7 Common Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid them

Most people would agree that making a mistake is okay, as long as we learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again – and Sales is no exception.

Too often we see salespeople who are confused as to why they are not converting leads. More often than not, we find that it’s because the sales team are making the same sales mistakes over and over. This is usually because they aren’t aware they are making a mistake.

Here is a list of 7 common sales mistakes we typically see, and how they can be avoided.

Making a mistake is okay, as long as we learn from it.

1. Poor Listening Skills

It’s common in sales for salespeople to over-explain their product or service. When you are talking, you’re not listening to the needs and pain points of your customer. It’s important to find the right balance between talking and listening, but generally you should be listening more than you are talking.

Studies have shown that it is best for salespeople to allow their customers or prospects to speak for 57% of the time. In order to achieve this, or somewhere there abouts, you should be asking quality questions. Then you can let your prospect take it from there.

For more on Listening Skills – Hearing ‘aint listening! – The Sales Expert | Podcast on Spotify

2. Not being Solution-Focused

Being solution-focused is about understanding your customer’s needs and problems and demonstrating how your offering can address those issues effectively.

Nowadays, most customers do their own research before talking to a sales rep, so usually they already know of the features that your product has to offer. Before pitching, establish the pain points of your customer, and display your product as the solution.

3. Discussing Features and Benefits, but not Value

Many salespeople make the mistake of only pointing out a product’s features and benefits, rather than value.

Remember that value doesn’t always mean price. Think about the value your product will have to your prospect. For example:

  • Will it give them peace of mind?
  • Will it help them save time?
  • Will it improve their health or wellbeing?
  • Will it provide them with safety or security?

4. Poor Closing Skills

We often see Salespeople spending too much time focusing on how they are going to present their pitch, rather than focusing on the actual sale. The most important part of the sales process is to convert leads – turn a prospect into a customer – that’s what you should be focused on.

That’s not to say that your sales presentation doesn’t play a part in the sales process, but the key is: solving the customer’s problem.

You have to ask a prospect to buy. It’s important not to let distractions steer you away from your main goal of closing the deal.  

The importance of objection handling skills in sales.

5. Unable to Handle Objections

As a salesperson, what should you do when you hear the words ‘No’, or ‘Not right now’?

  • Don’t get disheartened
  • See it as an opportunity, not a rejection
  • Show that you are open to hearing their questions or concerns
  •  Be honest when answering their questions

Objections in sales are inevitable. Your customer has to be certain before they purchase, and as the salesperson, it’s your job to ease their concerns.

Be aware of the most common objections that you hear and address them in your pitch before the prosect brings them up. Doing so can prevent objections from derailing the conversation.

Remember that objections are a natural part of the sales process, and skilled objection handling can turn a “no” or “not right now” into a “yes.” Building trust and providing solutions are key to overcoming objections and closing deals.

6. Over Promising

Overpromising and underdelivering in sales can have significant negative consequences for both the salesperson and the business. It can result in:

  • Loss of Trust: Overpromising can erode trust with the customer. If you make grandiose claims that you can’t deliver on, customers will quickly lose confidence in your product or service and may even feel deceived.
  • Damaged Reputation: Word of mouth is a powerful force in business. If customers feel they’ve been misled by overpromising, they may share their negative experiences with others, damaging your company’s reputation.
  • Unhappy Customers: When you fail to meet the expectations you’ve set, customers will likely be disappointed.

7. Can’t get past the “Gate Keeper”

You have to be able to meet with the decision maker early in the sales process to make a successful sale – but this doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other parties involved.

During the sales process you will come across many people, who most of the time, will take you to the decision maker. It is a waste of time not to identify the right people to talk to.

Some tips to getting past the gatekeeper include:

  • Treat gatekeepers with respect. They often have an important role within the business and can be influential. A positive first impression can go a long way.
  • Build rapport with the gatekeeper. This may involve multiple interactions where you provide value or insight that benefits their role or the business.

It can be hard to avoid the occasional mistake, but keeping these tips and strategies in mind can help salespeople to minimise their chances of making a mistake that could cause damage to their reputation or that of the business.

You have to be able to get past the gatekeeper early in the sales process to make a successful sale.

Ensure your Sales Team aren’t making these Common Mistakes

The KONA Group: If you want to improve your sales team and give them the tools they need for success, learn more about working with us here.

Our Sales Training Programs: Join the salespeople and leaders who dramatically shifted their results with KONA Sales Training, and continue to smash sales records and generate raving fans. They call it an ‘unfair advantage’. To us, it’s simply learning to love sales and your customers again. Learn more here.