The Top 20 Mistakes that Salespeople Make

Feb 16, 2024Business, Sales, Your Team0 comments

The top line of any income statement is sales and without sales, your business will die. It therefore makes sense that you have a professional, high-performing sales team. After coaching and training hundreds of salespeople over the years, these are the top 20 mistakes we see them making:

  1. Not Listening – We have two ears and one mouth – we should use them in that proportion! Being a good listener is key to success in sales. Selling is not telling.
  2. Too Pushy – Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. Focus on solving your prospect’s problems and there will be no need to be pushy.
  3. Not Qualifying Leads – Even the best salesperson in the world won’t close a sale with a poor quality or unqualified lead. Get your targeting and qualifying process as accurate as possible.
  4. Not Building Rapport – People buy from people they like and trust. Get to know them before trying to sell to them.
  5. Lack of Product Knowledge – Know your product well and position yourself as the expert – how can they then not buy from you?
  6. The Use of Jargon – Steve Jobs famously said “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication”.  Don’t try and impress with big words and acronyms – keep it super simple.
  7. Lack of Preparation – Do your homework in advance. Treat each sales meeting as if it were a million rand deal. Check out their website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Reviews etc in advance before the meeting. The more you know about their business, the better.
  8. Over Promise, Under Deliver – Do it the other way around. Your prospects are watching, and judging so don’t break their trust or you will lose the business. You can certainly impress them by underpromising and then over-delivering.
  9. Lack of Clear Goals – Be intentional about everything you do in sales. If it doesn’t support your goals, drop it.
  10. Badly Handling Objections – Don’t go into defence mode, rather ask more questions and try to overcome the objection. Be prepared with a response to the common objections, they going to happen at some point and you don’t want to fumble your way through them.
  11. Poor Communication – Most complaints and relationship breakdowns come from a lack of or poor communication. Proactively communicating in advance, will change everything.
  12. Missing Buying Signals – Read the signs. Don’t oversell, close the deal before talking yourself out of a sale.
  13. Being Too Transactional – People buy from people. Don’t forget the human side. 80% of purchase decisions are based on emotions, and 20% on logic.
  14. Not Setting Boundaries – You can’t be all things to all people. Know when to say no and establish clear boundaries.
  15. Not Using Technology – Technology is your friend. Use it smartly to save time and improve efficiency.
  16. Poor Follow-up – People are busy. Don’t think that if they haven’t come back to you, they are not interested – follow up and follow up again.
  17. Poor Time Management – Successful salespeople make the most of their day. Plan to ensure maximum efficiency. Time is the one thing you can never get back.
  18. Not Asking for Referrals – Referrals are your best form of lead. You only need 2 things to get referrals – you must be good at what you do and you must ask. You must ask for the referral once you have earned the right to ask.
  19. Forgetting Existing Customers – Existing customers are your biggest asset, Don’t neglect them at the expense of chasing new business. Get the balance right.
  20. Lack of Competitor Knowledge – Don’t obsess about them but know what you are up against. Forewarned is forearmed.

We have coached many salespeople and sales teams over the years. Reach out if you think your team could benefit from some training or coaching. Click here to request a callback.


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