Don’t Be An Annoying Salesperson: 3 Selling Skills to Improve Your Sales Persona

We received an email from a client last week that sparked the sales tips and ideas in last week’s blog post titled Selling Skills: Guest or Pest. If you tuned in last Tuesday, we hope you found our prospecting approach and follow up questions to be helpful.

In a follow up email with this same client, she said something that really resonated with me as a salesperson that has experienced a fair share of rejection. Our client shared her thoughts and feelings:

[…] we were all hired as non-sales people … so this is virgin territory for me. My biggest fear is being perceived as a pest or annoying.”

Pest. Annoying.

When I read her email, those words stuck out to me as if they were the only two on the page. In my early sales training days, one of the first lessons I was taught was to “never be annoying.” I made it my mission from that point on to never be a bother, and I’d like to share three tips to improve your selling skills and avoid being a pesky salesperson.

1. Own It

Let’s face it: we’ve all experienced an obnoxious or aggressive salesperson at some point in our lives.

They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. In sales, the first step to not being annoying is to recognize that very fact with your prospects and potential clients. Rather than putting all of the focus on trying not to be annoying, simply verbalize it to your prospect. I like to say things like:

• “I don’t want to bother you”
• “The last thing I want to do is waste your time”
• “I don’t mean to be a nuisance, please let me know if this isn’t a good time”

When said genuinely, statements like these can be very powerful. Acknowledging bad perceptions is appreciated by prospects, and they certainly respect someone who is being honest. Plus, these acknowledgements can also serve as a great icebreaker.

2. Ask for Feedback

Arnold Glasgow once said, “Improvement begins with I.” We cannot control the way others perceive us, but we can make an effort to improve our sales persona by focusing on improving ourselves. One of the most successful ways to do this is to ask your current clients for feedback. Here is my 3-step strategy:

• Choose a current client that you have a great relationship with and ask them if you can seek their advice.
• Ask them this series of questions:
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how helpful are my visits/calls?”
“What could I do to improve and be more helpful?”
“I am worried about being perceived as a nuisance. Do you have any advice on some behaviors that you think I should avoid?”
• Thank them for their feedback and apply their answers to your approach.

3. Follow a Role Model

We have all encountered someone at some point in our lives that’s served as an inspiration. Whether we’ve met this person, are inspired by a book they wrote, or are motivated by their story of success, this world is full of positive people worth emulating. Now, I’d like to be clear—there is a difference between trying to be someone and trying to be like someone. Everyone will fall or fail at some point or another. Focusing on positive role models will help improve not only your business persona, but will impact your personal life as well.

As an example, here is a list of some of my role models and reasons why:

• Thomas Edison
Reason: Even after thousands of failed attempts to make the light bulb, he never gave up. To quote Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
• John Maxwell
Reason: Talk about a passionate, positive person. Maxwell’s books have inspired me to be a better human being in general, not just in business. One of my favorite Maxwell business quotes that also applies in the personal realm, “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”
• Positive Friends/Mentors
Reason: This one certainly speaks for itself, but without naming names, I have quite a few friends and mentors that I reflect on in times of doubt. Remember, you are who your friends are, and keeping good company is crucial.

If there is one lesson to be learned it’s this: in business and in life, be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. When you stumble, simply own it, ask for feedback, and use your role models as a guide. These three steps will not only improve your selling skills as a sales manager or salesperson, but will help make you a better human being in all aspects of life.

If you enjoyed the above approach, we encourage you implement it in your Sales PlayBook. Don’t have a Sales PlayBook? The CFS Sales PlayBook can help you grow your business, click here to schedule a demo.

By | 2016-10-17T16:33:00+00:00 June 23rd, 2015|Sales Leaders, Sales Success|3 Comments

About the Author:

Rebecca Smith is the Director of Marketing at Criteria for Success. She writes about sales, sales leadership, social selling best practices, time management, and anything related to helping others discover success. Be sure to say hi on Twitter @RebeckerSmith.


  1. Kendrick June 24, 2015 at 10:19 am - Reply

    “I am worried about being perceived as a nuisance. Do you have any advice on some behaviors that you think I should avoid?” – AWESOME.

    In sales roles, when we’re concerned about annoying others, that means that our focus is on ourselves – what we’re going to get out of the sale. However, we must remain focused on the belief that what we do is DELIVER VALUE to the market – we are the problem solvers who make our clients and customers breathe easier. Focus on what your prospect will get out of your call – BELIEVE IT – and you’ll be more effective.

    • Rebecca Smith June 24, 2015 at 10:38 am - Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Kendrick! Great advice!

  2. Raymond December 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Great post! Really liked the tips here. Kudos!!

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