Not every sales person is perfect, in fact many are far from that! Here are my top 5 manners fails I have either seen others do, or have done myself in the early days, during the sales process:

Turning Up Late

It seems such a simple thing to be able to turn up on time to an appointment. Yet so often I hear from customers that I go see myself that sales people from other companies either turned up late, or not at all.

When people make an appointment at a particular time, it is because they want you in their home at that specific time and no other. So why turn up late? If your clients are expecting you, then turn up on time. If traffic is heavy or you have been held up in the office longer than you thought you would, ring ahead just to keep the client informed of the delay. Don’t leave them guessing.

Of all the complaints I come across, poor time keeping seems to be right up there at the top of the list. And I can understand the homeowner’s frustration too. Whenever I arrange for people to come to my house, I expect them to be on time as I have other things to do during the day and cannot afford to be waiting around for them to be arsed to turn up.

Communication is key here. If I am ever late, even if it’s just a few minutes, I always ring ahead myself, or get someone from the office to do so. Clients are always surprised by the unexpected and are usually pleased that they were informed.

Shoes Off, Or Shoes Covered

Manners cost nothing. Neither does thinking about the homeowners floors when you walk through their door!

It’s a bit more commonplace now when most workmen visit a home, but not protecting the carpets or the floors in a home is a big no no for me. Imagine if a customer has had a nice cream or light coloured carpet fitted a couple of weeks ago, then you go trundling in from the outside where it’s probably been raining all day. The customer isn’t going to be best pleased.

Although I have not heard of a complaint from a customer, putting shoe protectors over your feet or taking your shoes off before entering the house is a small yet profound little nugget of manners which often takes the homeowner by surprise. Most expect you to not even think about doing something like that, so when you do, there’s immediate brownie points before you’ve even stepped over the threshold!

Chewing Gum

I have been guilty of this before a few times. But chewing gum never gives the most professional image of yourself.

I know it is tempting to start chewing gum after you’ve had lunch. No one wants to go into a customer’s house stinking of garlic or onions. But chewing all the way through a demo just makes you look…dare I say it, common. People expect a degree of professionalism whether you’re suited and booted or a joiner in jeans and a t-shirt full of silicone. Chewing gum won’t help that.

I am guilty of doing this myself. I have had lunch, got a 2pm lead to go on, but I don’t want my fish and chip breath wafting into customers’ faces. So I reach for the gum. But before I can remember to take it out, I’m already knocking at the door and being welcomed in.

Again, it may only seem very small, but you’d be surprised how all these little things add up.

Prices On Paper

When I say prices on paper, I am talking about the very unprofessional technique of scribbling prices down on the back of a card or a bit of scrap paper.

This is a dreadful mistake for two reasons. The first is that in an age of smartphones, tablets and apps, scribbling something down on a scrap of paper which is meant to represent the price to be paid for a supposedly professional service and quality product simply doesn’t work anymore. How is a customer supposed to take that seriously? Which leads me on to my second point…

Say a client does take you up on that price you scribbled down on that card or piece of paper. Where’s the bit which says what they’re getting? How are they meant to know exactly what frames, glass, hardware, opening styles, door designs etc they are buying. That then also leaves you with so many contractual holes, the finest Swiss cheese manufacturers would be envious!

Get your prices on a contract, in writing, with a full spec break down and drawings every time. Yes it might be a pain to have to process that paper work of hefty email each time. But it protects the customer, as well as your back and the back of your business too.


Now this one some might have a gripe with, but for me, smelling of smoke is one of the worst faux pas.

I hate it when someone comes to see me either in the office or at home in a professional capacity that smells of smoke. As a non-smoker, the smell immediately catches me off-guard and it’s something that I really don’t like. Perhaps it’s just me and others are more tolerant of it, but I really don’t like it.

I couldn’t go into someone’s house after just after lighting up. The smell on my clothes, the smell on my breath, neither is really going to help my professional image or my chances of getting a sale. Even smokers have told me in the past that even they don’t like the smell of smoke on clothes of other people.

These are my own personal top 5 and not an official top 5 of any sort, but just my own thoughts on the bad manners of other sales people and to make sure to avoid them. All comments on the above, as well as your own suggestions are welcome in the comments section below.