5 Sales Mistakes To Avoid (Plus Tips for Sales Success)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Professionals who assist their companies with creating and maintaining sales relationships often make sales mistakes at certain points throughout their careers. Successful sales professionals often learn from these mistakes or seek advice that allows them to avoid making them altogether. If you work in the sales industry, it may be helpful to learn about some sales mistakes to avoid. In this article, we explore common sales mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid or navigate these situations when they arise.

Related: 27 Sales Strategy Examples

What is a sales mistake?

A sales mistake is a situation that inhibits your ability to close a sale efficiently. Many salespeople make sales mistakes, but successful professionals can often mitigate these situations with targeted strategies. When working in a customer-focused industry, it's important to develop effective strategies for navigating and fostering sales relationships.

5 sales mistakes to avoid

Below is a list of five common sales mistakes and solutions you can implement to avoid them:

1. Focusing too heavily on a customer's pain points

A common tactic when facilitating a sales call is to employ empathy to connect with a sales lead and showcase your product's unique components. This can help a consumer identify personally with your product and increases your chances of completing a sale. A potential sales risk occurs when a salesperson focuses too heavily on a customer's pain points while not placing the same or more emphasis on the solutions their product offers. This emphasis on issues rather than solutions may not convince a prospect to buy from your business.

When constructing your sales pitch, consider taking a diverse approach that allows a listener to connect with you throughout your pitch. You can also emphasize relatability and humor while focusing on your product's solutions. Components you can add to a pitch may include:

  • Positive and relatable introduction

  • Defining statement or claim

  • Engaging pre-framing questions

  • Related customer pain points

  • Solutions and unique selling points

  • Conclusion and final call to action

Related: How To Draft a Compelling Sales Script (With Examples and Tips)

2. Embellishment or dishonesty

While sales strategies often focus on a product's key components and features, it's also important to remain honest with your client base. If clients can rely on products to operate as promised, it may positively impact their perception of a brand.

To accomplish this trust and bond with consumers, salespeople can strongly emphasize training and their business' efficient workflow. With any new products or product updates, it's important to implement a training period among the sales team to define updated selling points and strategize ways to advertise them. Conducting this not only ensures honesty but can help businesses target their marketing campaigns toward a specific sales demographic.

3. Talking and not listening

This mistake can occur when a salesperson is solely sales-oriented without attempting to foster connections. Consequently, customers may feel a lack of connection, especially if a sales representative doesn't assure time for the customer to speak or engage with them. When planning a sales process with a potential client, consider aiming to create a low-stress, empathetic buying environment that helps secure their trust. Securing a consumer's trust and attention can also be helpful in converting leads into completed sales. It may also be beneficial to develop active listening skills, which often include eye contact and asking relevant questions.

Salespeople can ensure success by presenting naturally flowing, conversational pitches. This allows established time for a customer to speak, relate and develop a relationship with a representative, without sacrificing time to define the main points of their product or service. This can also help you form a long-term bond with a sales lead and may affect their brand perception and tendency to buy in the future. Creating a variety of conversation-styled pitches can help you become more engaging and increase your reach among your target demographic.

Related: The Importance of Good Listening and How To Listen Effectively

4. Focusing on price points instead of value

A common sales mistake that salespeople may make is when they focus their entire sales pitch on price points, instead of the value that their company can offer. Focusing strictly on the price points of an offer can also make a sales prospect feel as though a representative doesn't want to foster a long-term relationship. It can also cause a buyer to feel as if the sole focus of that salesperson is to close a deal, rather than address their problems and provide a solution.

To avoid making this common mistake, you can emphasize the value that your business can provide to consumers—either by showcasing your product and its features or by solely presenting your pitch. Consider emphasizing the empathetic portions of your pitch, as well as mentioning to your lead the value they may gain strictly from forming a relationship with you. This may make a buyer feel that you value professional relationships regardless of whether you close a sale. You can work in conjunction with your executive and operations departments to discover innovative ways of accomplishing this.

Related: 10 Tips To Create Value in Business

5. Speaking in language that's difficult to understand

Salespeople may make this common sales mistake if they work in complex industries or sell intricate items. Clients often aim to buy a solution with which they feel comfortable and understand. When salespeople speak in complex or industry-specific language that may be too confusing for a consumer to understand, it can risk your sale's closure.

Salespeople can avoid this mistake by creating a variety of pitches that target a range of consumers of different educational backgrounds, cultures and experience. You can also employ diverse visual aides to help explain products, such as graphs, pictures or customer testimonies associated with a product. You can also use language that's commonly understood among a majority of clients present for a pitch and avoid wordiness or depending on industry-specific language.

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