5 Sales Mistakes That Have Been Costing You – And How To Avoid Them

Sales is a critical part of any business, but it’s also one of the most challenging areas to get right. From improper training to overpromising and under-delivering, there are many ways that sales reps can go wrong and cost a company dearly. But the good news is that most of these mistakes are avoidable if you know what to look for. 


Once big companies like BlackBerry, Sears, and BlockBuster faced heavy losses and one of the contributing factors to their fall was their sales teams, not able to adapt to the technology shift and customer preferences. 


BlackBerry, once a dominant player in the smartphone market, BlackBerry faced a decline in sales and market share in the late 2000s. One of the contributing factors was the inability of its sales team to adapt to changing consumer preferences and the rise of competitors like Apple and Android. BlackBerry’s sales team struggled to effectively communicate the value of their products and failed to address the growing demand for touchscreen devices and robust app ecosystems.


Sears, the iconic American retailer, Sears, experienced significant financial struggles and ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2018. One of the factors attributed to its decline was a decline in sales performance. In-store and online, Sears’ sales team failed to provide a compelling customer experience in the era of e-commerce. 


You see, how important it is for sales teams to continuously learn and adapt to new trends. 

Sales Mistakes That Impact Your Company’s Profit And Reputation 

Let’s unveil pretty common but damaging sales mistakes that should be avoided at any cost. 


  1. Fear to ask for the sale

No one wants to hear “NO” and salespeople are no different than those. We might think that whoever is in a sales career, they’re now used to getting a “NO” but that’s not true. And sometimes, a sales rep thinks he/she hasn’t done enough hard work to earn the prospect so they don’t ask for it. 


Did you know? 48% of sales calls end without an attempt to make a sale which leads to a 27% closing rate at the national level.


Which results in missed revenue opportunities for the company. But when there’s a problem, there has to be a solution. 


If your sales department is the backbone of your company then the company’s decision-makers should take notice and try to build a proper system for them including CRM management.


Here’s how to do it

They should test every salesperson at different stages of the sales process, the one who understands a certain stage the most should be assigned. If someone is good at communication and can close more deals for the company they should be in the front and those who’re good with administrative tasks should do what they’re good at. 


This way everyone will be able to perform at their very best and benefit the company as much as they can.

  1. Wasting time on unqualified leads

Imagine… you’re spending a lot of time on your partner to patch up with you, to spend more time with you, to understand your problems and circumstances. You’re going beyond to keep them happy but there are usual debates on the same topics.


And you’re burned out and things are nowhere coming close to getting normal. In this case, the last option for you is getting a divorce from your partner to get peace in your life. Sure enough, that’s not easy if you love them but to be honest you should have done it long ago. 


Emotions aside, the same is the scenario where you’re spending tremendous time on leads, explaining how your product/service is going to benefit them but every time they have a new objection or they aren’t serious about the purchase.


In the end, there’s only a waste of time & energy, lost potential clients could have closed in that frame of time, and a pretty exaggeratedly long sales cycle. 



To avoid these headaches, you should have an ICP( ideal customer profile) that helps detect which lead is qualified and worth putting effort into and which is not. I swear, this simple step saves a lot of time and possibly gets more deals closed than before. 


Here’s how to do it

  • ICP (ideal customer profile) means you create a profile of your customer who you want to sell your offer.

  • This will be based on factual data and help you sort out who you should sell.

  • One benefit is that it will save time and you’ll be able to adapt a personalized selling approach.

  • A big benefit is that the whole sales team will know who’s the qualified lead for your company.

  1. Overpromising and falling short

It’s such a common crime among salespeople! Seriously, people lose their confidence and trust in your company and service so much that they don’t buy anything from it again. Plus, when they talk about their bad experience with their friends and colleagues, your company’s reputation gets questionable. 


And the worst news is, referrals bring you a 25% higher ROI. So, the company is constantly losing loyal customers.


There are several reasons why salespeople overpromise and underdeliver intentionally or unintentionally:

  • Pressurized to meet your targets so that you can have more money in your account 

  • Don’t even have a complete overview of the product you’re trying to sell

  • Lack of basic sales-communication skills 

The reasons are legit and often there are a few salespeople who aren’t very much sincere with the company. They knowingly claim false promises and don’t care about the customer experience, just for their performance score going up which eventually comes down.



The company should focus on repeat business by ensuring a premium quality customer experience which ultimately will increase the repeat business and referrals which is the primary goal.


Here’s how to do it

Talk to your sales team and understand their issues as well which are causing the low-profit margins. And if their sales target is too much to do, lessen their burden to see their spark. Because mental pressure can impact one’s performance. The more they will perform well, the better the customer experience will be and the higher the company sales will be.

  1. To Think “More is More”

Remember? We were sitting in a group and talking about education and there was one person who was speaking loudly and didn’t want to listen to anyone, trying to make an impression that he knew all and everything. 


That kind of person doesn’t listen, just talk and talk. However, this habit is a deal-breaker in sales. Because today’s customers want to be heard. Sometimes, less is more. It’s found that experienced salespeople listen to the customers 54% of the time and speak 46% of the time on the call. 



It’ll enable the prospect to tell you their problems even without you having to ask. Then there’s a golden opportunity for you to give a personalized solution through your product/service. This way customers wouldn’t feel like they’re been sold on, however, they’ll feel like you’re helping them.


And the customer experience will be on a premium level as well, all by just listening to them.


Here’s how to do it
Proper sales training and monitoring of every person’s behavior during the process is too essential here. However, the following are a few practical tips for sales reps to improve their communication with prospects:

  • Getting feedback on your performance 

  • Preparing before the call helps you stay calm and listen more

  • Have extra pause in your talk

  • Having a deep understanding of the customer’s problem

  1. Putting values second to prices

If the price point is the only advocate of “why the customers should buy your product” it is not reliable in the long term. Because one-third of the customers are willing to pay more for a premium quality product.


But there’s even more to it. Benefits have always been more compelling than features. Because benefits involve the emotions of the people and often there’re stories related to those benefits which hit the customer’s limbic system. 



The salespeople are supposed to emphasize more on the values why they should consider your product or service and how your values are aligned with theirs. That slap-pitching with a big fake smile on the face can’t do the job in today’s era.


Nike isn’t the cheapest footwear brand but its values and relationships with its customers are something that has kept them on the mind of the people turned customers. 


Here’s how to do it

This boils down to everything we’ve discussed until here.

  • Listen to them and their problems

  • Understand how your company’s products or services can solve their problems

  • Talk more about benefits than features

Customer-centricity is the key to sales success!

If you or your sales team are afraid of losing deals and prospects, you need to break the inside fear and just ask for the sale at the right time, it doesn’t matter if you’re prepared or not. 


People hate being sold on but love being helped. To make them your loyal customers simply help them. Don’t pressurize them to buy your product/services. An outclass customer experience will do the rest of the work for you.

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