Four Things That Instantly Turn Customers Off

You must avoid these if you want to protect your sales and keep your customers

7th April 2016Leigh Ashton
customer turn offs

Have you ever been in the middle of a sales conversation, thinking that things are going really well, only to have a potential customer totally shut down on you? It’s easy to brush it off as the customer’s problem, but it might be that you have unintentionally done something to turn them off. And while everybody’s different, there are certain things that almost always turn customers off pretty much instantly, including:


Not listening

This one seems painfully obvious, but a lot of people have a hard time listening during sales conversations, whether because they’re nervous or because they simply haven’t been trained. It’s so important that you make it very clear to your customers that you’re listening to what they have to say — in fact, I’d say you can’t close a sale without it — so make it a priority.


Asking closed questions and “why” questions

Along with not listening, asking the wrong types of questions can put people off you really quickly. Closed questions (those that have a yes or no answer) are a common culprit here. The way they’re phrased instructs your customer’s mind to find the shortest, easiest answer, which makes for stilted conversation. Similarly, asking “why” questions, as in “Why did you choose that product?” or “Why were you thinking that?” may seem innocuous enough, but the phrasing instantly puts people on the defensive.


We-ing all over the place

By which I mean using sentences like “We’ve got 10 years of experience” or “We’re the number one agency in the region” rather than sentences that start with “you”. This is boring and off-putting … but thankfully extremely easy to fix. Just use sentences that start with “you” instead, as in, “You’ll benefit from XYZ features.”


Breaking or ignoring rapport

As I’ve said before, rapport is the fairy dust of sales. It makes everything so much easier and more enjoyable. While it sometimes happens naturally, you can’t expect that to happen every time, you need to work at it, or risk customers going off you at a moment’s notice.

The flip side of this is to make sure that your efforts at building rapport are natural and true to you. There’s nothing worse than starting to feel a connection with someone, only to realise that they’ve been faking it the whole time. Even if you’re not faking it, make sure to avoid doing things that give the impression you are, like being obvious in matching your body language, talking out of your natural register when matching your tones, or using language that you’re uncomfortable with.

Ultimately, it comes down to making sure that your customers know that you’re there to listen, help, and respect them. All simple enough things to understand … so just make sure you’re acting on them!

Until next time,

Leigh xx

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3 Responses to “Four Things That Instantly Turn Customers Off”

  1. Karl

    Here’s one from a customer. Had a guy round from a bathroom fitting company. He measured up, showed us samples, mocked up various possibilities on his laptop and have every sign of being a competent friendly and professional guy. I was almost ready to sign up when he went out to his car, came back and turned on the high pressure sales pitch with “we have this special offer on now but only if you sign up before midnight” and he actually came out with the “time is money” cliché. I showed him the door

    • Jonathan Mills

      Jonathan Mills

      That’s a wonderful example of how not to do it! Questions, competence, professionalism at first then ruined it – by being in ‘their map’ and not yours. Hopefully they might get to read this!

  2. Doc Holliday

    Had a rep attend my dental practice. He was doing OK-ish, until we discussed a rather ‘rough’ area where I had previously worked. He said ‘sort of area where the kids never have the same surname as the parents’. Bad move, my stepson doesn’t have my surname. He was out of the door in less than 10 seconds.


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