Using common sense in sales

There are two words that you won’t find in any sales training programme, and they are: “Common Sense”.

Often when I am presenting my sales training programmes I have salespeople drilling things down to the very last degree or believing that what I am presenting won’t work in their industry or with their customers or in their selling situation.

They are focusing on specific incidents that may only occur once in every 50 to a 100 meetings with customers. If that is the case then it is not a problem, there are times in sales when you just have to accept that some things are out of your control.

When things don’t go exactly according to the script it is time for you to use “Common Sense”.

“Common Sense” tells you what say, as well as when and how to say it. “Common Sense” is similar in a way to emotional intelligence or in our industry it is also similar to sales etiquette.


  • Do you sit at the head of the table or rather on the side when meeting with customers?
  • Do you call the customer Mr. or Mrs. or rather by their first name?
  • Do you sit down and read a magazine while waiting in reception or do you speak to the receptionist?
  • Do you talk about the family picture on their desk or do you rather focus on business?
  • Do you apologize if you are a few minutes late or do you rather carry on as if it’s not an issue?
  • Do you point out that they are purchasing the incorrect colour, size, quantity, etc. or do you rather keep quite?
  • Do you thank them for their time at the end of the meeting or do you rather focus on what you see as being the next steps?

There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. Circumstances often vary and therefore it requires “Common sense” on the part of the salesperson to decide on what is appropriate at the time.

It goes without saying that you need to be “Awake” and you need to be “Present” in order to pick up on these points that require you to use “Common sense” in the selling situation.

If you are not fully “In the moment” you will not be aware of the challenge and will probably make the wrong decision. That’s why so many salespeople drift in and out of meetings without much success.

The definition of common sense is: “Good sense and sound judgement in practical matters”.

Not everyone has “Common sense”. It is not something that you are born with but rather something which you develop.

The good news is that if you are in sales you do have “Common sense”. After all, out of all of the professions on offer you chose to be a salesperson!

Now work on putting that “Common sense” to good use the next time you are not sure what to do in the selling situation.