As you approach each new selling opportunity, you want to be focused and aware — that includes keeping on the lookout for the tell-tale signs which indicate your prospect might have one of the three personality types that make selling a nightmare.

If you’ve been reading my newsletter or listening to my podcasts for any length of time, you know that I’m a big fan of building your business proactively.

That means deciding who you will do business with and who you will NOT do business with.

In this episode, we’ll discuss 3 Personality Types that Make Selling a Nightmare.

As salespeople and business owners, it’s really important to keep a good attitude — starting the day off positively and expecting good things. And that’s a lot easier to do when you have an awesome client base made up of people you actually enjoy interacting with.

In fact, one of the things I love most about having my own business is getting to decide which customers to pursue and which to leave to my competitors — and you can only imagine the type of customers I like to leave to my competitors.

As we approach each new selling opportunity, we want to remain focused and aware — and we want to be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs which indicate your prospect might have one of the three personality types that make selling a nightmare:

1. Indecisives: In the classic success book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill identified a primary characteristic that the most successful people have in common. It’s the ability to make important decisions quickly and change their minds slowly, if at all.

Let’s face it, we all just LOVE dealing with people like this. People who say, “Yes, let’s run with that promotion you’re suggesting. How soon can we get started?”

Compare that with the opposite: The indecisives who say, “I’m not sure. I need to think about it. Give me a call back in a few weeks.”

Everyone in sales deals with indecisives. They come with the territory. Some can actually go on to become good clients if you have the patience to deal with them, but they can also make selling a nightmare.

2. Know-it-alls: These are the people who act as if everything you say is already known to them. “Oh yes, I’m aware of what promotional products can do, just tell me the cost.” Know-it-alls are not always open to ideas, but often feel compelled to share their own thoughts and ideas constantly. They’re big on monologue vs. dialogue.

As a result, they can waste a lot of your time telling you about things. And since they don’t listen particularly well, it’s often difficult getting them to commit.

3. Slow pays, no pays. For some unfathomable reason, some people think it’s perfectly fine to pay late, miss payments, renegotiate terms they already agreed to, ignore payment requests and not give it a second thought. But every time someone does this to you, you have hard costs associated with that. You need to make phone calls, send emails, track payments and follow-up. Some people pull the “check’s in the mail” routine, forcing you to wait for the never-sent check to arrive, at which point you have to contact them again and ask them to “reissue the check” which they may or may not do.

All of this costs you in terms of administrative time that you either have to pay someone else to do, or you have to do yourself, which is probably even more costly in the long run, because it takes you away from the high value, high dollar work that actually generates revenue for you to begin with.

When someone takes a casual approach to getting you paid on time, that’s a screaming indication that you might be dealing with the wrong type of client.

Obviously, there are lots more than 3 personality types that make selling a nightmare. Which ones have I missed?

Give me your feedback below.

One of the biggest benefits of identifying these personality types early is that you then get to choose whether or not you wish to pursue them or continue dealing with them. If you don’t, you can quickly move on to more qualified prospects. And if you do, then at least you can go in with your eyes wide open and know what you’re getting yourself into.

Meantime, if you are truly committed to doing what it takes to growing your client base proactively (and if you do not possess any of the three personality types above!), I encourage you to join us…

If you’re new to the industry visit

If you just need to get clients now, visit

If you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community at

    4 replies to "3 Personality Types that Make Selling a Nightmare"

    • Jeannene

      The, I needed it yesterday, customer. I run into this a lot. They are even willing to pay rush charges, but their expectation of a rush on a custom item is usually unrealistic. Amazon has created a world in which two-day turn around is the norm, we spend a lot of time managing the customers expectations.

      • David Blaise

        Yes, Jeannene, that’s a big one! It’s the old “if I wanted it tomorrow, I would have called you tomorrow” rush job.

        Amazon has definitely increased customer expectations about getting things quickly, but this is an issue that definitely predates Amazon.

        Many clients dread the thought of ordering promotional products — too much work, not sure what to get, too many other things to do, etc. As a result, they tend to put it off until every job becomes a rush job.

        One of the things I did myself and always recommend to my clients is to have a list of a dozen or so fast-turn suppliers taped to the wall next to your desk, so when the inevitable rush order comes, you know where to go. It won’t solve all problems, but it sure beats scrambling around every time it happens. Thanks for your feedback!

    • Thea Schroeder

      The nightmare that comes to mind is “The Committee” we’re doing a big affair and the boss said we need to work together to decide whats best for this event. Now I love to do events there is a lot of fun in creating the right mix of promo products for them, but getting 6-8 people to focus, agree, etc is mind numbing. They always want Quotes, and ideas, and to include bids(so they can cherry pick, or get pricing dropped down). I stopped working with committees for the most part because of the chaos and time.
      Bu the way I don’t mind doing quotes and bids, I mind not knowing what I am bidding against and the effort to get me to “drop my price” because they know I work well with events.

      • David Blaise

        Good one, Thea! Thank you for your input. It reminds me of a quote I heard from a friend of mine decades ago, “Search the parks in all the cities, you’ll find no statues of committees!”

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