleazy car salesman. 




Because we can smell the fakeness. We know when they’re putting on that fake smile, that fake banter that fake trying to pretend to be our friend – we know that it’s all fake with the sole intention of getting us to buy that car. 


And we don’t like it. So we don’t buy. 


So what distinguishes the good salesman?


The good salesman is real. He expresses his genuine thoughts and emotions. When he’s having a bad day, he lets you know, he doesn’t try to hide it. If he just had a big fight with his wife, he lets you know. 


Not to get pity or sympathy – but simply to express that he’s a real person. 


People buy from people they feel comfortable with – and nobody feels comfortable around a fake smile. 


When you’re real, people will just enjoy being around you – because they know they can relax. 


  • Salesman Success #3: Good Salesmen Treat Sales Like It’s No Big Deal, Bad Salesmen Treat Sales Like It’s Super Serious


Bad salesmen treat sales like they are super serious. Like this is life and death kinda stuff, and OMG if the sale doesn’t happen it’s all over!


Good salesmen are different. Good salesmen are relaxed, they’re comfortable, they know that rejection is just part of the game and they roll with the punches. 


Good salesmen are able to take the long view and see that life is a marathon, not a sprint – so if the sale doesn’t happen today, that is perfectly cool. 


The good salesman is as cool as a cucumber. 


  • Salesman Success #4: Good Salesmen Dream About The Long Term, Bad Salesmen Stress About The Short Term


Bad salesmen stress about the short term. 


They are so caught up with making the sale today, that they have no problem just bulldozing conversations and making people feel super pressured and uncomfortable. 


Unfortunately, this strategy works well enough that bad salesmen keep doing it. However, they don’t realise the damage it does in terms of making people not like them, or feel uncomfortable around them. 


Good salesmen however, are focused on the long term. They know deep down that the sale may or may not happen today, but that either way it doesn’t matter, because given enough time, the sales will come in. 


Side note: this is why it is important to limit your expenses and live within your means. If you’re stressed out by massive piles of debt, of course you’ll be stressing about making that quick sale. 


However, if you’ve got enough cash in savings to last you the next 12 months – you’re not stressing about whether any one particular sale finishes or not. 


Good salesmen are here for the long game. 


  • Salesman Success #5: Good Salesmen Don’t Take Rejection Personally, Bad Salesmen Have Their Sensitive Little Egos Hurt


Bad salesmen have sensitive egos. 


They take rejection super personally, and feel like they personally have been rejected. 


This only adds to the stress and anxiety that most customers face when dealing with a bad salesman, because they know deep down that he is not comfortable and secure in his own masculinity. 


The good salesman is secure. He is completely comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is and he’s proud of himself (without being arrogant). 


If a customer says no, the good salesman never takes the rejection personally. 


The good salesman knows that his solution, just wasn’t quite the right fit for that customer. Nothing personal, this is just business. 


  • Salesman Success #6: Good Salesmen Put Little Emphasis On The Sale, Bad Salesmen Think The Sale Is Everything


Bad salesmen treat the sale like it is everything. 


Everything comes down to making the sale and completing the transaction. Beyond that, nothing matters. 


So what’s the problem with that? 


Your customers can feel the tension. 


Your customers can feel that negative energy, and they want nothing to do with you. In fact, they want to get away from you as fast as humanly possible. 


The good salesman by contrast, puts little emphasis on the sale. He knows that making the sale is important, but even more important than making the sale, is actually helping his customer. 


The good salesman puts service above selling. He’s all about finding real ways to solve his customers problems, even if that means recommending someone else’s product.


He knows that in the long term, good karma will always come back. 


  • Salesman Success #7: Good Salesmen Look At Sales Like A Treasure Hunt, Bad Salesmen Look At Sales Like A Boxing Match


If there’s one core philosophy around sales I can leave you with today, it is this:


Good salesmen look at sales like a treasure hunt, while bad salesmen look at sales like a boxing match. 


What do I mean by that?


Bad salesmen view sales like a fight – and they’re trying to beat their customer into submission. They need their customer to know that the customer is the beta, and the sales guy is the alpha – and he’s got the best solution in the world, and he will shove it down the customers throat until the customer finally gives in from exhaustion. 


Not a great strategy. It sounds mentally exhausting to me. 


By contrast – the good salesman looks at sales like a treasure hunt. 


What’s the treasure? The treasure is the customer who already knows they want to find the thing. 


Think about it – There are billions of people in the world, and probably a few million in your city – there are going to be tens of thousands of people who have already mentally decided that they’d love to buy your product – your job is simply to find them. 


And this is the core piece that I want to leave you with: bad salesmen waste their time trying to convince, good salesmen invest their time finding the people who are already convinced. 


It is a completely different mindset and approach. An entirely different worldview of sales. 


  • BONUS – #8: Good Salesmen Are Overflowing With Life Experience, Bad Salesmen Are Trying To Make A Quick Buck


Last point here as a quick bonus. 


Humans respect humans who have been through shit. Life experience brings respect. 


A good salesman will be overflowing with life experience – he’s been places, he’s seen things, he’s experienced setbacks and failures – and it is from his vast array of life experience, that he is able to make the customer feel at ease and taken care of. 


The bad salesman by contrast – has no real life experience. He got into selling just to make a quick buck, and doesn’t understand how important his own personal journey and experience is in making the sale. 


See most bad salesmen think that selling is just about selling – that if you learn enough sales techniques that you can make it. 


But the reality is that those are all just band-aids. 


The true training that you need is life experience. You need your battle wounds and war scars. 


You need to have been to the other side and made it back again. 


Otherwise, you’re just a clown, dancing for amusement. 

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