Sales Mistakes

Interested to know what the most common sales mistakes are among sales professionals. Are you or your sales team every guilty of these mistakes? Lets take a look at things from the buyers point of view to see how you and your sales management team can become more successful at closing sales.


Sales Mistakes (The Most Common Problems Buyers Encounter)

1. Did not listen to buyer = 38%

2. Did not respond to buyers requset in a timely manner = 30%

3. Did not understand my needs = 30%

4. Talked too much = 25%

5. No personal chemistry with me = 25%

6. Did not convince me of the value I would receive = 24%

7. Did not craft a compelling solution to my needs = 22%

8. Overzeallous in trying to win my business = 21%

9. Lack of professionalism = 19%

10. Late to meetings = 18%

11. Poor presentation skills = 17%

12. Lacked enthusiasm for winning my business = 15%

13. Gave inappropriate example of past work = 13%

14. Lacked strong references = 10%

15. Poor writing skills = 10%

16. website not professional = 6%

17. Website not informative = 6%

18. Other = 3%

Source: Rain Group 2010 - Sales Mistakes That Turn Buyers Away


Within the top 5 problems buyers encounter, 4 out of five are related to the sales professional not doing enough to really listen to the buyer and their needs or desires. These problems are the ones in red text. By doing a better job of listening a sales profession will be able to better understand the buyers needs. If a sales professional listens more it will force them to talk less. By listening a sales professional can build rapport and create personal chemistry. sellers the number one thing we need to do to close more sales is talk less and listen more.


A great example is about a month ago there was one large account I was trying to close for one of my customers. I remember it was a Tuesday morning and we had invited the client to the showroom to try some of the products we wanted to sell him. We offered him a bunch of samples to try (the product we were selling is coffee). After trying them all the client was not satisfied with any of them compared to his current product. Normally I would have tried to convince him that one of the products he tried was right for him by doing more talking. On this occasion I took a different approach. I instead asked why he felt none of them were suitable and what we would need to do, to have him switch to our service. The response was clear. He felt none of the current products matched the taste of his current product and he did not want to risk upsetting the people he serves the coffee too. In addition he would not be able to justify a price increase if he decide to switch. By listening instead of talking I was able to determine that if we were going to get this sale we would need to provide the same coffee this client currently bought from another supplier and at the same price. This would then allow us to get his base coffee business plus his espresso business. Following the meeting we proposed that we could provide the same coffee that he currently buys at the same price he currently pays. In the end we got the account with his base coffee in addition to up selling and adding an espresso offering to his service, all without beating our competitors price. From this experience I would have to agree, by doing a better job of listening you can increase your closing rate.


A great book on how to really listen and improve the closing rate of your sales is SPIN Selling. The best part about the book is what the different types of sales questions there are and in which order they should be asked. I will maybe have to write on this in another blog.


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I hope this article on sales mistakes was interesting. Thanks for reading. I am always interested to get feedback from my readers. Let me know if there is a particular topic you want me to write on. Just contact us, put "Blog feedback" in your subject line, and in the email describe what you would like us to write about.