Missed sales targets, lack of motivation and lost sales opportunities amongst sales professionals are more likely down to the phenomenon of Seller’s Block than a lack of ability or commitment, new research by sales training agency, Sales Commando has shown.


Seller’s block is the condition of being unable to think of how to proceed with selling. It’s akin to writer’s block and can afflict anyone in the sales profession, even those who’ve undergone extensive sales training or who have had a previously commendable sales record.

Doug Tucker, Sales Commando managing director, explains, “Until now there’s never been a proper explanation of why many sales professionals’ performances hit a brick wall.”

“The traditional response has always been for the sales team leader to blame the sales pro and the sales pro to blame him or herself. This leads to a whole host of energy sapping, knee-jerk reactions that affect all parties both negatively and at cost.”

“Label the same situation ‘seller’s block’ and you not only have a rational explanation but a route to resolving the matter that precludes firings, job-hopping and related anxieties.”

The most common causes of seller’s block are basically a combination of timing, fear and perfectionism – all of which can inhibit the ability to work and function at one’s best.

Timing is pressure based. If the sales pro is faced with strict deadlines and a seemingly insurmountable workload or sales target the mind can quite naturally go blank. The trick here is to take a step back and compartmentalise each area of stress, breaking the cause of pressure down into easily achievable chunks.

Fear may manifest itself within a sales pro as a negative reaction to the product or service. This can be resolved by undertaking more research and digging deeper into the product or service before actually trying to assemble a target list of prospects or, if that’s done, writing up a pitch.

Perfectionism can translate into the feeling of unworthiness that no matter how much effort is put into a pitch, it will all be in vain. This can quite often be triggered by a previous poor sales experience and, as identified in Freud’s Repetition Compulsion theory, poor experience can be difficult to move forward from.

Doug Tucker continued, “Not believing in your product or service, being a slave to rules, time and ‘pressure, being too hard on yourself or believing that you can’t achieve what your inner self is driving you to do are all symptoms of seller’s block. And like any disease, once diagnosed a cure can quite often be easily found.”

“One example. A cure may be as simple as taking a break from the aggravating situation. Rather than going round in circles, walk away and do something else. It’s surprising how even the shortest time away can breathe fresh air into a problem upon return.”

Seller’s block has yet to be officially recognised and yet its effects are felt almost universally within the sales profession. As Doug Tucker concludes, in a world that is getting ever more competitive, the time is right to out the condition and treat it with the sympathy that it deserves;

“Okay, not every example of bad sales performance is attributable to seller’s block. Yes, there may genuinely be poor sales people out there, or sales people who simply don’t fit a company ethos or product/service type.”

“However, I’ve discovered that in more cases than not seller’s block has been at the heart of problematic sales performance. By recognising this, labelling it as so and applying a series of measures to combat it the results can be surprisingly positive and that can only be good for the sales profession as a whole.”