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Sales Do’s and Don’ts: 5 Lessons I Learned in Egypt

by Bill Cates
Sales do's and don'ts that I observed in Egypt

I just returned from a spectacular vacation in Egypt. Great history, camel riding, hot air ballooning, cruising down the Nile, and great people! As we passed through a number of areas with local street vendors and shop keepers, it got me thinking about sales do’s and don’ts.

Most of the folks that I encountered managed to be both very persistent AND very polite at the same time. Below are some of the key points that I took away from their good (and bad) methods.


Sales Do’s and Don’ts: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

  1. DO provide a sample(s). When you go to a shopping mall food court, there is usually one of more folks providing samples on a toothpick. You taste one, like it, and say, “That works.” So how can YOU make this age-old strategy work for you? Find a way for your new prospects to “sample your value.” Teach them something new and very helpful. Provide them with a report or sample questions to help them think in ways they haven’t thought before. Providing a sample is a cousin to leading with value. 
  1. DO help your prospects see the value that you already know is there. Remember, it is not your prospect’s job to figure out your value. It’s your job to learn about them and then explain and model your value. And you truly have to believe that what you offer is valuable to your prospects and clients. If you don’t believe that – either work on that or find a new line of work.
  1. DON’T make this about you or your need for more business, etc. Try to always talk in terms of what’s best for your clients. For instance, I was coaching a guy today and he used to tell his clients that his “goal was to serve his clients for a long time.” Unless he adds the words “which means to you” or “what that means to you is” then this is just about him.
  2. DO be appropriately persistent. Persistence is my middle name. Any prospect who I believe I can provide value to, I stay with the process. Some of my larger deals took 3, 5, and even 8 years to consummate. The key is being persistent or continually proactive in an appropriate manner. The best way to approach this is by looking for ways to provide value first (see item 1 above). Most times I reach back out to a prospect, I include a new report, link to an assessment, or something else they might find helpful.
  1. DON’T trick your prospect. Some of the “sales” folks we encountered in Egypt tried to trick us. They’d say, “Here… take this. My gift to you.” We’d say “thank you” and keep walking. Then they would say, “How about a gift for me.” (Meaning money.) With one guy, I just gave the item back to him. I said, “You’re not giving me a gift. You’re trying to trick me.” A couple of the guys in our group just kept the “gift.”


Please avoid any strategies or methods that are designed to trick or manipulate someone. This will almost always cause you to lose your opportunity.


What sales do’s and don’ts have you learned over the years? Tell me! I’d love to hear from you. Send an email directly to me at

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