Sales Manners — Not Just for Sales People

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on positive personal impact.

Manners – I know I sound old fashioned – are one of the best ways to make a positive personal impact.  My friends at have published a great little e book called Sales Manners.  Here is some of the common sense advice you’ll find in Sales Manners.


  • Give your complete attention to the person with whom you’re talking (in appointments, at an event, in a meeting, anywhere). Avoid being distracted by other happenings in the room, cell phones, and other personal devices.
  • Listen with the intent to understand rather than to respond. No interrupting and include small gaps of silence before responding.


  • Always say “please” when asking for something (or for someone to do something).
  • Always say “thank you” when someone gives you something or does something for you.
  • Avoid using profanity.
  • Send handwritten notes of thanks when appropriate (e.g., for meetings, business, referrals, etc.). Email, IMs, and text messages are the least you can do… literally.

Appointments and Meetings

  • Arrive early (3 – 5 minutes).
  • Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Risk overdressing rather than underdressing (not to be confused with no dressing).
  • Avoid sharing your personal challenges.
  • Keep on schedule for the time allotted.
  • Do not chew gum.
  • Leave people with a smile and a firm handshake.

Trade Shows

  • Be approachable (in posture and presence – avoid hands in pockets, arms crossed, frowns, etc.).
  • Stand and smile when people are close to or in your space.  Do not sit.
  • Avoid small talk with team members that could keep someone from approaching you.
  • Avoid sharing your personal challenges (e.g., fatigue, low show attendance, etc.).
  • Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Do not eat or chew gum while working on the floor.
  • Partner with trade show models to generate awareness, educate consumers, and create emotional connections in order to relay positive brand energy.

At the Office

  • Always arrive at the office a minimum of 5 minutes early when possible.
  • Make the new pot of coffee when you take the last full cup available.
  • Replenish drinks in the refrigerator as needed (if provided in your office).
  • Minimize interrupting or distracting people during the money hours (in live discussions, phone discussions, by instant messenger etc.).
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Have concern for the comfort level of your prospects, customers, and office team (and their ability to tolerate seeing your undergarments and/ or areas of your body normally shown only at birth and in the shower).
  • When working through something challenging (or discipline oriented) with someone, do it privately.
  • Always leave the office ten minutes after normal work hours when possible.

On the Phone

  • Answer the phone quickly and make outbound calls cheerfully.
  • Return phone calls promptly – every minute may count for the prospect or customer (regardless of your schedule).
  • Speak clearly. Avoid rambling and fluff statements with little value.
  • Ask permission to use a speakerphone prior to use.
  • Proactively announce all those attending a conference call.
  • Keep on schedule for the time allotted.
  • Do not chew gum.

Voice Mail (for both internal and external voice mails)

  • Speak clearly and to the point – avoid rambling.
  • Leave your telephone number twice, repeating it slowly the second time.

E Mail (for both internal and external email correspondence)

  • Write clearly and to the point – avoid rambling. Try not to exceed 250 words. Anything longer and it may be better to talk live, if possible.
  • Bullet items when appropriate, and use paragraphs to make reading easier for your recipients.
  • Conclude all email correspondence with your phone number and email address (every time).
  • Reply-to-all in your emails only when everyone needs to see your reply.

Dining and Entertaining

  • Hold the door open for others. Allow others to get on and off elevators first.
  • Leave the best seats at a table for others (generally those seats with a view or facing the action).
  • Treat waiters and restaurant staff with kindness and respect. Rudeness and impatience, regardless of service or quality levels, will only show poorly on you.
  • Wait until everyone is served at the table before starting to eat. If everyone but you has been served and your meal is delayed, then ask others to please begin eating.
  • Chew with your mouth closed.
  • Never talk with your mouth full.
  • Don’t slurp soup or drinks.
  • Never take the last food item.
  • When passing food, pass the plate rather than an item (do not touch with your hands something someone else will eat).
  • If someone asks for salt or pepper, pass both. Do the same for cream and sugar.
  • When passing a glass, do so by holding it toward the bottom. Do not pass a glass by placing your hand around the area from which someone will drink.
  • When using butter, take a portion for your bread plate to draw from during the meal, rather than drawing from the common butter dish several times.
  • Pour beverages for others before filling your own glass. Avoid picking up others’ glasses if possible.
  • Avoid dominating a conversation, but be sure to share appropriate information as well – minimize one-sided discussions.
  • Engage everyone in the conversation, if possible.
  • Say “please excuse me” when leaving the table or room.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol.
  • Wash your hands after using the rest room (and dry them well for the inevitable handshake).


  • When someone tells you they’re not responsible for driving sales, have patience with them and be compassionate. Not everyone is as fortunate as you.

This is only some of the common sense advice you’ll find in Sales Manners.  You can download the entire booklet by going to

Manners aren’t just for sales people.  They’re for anyone who wants to make a positive personal impact.  If you use this common sense advice, your life will be better and your career will flourish.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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