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Top 11 Deal-Breaking Sales Mistakes To Steer Clear From

If you ask any sales representative whether they ever faced any problems while closing the deal, the answer will be a 100% yes.


The thing is, it takes both the experience and talent to be a great salesperson. You need to constantly practice, make mistakes and learn from them. 


There are numerous obstacles every salesperson faces during their career. That’s why we have come up with a list of 11 most common sales mistakes and how to avoid them.


Sales Statistics to Know


Hubspot Sales Enablement report suggests that:


  • 78% of sales reps struggle to reach decision-makers.
  • 92% of the sales reps give up follow-up after four rejections. 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting.
  • 65% of sales leaders claim their sales team spends too little time closing sales and too much time on administrative tasks unrelated to selling.
  • 50% of your prospects aren’t a good fit for the product or service you’re selling.

Most Common Mistakes And How to Avoid Them


Mistakes are inevitable in every aspect of our lives. However, it’s always better to avoid them in the first place, isn’t it?


So let’s take a look at the list of top 10 biggest mistakes of salespeople and the best practices in sales to avoid those mistakes.


Talking more than listening

One of the biggest sales mistakes is when you try to sell a product or service, you instinctively start passionately describing its features and benefits by talking, and talking, and talking. This doesn’t only mean your customer won’t have a chance to explain their needs, but it could also potentially hurt the contact between a sales rep and a buyer. 


How to avoid this mistake:


According to the statistics, top-performing sales reps spend 43% of their time talking and  57% – listening. So instead of only talking about your company and solution, try spending more time listening to the leads’ needs during your call instead of overselling your solution.


Selling to the wrong audience

The concept of selling anything to anyone is nonsense and doesn’t work in the current sales world. Today, the sales standards are different, and selling for the sake of selling isn’t a productive tactic anymore.


Not only will you waste your time and efforts convincing a person who doesn’t need it to buy your solution, but you will also not help your business. Because money and sales success both come from repeat business, selling your product or service to a random company won’t benefit you.


How to avoid this mistake:


Instead, don’t force a sale on somebody who doesn’t need your product or service. Conduct research prior to offering your solution to a particular product. And if you’re already on a sales discovery call and you decide your prospect is a bad fit for your solution– just move on. 


Not using a sales call agenda 

In order to deliver a fire sales pitch, conduct a successful discovery call, or a demo call

you shouldn't rely heavily on freestyle. And unfortunately, most sales representatives tend to avoid preparing or following a sales call structure. So instead of going step by step and covering all the essential topics, the sales become inconsistent, which could break the customer’s trust and not bring any success. 


How to avoid this mistake:


Investing both time and energy into developing and practicing the sales discovery call script is extremely important. Make sure you conduct thorough research to understand how your product or service can solve the customer’s core problems. And with proper preparation, your team will start closing more deals in no time.


Additionally, you can use conversational AI tools to help you always follow your agenda on calls. For instance, Unique sales intelligence helps the caller stay consistent during the conversation by letting them know which topics they’ve covered and even coaching them on what to mention next.


Additionally, It will also notify the caller when important things are mentioned repeatedly, like competitors or pain points. This will all help you better assess the situations and adjust to unpredictable circumstances while staying consistent to your agenda. 


Not addressing the decision-makers

As we mentioned above, over half of the salespeople cannot reach decision-makers. And this is one of the reasons why sales are tough, and the sales cycle is so lengthy. So unless you’re targeting decision-makers, there’s no point convincing someone to buy your product or service.


How to avoid this mistake:


You need to identify decision-makers prior to starting the sales cycle: c-level managers, mobilizers, and business users. This will minimize your time wasted and maximize the results of selling.


Not handling objections well

As we mentioned before, most sales representatives give up after the fourth “no.” And we get it, hearing a refusal can be very discouraging. However, giving up after hearing "no" is one of the most common closing sales mistakes. 


How to avoid this mistake:


80% of sales are made on the fifth call only. So, when you hear a refusal from your prospect, don’t get discouraged and handle an objection by showing your client you’re open to discussion. 


For instance, you can ask questions about why the customer isn’t interested. This can actually help the conversation going. The deeper you dig into the objection, the more alternative solutions you can provide to your lead.


Not focusing on the solution

Most sales representatives assume that bombarding the customers with product information, its features, and main benefits will bring them a sale. But, unfortunately, what they forget is that a prospect wants to find out how your product or service can solve their problems and make their lives easier. Remember, your leads aren't interested in what technology you use or how many different options of the product you have. 


How to avoid this mistake:


To avoid this mistake, sales representatives need to focus on the value their product or service can bring customers. Focus on the client’s post-sale experience rather than on the sale itself.


Asking too few (or too many) questions

The number of questions you ask can either help you close the deal or totally ruin it. While they say the more questions you ask, the better, it’s not always the case. Asking over 15 questions can annoy your prospect while sticking to less than 7 can give the impression of poor preparation.


How to avoid this mistake:


Excellent sales representatives ask 10-15 questions during a sales discovery call. Remember this when planning your discovery call script.


Closing too early

It’s important not to rush when selling a product or service.


The sales cycle can speed up if it’s possible; however, it’s always best to follow every step and work on the buyer’s timeline to close the deal. Forcing a sale closer to the finish line when you only completed the first steps won’t result in a successful sale.


How to avoid this mistake:


The harder you push, the more resistance you get. So instead, try nudging your prospect while still respecting the main steps of the sales cycle.


Using sales-killing words

Words are your main instrument in sales. It can help you win the deal or completely ruin your sales. And these particular words can easily help you kill the sale:


  • Maybe
  • Seriously
  • However
  • Hope
  • Cheap
  • Honestly


How to avoid this mistake:


If you used these words and still closed a deal, then you’re one of the lucky ducks. However, don’t talk yourself out of the deal, instead, be confident and use more specific phrases. 


Taking an aggressive approach

Sales reps have a reputation for being too pushy and aggressive during sales. However, taking an aggressive approach, such as the hard sell, can and will alienate your prospects. 


How to avoid this mistake:


Be a sales rep that you can tolerate yourself. Always prioritize the client’s needs in order to pitch the best solution. Don’t push too hard, give your lead some time to consider, and you’ll see that you will close your deal much sooner.


Not creating a Mutual Action Plan


You can be confident that the deal is moving smoothly and it's about to come to a logic end, but then the day comes, and it's still not closed. So you move the closing date. And then again, and again. All this due to a simple fact: you haven't come up and agreed on a mutual action plan with the buyer.


How to avoid this mistake:


Every sales negotiation needs a thorough prior preparation, with an action plan being a key to a successful and mutually beneficial deal. That's why we recommend always preparing a negotiation agenda and a well-though-out plan that you later present to and agree on with the buyer. This way, you're always on the same page with your prospective clients. 


Your Key to Success


Becoming a sales representative isn’t a hard job itself, the challenging part comes after. Being an excellent salesperson requires a lot of patience – you need to find a good balance between coming up too chill or too pushy. 


While the mistakes are inevitable in your selling journey, knowing them can help you identify the obstacles to closing the sale. And forewarned is forearmed. Be prepared and get ready to close more deals, helping your business to succeed. Good luck!

Written by

Hanna Karbowski