5 of the Most Common Mistakes That Are Sure to Kill Your Sales

September 28, 2022

Salespeople are under immense pressure. There are customers to meet, targets to hit, and if they’re lucky a sales class to attend to stay sharp. With so many things to juggle, mistakes are bound to happen. Here’s a look at five of the most common and how to avoid them.

Not having a sales process

Without a sales process, you’re essentially flying blind. You may run into some success here and there, however, you’ll struggle to hit your quota consistently. According to a study by Seismic, salespeople who follow a clearly defined process are 67% more likely to hit their quota. 

A sales process gives you a roadmap to follow. It helps you understand what needs to happen and when to increase your chances of immediate and future success. Sticking to it helps you be in control of the discussion and not at the mercy of your customers. As Zig Ziglar said, “When you don’t have a plan, you become part of someone else’s.” 

So, what does an effective sales process look like? There are a few different models out there, but they all share some key steps, namely:

  • qualifying the lead 
  • researching the customer 
  • crafting a personalized pitch 
  • asking for the sale 
  • following up post-sale 

Making assumptions about your customer’s needs

Picture this. You meet a customer who’s excited about your product or service. You spend the first few minutes of the meeting building rapport. Like bonding over your shared love for Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus. The mood is refreshingly light, and they’re seemingly impressed with what you have to say. 

So, you dive in and start talking by rattling off a list of features you’re sure will wow them. As you speak, however, you notice a change in the customer’s body language. Gone is the enthusiasm from earlier. In its place is a look of confusion and disinterest. What happened? You made an incorrect assumption about what they wanted. 

You assumed you knew what the customer was looking for in your excitement or haste to snag what looked like a likely win. Luckily, this mistake has a simple remedy: ask your customers what they want. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting learning about their needs, wants, and pain points. This will help tailor your pitch to address their specific concerns. Research by CEB found that salespeople who ask discovery-oriented questions are more likely to win the business. 

Being ill-prepared for objections

Your product or service may be the best one on the market. You may also be talented, charming, and knowledgeable. However, this doesn’t mean that customers will sign on the dotted line without batting an eye. In fact, 64% of salespeople say they encounter objections on nearly every call, says Gong. 

Preparation is key to putting objections to bed quickly and convincingly. A study by SalesHood found that salespeople who are prepared for objections close 37% more deals. So, before you deliver your pitch, sales training classes say to take some time to consider the challenges you’re likely to encounter. This way, you can have a thoughtful response ready for when they pop up. 

Overpromising and underdelivering

Chasing quotas can sometimes tempt salespeople to make false promises. They overhype the product, exaggerate its capabilities, or make empty promises they can’t keep. When the customer realizes you’ve misled them, they feel disappointed and perhaps betrayed. This damages your credibility and makes it difficult to build trust and close deals in the future. 

It’s important to set realistic expectations from the outset. Don’t make it if you’re not sure you can deliver on a promise. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. 

Not having a follow-up plan

Not all customers are ready to buy when you first meet them. Many need to be nudged several times before they’re ready to pull the trigger. In fact, the average buyer interacts with a company 4.3 times before making a purchase. However, 44% of sales reps follow up only once before throwing in the towel, reports HubSpot. 

The solution is to have a follow-up plan in place. This could involve sending additional information, scheduling a second meeting, or following up with a phone call. Whatever form it takes, having a plan keeps your business top of mind and helps you build relationships with potential customers.

Sales training classes say the key to great follow-up is timeliness and personalization. So, be quick to act, but don’t be too pushy. Also, take the time to customize your follow-up message to each customer. 

These are a few of salespeople’s most common mistakes that can kill their deals. By being aware of them, you can put yourself in a better position to succeed.