15 Critical Sales Mistakes You Could Be Making in 2023

Critical sales mistakes are mistakes that jeopardize your closing. In the worst case, they could even damage your company’s reputation.

A great salesperson has a huge bag of knowledge to draw on to help them through any situation. They instinctively know what not to do based on years of experience in the field and have made many mistakes on their own in that time. 

What sorts of mistakes are great salespeople always on the lookout for? We’ve compiled today’s list to answer this question.

Key Takeaways

  • You won’t always know the right thing to do or say to close a sale, but there are surefire ways to lose them.
  • Focus on eliminating mistakes to create the best possible sales experience.
  • Think of mistakes as symptoms of larger issues, which will help you eliminate entire categories of mistakes all at once.

The 4 Categories of Critical Sales Mistakes

We’ve collected some of the most common sales mistakes from our own experience and from around the web, for example, this great video where sales strategist Marc Wayshak breaks down nine common sales errors:

During the process of collecting these examples, we noticed a pattern that divided these common errors into four distinct categories:

  • Lack of Information (Not Knowing Your Customer)
  • Not Employing Appropriate Sales Tactics
  • Lacking Professionalism
  • Lacking Transparency

Each category could be a root problem that causes the issues listed underneath. By focusing on conquering the main theme of each category, a salesperson can immediately eliminate the most critical mistakes from their behavior.

Not Knowing Your Customer Well Enough

You should know your customer as deeply as you possibly can. Not understanding the importance of this principle will manifest in some of these ways:

1. Not Taking Discovery Seriously

Your discovery call is your first and best opportunity to learn about your customer and their needs. Look at it as an opportunity to find out how likely the prospect is to close. This can help you identify promising leads more quickly and efficiently and lead to increased sales velocity

2. Not Qualifying Leads

Sixty-three percent of B2B marketers say generating high-quality leads is their most difficult problem.

Qualifying leads is important because it will keep you from wasting time chasing dead ends and keep your best customers at the top of your priority list.

3. Not Listening Enough

Don’t talk too much about your business or product without listening to the customer. You need to know them as well as they know you to foster a lucrative relationship.

4. Not Taking Notes

Don’t rely on memory when it comes to closing sales or impressing customers. It’s all risk and no reward. Notes will keep you organized and focused and display your professionalism and preparedness.

5. Being Ignorant of Internal Decision Making

Part of learning your prospect is learning their internal company structure and how to move around it. If you fail to study this information, you could look bad by closing too soon or to the wrong person.

Not Using Proven Sales Tactics

Certain sales tactics are more like non-negotiable rules. Failing to employ them properly is like baking a cake without measuring anything: it’s technically possible but will lead to uneven results.

6. Not Following Up

We recommend you set a schedule for follow-ups immediately after discovery or receipt of a new lead and stick to it rigorously.

When you do follow up, make it fast.  If you respond within 5 minutes, you’re better than 93% of companies.

A table breaking down an example follow-up timeframe. Following a rigid schedule like this will help minimize lack of follow-up, a critical sales mistake.

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7. Not Closing Frequently (& At the Right Time)

As a salesperson, you never know when the right time to close might be. This is why you always keep the option on the table and bring it up at important moments.

8. Not Creating Urgency (At the Right Time)

Sometimes people won’t make decisions unless they feel like they have to. It’s not bad to let the customer know that the clock is ticking. This will help clarify their feelings about the deal.

However, it’s important to get the timing of this one right. Too much pressure too soon will kill the deal by overwhelming your prospect.

Seeming Unprofessional

Most customers demand professionalism at a minimum from the companies they buy from. Displaying a lack of it means losing a customer’s respect quickly.

9. Not Taking Preparation Seriously

It’s important not only to document information the customer gives you but to use that information to prepare materials for meetings and sales calls. Prepare before every contact with a prospect to ensure you’re on top of their account status, your latest contact with them, and potential new offerings you could make.

10. Not Giving Your Full Attention During Meetings

There is nothing more off-putting than someone who can’t put their phone away during a meeting. Don’t give the impression that you don’t care. Be on time and prepared for meetings so you can stay focused at all times.

Appearing aloof or distracted during a meeting is a critical sales mistake. Your prospect needs to know you’re focused on their needs.

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11. Not Keeping Your Word

A critical error salespeople always make is failing to deliver on a promise. You could deliver on 99% of what you said you would, but customers will notice that 1%, and it could prevent them from ever doing business with you again. The key is to only make promises you can keep. 

12. Being A Cliched Salesman

No one wants to deal with an overly talkative and pushy salesman. 57% of people are encouraged to deal with salespeople who seem relatable, personable, and human

It’s a subtle art, but you must learn to relate to the customer on this level while also explaining how valuable your product is to them.

Not Being Transparent

Most people are honest, and they value honesty in return. Being forthright about yourself, your product, and what you hope to get from the customer are all crucial to a great sales process. The following mistakes will make you seem less transparent and trustworthy.

13. Waiting Too Long to Address Questions

It’s okay not to have all information at your fingertips. However, leaving customers hanging for critical information could be the difference between a close and a lost opportunity.

14. Being Uncomfortable Saying “I Don’t Know”

To go with #13, a great salesperson should get comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” Not only will customers understand if you need to get back to them about something, but they’ll also likely appreciate your frankness and willingness to take the time to find out.

15. Overpromising and Underdelivering

There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been deceived. This is exactly how a prospect or customer will feel if a salesperson leads them to believe something about the product that isn’t true. 

As far as mistakes go, this is about as critical as it gets.

To avoid this, make sure you’re an expert on your product, your company, and every detail about how you will deliver value to the customer.

Televerde’s experienced sales team are experts in eliminating these kinds of sales mistakes. Contact us today to find out how we can boost your sales success and improve customer satisfaction.

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