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Almost anyone can get an entry-level sales job. There are so many sales positions in the world that most people can at least get their foot in the door somewhere. But not everyone has what it takes to not only keep the job, but to move up into higher-end sales and make it a career.

In fact, there are certain types of people who will never succeed in sales because of certain characteristics that are incompatible with the profession. Surprisingly, being an introvert really has nothing to do with it. While these are the types of people who never succeed in sales, there are plenty of people who do, and a lot of them use Spiro’s AI-Powered sales automation CRM. But these nine types of people never succeed at sales:

1. The Know-It-All

The problem with this type of person isn’t that they’re usually insufferable and unpleasant to talk to, although that definitely causes its own problems. The problem is that the Know-It-All isn’t willing to take advice or learn from their mistakes, because they already know it all. This means no progress, unnecessary stubbornness, and a short sales career.

2. The Liar

Liars not only give honest salespeople a bad name, they’re not made for the sales world. Sure, you can lie to make a sale, but you can’t make a career out of it, because sooner or later your reputation catches up to you. Thankfully, ethics are playing a bigger and bigger role in sales culture as digital media has made lying an expensive thing to do.

3. The Impatient

Having a sense of urgency will help someone in sales, but being impatient will have the opposite effect. It takes time to prospect and build up the kind of book of business that will make someone a small fortune in sales, and those who don’t have the patience to put in the work and wait for the results will just keep switching jobs without achieving the level of success everyone strives for.

4. The Complainer

This type of person is always looking at what’s going wrong, and never at what’s going right. Complaining gets you nowhere in sales. As Mark Cuban says, business is the most competitive sport there is, and you shouldn’t expect any sympathy from your competitors, your customers, or your management. You either have to focus on finding a solution, or hit the road.

5. The Overthinker

Your mind can be your own worst enemy sometimes. Taking action is infinitely more important in sales than contemplation, but there are certain personalities that overanalyze every angle of a situation instead of just going for it. Prospect for clients, overcome objections, and close deals instead of sitting around thinking about what could go wrong.

6. The Egomaniac

Granted, this type of person can succeed in sales, but only if they’re self-aware enough to turn off the egomania when dealing with customers. Being overly focused on yourself is the kiss of death in sales, because your main goal is to empathize with the prospect and solve their problems. The customer isn’t interested in hearing about how great you are, they want to know how great you’ll make their lives.

7. The Excuse-Maker

If you’re prone to excuses, don’t even bother going into sales. Your managers and coworkers will chew you out and spit you out faster than you can say “But, the leads are awful!” The truth is that almost everyone can come up with excuses for their lack of success, but true salespeople aren’t focused on excuses, they’re focused on results. And if that means leaving a company that isn’t providing enough support for one that is, that’s what they will do.

8. The Talker

Contrary to popular belief, talking isn’t the most important skill in sales, listening is. Overbearing talkers who constantly interrupt prospects never do as well as those who take the time to listen and learn about what people are looking for. Think about how annoying it is to sit there and listen to someone ramble on and on without giving you a chance to talk. It’s the worst.

9. The Commitment-phobe

We’re not talking about relationships here, but people who are afraid or hesitant to commit to a sales career will never do well. If you’re always looking for the next best thing instead of focusing on becoming the best where you are, then you’ll keep hopping around, always cutting ties before becoming successful.


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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.


  • Moshe says:

    Great article. I’d also add the type of people who don’t want to sound “salesy” or who are afraid of the prospect identifying them as sales people. In my experience, it’s important to be transparent to the prospect and that includes the fact that I want business to be the result of our engagement.

  • Alex says:

    So it seems that if you show any natural human qualities whatsoever, you’re not fit for sales (according to this article).

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