"Everyone lives by selling something."- Robert Louis Stevenson.

A  sales team is a bridge between a company and its customer.

The main goal of sales is to fill the gap between the customer's needs and the company’s desired solution. The purpose is to understand the buyer and tailor a solution for him from the products and services on offer.

Essentially, the sales team shapes the relationship between a consumer and an organization. Whenever a customer wishes to fulfill the needs, salespersons are the first to scout them to a solution. They understand the target clients and offer customized solutions for customer needs.

Why Sales is Crucial for a Business?

We can say that the sales team plays a pivotal role in the organization's success. Here's why:

  • Increases client base: Raising awareness about the company’s product is half the work done. The next challenge is to close the deal by helping the prospects solve a particular problem with a product or service.
  • It aids business growth: The key to business growth is trust between the customers and the company. That's exactly what salespeople do. An effective sales discovery call structure can help the sales team develop confidence right from the start.
  • It increases customer retention: Excellent salespeople build a long-term relationship with customers. It leads to word of mouth, referrals, and recurring purchases. Further, follow-up calls and feedback increase customer retention.
Most Common Sales Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Effective Sales Increase Customer Retention.

Even if a company doesn't have a dedicated sales team,  it will still be making sales directly or indirectly. Chances are, somebody would be in charge of helping the customer solve a problem with its product.

Sales have evolved to understand the customer’s experience with the product you have to offer. It is about fulfilling expectations.

In fact, you don't have to be in a sales team to understand 'what is sales?'

Today, everyone is selling something. Be it a product or a service.

  • If you're an employee, you're selling your skills or expertise to a company.
  • If you're a freelancer, you're selling professional services to clients.

In that fiction novel you bought, the author is selling his imagination in the form of words. He charges you for taking you on his imaginary journey.

For the companies and organizations, sales take a more prominent role as they determine the bottom line in terms of revenue. The more sales you make, the more money you bring in.

An added advantage is that you need to increase this customer base and build up an army of loyal customers who can become your brand ambassadors.

Thus, the power of sales shouldn't be underestimated or under-used.

Just like in other areas of life, sales demand practice. Perfect practice can make you ace the game of selling.

There are many common sales mistakes that reps generally make at the beginning of their career. These mistakes, if not corrected, can result in a bad customer experience and lost deals.

Here is a list of some common sales mistakes (and how to avoid them) that salespeople make:

20 Most Common Sales Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

1. Not Following a Sales Discovery Call Structure

Not having a strategy and calling every prospect is time-wasting and inefficient functioning. A sales discovery call structure is your roadmap to winning a customer. A well-defined sales structure helps you optimize the whole sales call strategy.

A perfect sales strategy targets the question- How can I solve the core problems of my customers.

To improve the sales hit rate, you should be using an effective sales discovery call structure.  

2. Selling to Those Who Don't Need It: The Number One Mistake Sales Rep Make

Your product is useless for the one who doesn't need it. Period.

Selling to those who don’t require your product may seem a savvy move, but it tends to backfire. Buyer’s remorse sets in, and there is regret and a sense of being taken for a ride, which is not suitable for brand value.

How can you avoid this sales mistake?

Perform better customer profiling and zeroing in on the prospective client’s needs, and tailoring an experience worth buying into.

3. Talking, Talking, and Talking

A typical sales mistake that people make is talking more than the prospect during a call. In fact, top sales performers speak only 43% of the time. Rest 57%; listen patiently.

The superpower of the top sales executive is listening. Excellent performers talk less and listen more. They let the prospect mention their problems and desires.

4. Pouring Information All at Once: A Very Common Sales Mistake

It is a common impulse to bombard prospective sales with all the information you have all at once. But 9 out of 10 times, you may land up losing a customer due to your aggressive sales pitch.

When you talk too much on a call, people tend to lose interest. The prudent move is to lure the customer into revealing his pain points in your particular marketing/servicing space and offering viable alternatives.

How to avoid this sales mistake?

Structure your sales call effectively before getting on a call. And keep your focus on the essential information and move towards closing the deal.

5. Talking About Features not Benefits

Your prospect might not be interested in knowing about the programming language your product uses. Describing the features without mentioning the benefits is a time-waster.

How to avoid it?

This is a prevalent sales mistake, and to avoid it, you need to bring value. Focus on the problem of the prospect and offer them a solution through your product.

6. Discuss Pricing at the Beginning

Imagine picking up a sales call, and the sales rep starts saying:

'Our premium membership is $100 PM'.

Wait, what?

The number one skill in sales is patience. You need not rush to close a deal. Many sales reps commit this mistake in closing the deal. Don't rush to give information about the price too soon.

How to avoid this sales mistake?

Let the call build-up to the point that either prospect asks for pricing or you provide it naturally.

7. Killing Sales With Words

Do you remember the last time you used the word 'roadmap' or 'billion' during a sales call?

Consider yourself lucky if you've said these words and still managed to close a deal because those are sales-killing words.

You should avoid the following sales killing words at all cost:

  • Contract
  • Free Trial
  • Payment
  • However
  • Competitor

8. Not Personalizing The Solution

Selling HR management software to a developer won't close a deal. This is a common sales mistake, and to avoid this, you need to personalize.

Research about the prospect before arranging a sales call. Then pitch your product or service, which is relevant to the prospect’s work or profession.

Related: Check out our Guide on Using Video in Sales.

9. Not Handling Objections Well


The two-letter word that most sales reps hate. Disagreement is the last thing you want during a sales call. But the reality is different.

In the real world, prospects may disagree with you and burn down all your expectations of closing the deal.

How to avoid this sales mistake?

Don't get disheartened.

Show that you are open to disagreement and further discussion. Understand why the prospect isn't attracted to the offer. Dig deeper into his problem and provide alternate solutions.

10. Making Everything Just About the Profits (and Not the solution)

common sales mistake and how to avoid them
Focus on Value Instead of Profit.

If you chase profit, you'll lose the customer. Instead, focus on offering a relevant solution to each prospect. No prospect wants to be robbed of his money.

Don't just randomly showcase your product's best features. Instead, offer customized solutions.

For instance, if an IT manager is going through a data breach, offer him your product that helps in data backup.

11. Not Giving Enough Time to Discuss Further Steps

A winning salesperson puts a lot of thought into how to propel the sales forward. While ending the call, they discuss the next steps and guide the prospect along the buyer's journey.

In fact, stats show that a customer needs five continuous follow-ups before the transaction.

Without confirming the next steps of buy-in, you're just marketing the product and not selling it. You need to master follow-up sales calls to close more deals.

12. Asking too many (or Too Few) Questions

In sales, the number of questions can impact the chances of closing a deal. The more questions you ask, the better you'll understand the customer.

But remember, asking more than 15 questions gives diminishing returns. Instead of closing the deal, it may repel the prospect.

13. Asking Irrelevant Questions

Asking 14 questions per call isn't a secret sauce to closing the deal. It's a common sales mistake to focus on the number of questions and not on their relevance. Start by asking personalized questions and dig deeper as the prospects reveal their problems.

14. Failing to Compare it with Competitors

Chances are, your company's product may have alternatives available in the market. You have to convince the prospect WHY you are better than the competitor.

Bring in the competitor early in the sales call, but weave the mention in naturally. Build the conversation around the benefits your product has over others. It'll help the prospect understand the uniqueness of your product.

Related: Check Out Our 8 Ways to make sales demo stand out.

15. Deploying Filler Words

Using filler words doesn't move the sales call forward. Filler words aren't substantial, and they don't hold any significance in the sales call. The word So is probably the most common filler word in sales.

Plus, filler words are annoying. Thus, it would be better to delete them from the sales conversation and start using factual words.

16. Bragging About the Company for More Than 2 Minutes

Talking about the company and its awards, milestones, and features decrease the chances of moving the sales forward. It may hinder the journey and even close further conversation and opportunities.

Thus, give a brief company overview.

17. Not Having Clear End Goal in Mind

Many sales reps spend their time designing killer presentations and selling for the sake of signature sales pitches. These are necessary skills and define the sales craftsmanship of executives. But, they don’t act as a focal point in closing more deals.

The solution is to have a clear mindset. Make a sale by offering a relevant solution. Your actions should directly or indirectly lead you to the end goal of closing the deal.

18. Selling Alone

"Unity is strength”

Perhaps the most cliched, yet accurate, line.

It is a common sales mistake to enter the sales call all by yourself. It would be more effective if you talk to at least one person before a sales call. Be it the sales manager, product manager, or sales engineer.

The idea is to gain perspective about the product from different professionals in the company. You can gather new insights into the benefits and features of the product. Ultimately, this would increase the chances of closing a deal than selling alone.

19. Diverting to Unimportant Topics

The attention span of humans is short. The attention span of a prospect is even shorter.

Many sales reps make the mistake of digressing. Discussing irrelevant matters during a sales call means you are wasting someone’s valuable time. Remember, you have a brief period to catch the prospect's attention. If you successfully lure the customer into further discussion, you've won!

20. Becoming Aggressive

Talk to anybody you know, and they'll tell you what they hate the most in a sales rep.

"Sales reps are pushy."

Sales associates have a terrible reputation for being aggressive and pushy during sales. Everyone has some horrible or funny experience related to a sales call.

Avoid this sales mistake at all costs. Don't be a sales rep that you can't tolerate yourself. Understand the pain points, pitch the solution, and wait. Give them time to consider what's right for them. Remember to let them know that you're open to any question they might have.

Conclusion: Hit or Miss

common sales mistake and how to avoid them
Hit or Miss.

Sales is a hit or miss game. Either, you draw the interest of the customer from the very beginning and then close the deal. Or you make these common sales mistakes and repel them away. Hence, it's always practical to keep working on a sales strategy and learn from the mistakes and evolve if there's a need.

Fireflies.ai is a perfect productivity tool for a sales rep. It can aid in evolving the sales strategy. With Fireflies.ai, you can make your meeting with prospects more efficient and record what transpires.  Relevant transcription notes can also be shared with the back-end team.