7 Sales Mistakes That Can Cost You a Deal (and How to Avoid Them)
7. July 2021

7 Sales Mistakes That Can Cost You a Deal (and How to Avoid Them)

The main goal of your sales team is to address the customer’s needs with the perfect product or solution your company offers. Sales teams are tasked with bridging the gap between your company and your customers which makes sales reps are an integral part of the relationship-building process for your organization. When customers have needs that your company can address, their first point of contact is their sales rep.

But, as humans, we make mistakes. Also in sales mistakes can happen – but they can cost your company a deal or hurt your valuable relationships with your customers. Buyers have a lot of options when deciding on which products and solutions to choose to meet their needs. A bad relationship or experience with your company could mean your customers choosing your competition over you.

Salespeople need to understand their target customers deeply. This allows sales teams to offer customized solutions or experiences. Since sales reps are a crucial touchpoint in your buyer’s journey, their approach needs to be customized and match the needs of the prospects.

Most sales mistakes can be avoided or mitigated by preparing your sales teams adequately. By knowing the mistakes that can cost you a deal and how to avoid them, your sales teams will be prepared or know how to navigate the situation in the future. 

Why Are Sales Teams Important to Your Business?

Sales teams play a vital role in your business and without a great sales force, your business will struggle to achieve strategic profit goals. Sales teams are an important cornerstone of your business and they:

  • Increase your client base: The role of sales is to find new leads and, hopefully, convert them to customers. Typically, your sales team is working with already warmed-up leads that were cultivated through marketing and advertising initiatives. At that point, the sales team’s goal is to convert those leads into customers and continue to promote your company’s mission, vision and product or service line.
  • Aid in business growth: Sales teams are tasked with building relationships and trust with customers and that relationship is typically why customers choose to buy your company’s product, solution or service. Additionally, when a good relationship is formed, your customers are more likely to recommend your company to their friends and family. Word of mouth is a huge aid in business growth and it all starts with the customer’s relationship with your sales reps.
  • Increases customer retention: When customers have a good experience with your brand, they are more likely to come back and purchase from you again. Excellent salespeople not only close the initial deal, but they build lasting relationships that encourage your customers to come back and buy from your company again and again. Great sales reps know that the relationship doesn’t end with the closing of the sale but know that the first deal is only the beginning. A great salesperson will continue to sell through follow-up calls and check-ins with the customer. 

The Top 7 Sales Mistakes That Happen With Your Customers

1. Not Preparing Before an Important Sales Call

Preparing in advance for a sales call is a must. When not preparing or following a defined sales call structure, your sales reps are offering an inconsistent experience for your customers. Additionally, your sales reps might be ill-prepared for the call which could hurt the customer’s trust and their pitch could come across as generic.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

Invest time and energy into developing a consistent preparation strategy for your sales teams. The perfect sales discovery call aims to answer the following question -- How can I solve the core problems of this customer?

A perfect strategy will prepare your sales teams to do the proper research BEFORE getting on a call with a prospect. For example, have instructions for your sales teams to research the prospect on LinkedIn. Or, have your sales team align products or services with the perceived needs of the company based on the prospect’s website or digital channels.

With the proper sales preparation and discovery strategy in place, you will notice that your teams will start closing more deals.

BONUS: Sales Intelligence Tools Can Help Sales Teams Better Prepare

Sales intelligence tools refer to the available technologies that allow sales teams to find, research, market to and prospect potential new customers. These tools often allow teams to filter specific criteria and automate certain actions, saving sales teams time to focus on closing more deals

The advantage of these tools is that they are always on and working. This is a huge benefit since the traditional way of sales prospecting – buying lead lists or addresses from address vendors – is broken, outdated and inefficient. Sales professionals that utilize sales intelligence tools usually outperform and outsell their peers.

Want to know what kind of digital sales tools best fit your needs? Read our article here.

2. Talking More Than Your Customers

A common mistake sales reps make is talking too much. When talking more than the customer, sales reps aren’t spending time listening to the needs of the customer. Additionally, your customer will feel like their needs weren’t heard and this could potentially hurt their trust in their point of contact and even the integrity of the product. When making buying decisions, customers want to make sure they are finding the perfect product, solution or service that will fit their specific needs. With a sales rep that talks too much, it’s almost impossible to actually hear the needs of the prospect.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

Evaluate your sales team's talk-to-listen ratio. Statistics show that top-performing sales representatives spend 43 percent of a sales call talking (at most) and 57 percent of the call listening. Encourage your sales reps to spend more time listening to their customers' needs during the call instead of overselling the product. Bonus: equip your teams with some pre-planned and helpful questions that encourage your customers to keep talking.

3. Giving a Lengthy Company Overview

Talking about your company too much greatly decreases your chances of a sale. A company overview that covers the entire timeline – from company founding to today – will not help your customer convert. How much is too much? If a sales rep is discussing the company for more than two minutes, then your chances of closing the deal have significantly decreased.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

Develop a script or bullet points covering the most important and relevant information about your company and provide that to your sales team. Encourage them to follow that script and instruct them that two minutes is too long to discuss the company. Instead, develop some transition recommendations to get sales reps to start asking the customer key questions so they can focus on selling and not presenting.

4. Bombarding Customers with Product Information

Another common mistake made by sales teams is bombarding the client with all of the product information at once. With this aggressive approach, you might notice that your customer won’t return your phone calls. When sales reps talk too much about the product all at once, customers tend to lose interest.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

The goal of any sales call is to lure your customers into admitting or revealing what their pain points and goals are. To do this, you need to spend time, before the call, developing a structure to follow. Keep your focus on essential information that addresses the customer’s pain points and avoid oversharing all the product information that is irrelevant to their pain points. Your customer wants helpful decision-making, not a report out of all the features. If your customer wanted product information, they wouldn’t need to give you a call.

5. Talking About Features and Not Focusing on Benefits

Similar to bombarding your customer with product information, only focusing on the product, service or solution features can cost you a sale. Customers want to know how this product will benefit them first and what the features are second. Bottom line: your customer isn’t interested in what color your product comes in or what programming language it uses, they care about how this will solve their problems and make their lives easier.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

To avoid this deal-breaking mistake, sales reps need to focus on the value that the product or solution brings to the customer. Customers are hyper-focused on how this will solve their problems and the more time sales reps focus on the features, the more that customers get lost in how this will meet their needs. Focus on what the customer’s post-sale experience will be like and how their life will be easier since this is a solution to their problems.

6. Using Too Much Sales Jargon

A common mistake made during most sales calls is overusing sales jargon. Your customers do not want to hear words like, “it’s on the roadmap,” or, “meeting quota,” or the dreaded, “contract term limits.” Using too much jargon or sales-y words take your customer’s mind off of how your product or solution will solve their problems.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

Avoiding this sales mistake is not as easy as you might think. These words are commonly used in everyday internal sales team meetings so it’s normal for them to make their way into conversations with customers. However, the best way to avoid this mistake is to continue to focus on solution selling and simple, inspirational terms instead of sales jargon. You’ll notice that when shifting to meeting the needs of your customers with your product or service and away from sales-speak, you’ll start closing more deals. Of course, it also highly depends on the industry – some might understand sales terms better than others. Still, you need to make sure you adapt the way you speak to your customer.

7. Not Handling Objections Well

Hearing “NO” from a customer or prospect can be very discouraging to sales reps. This is the last thing that your sales rep wants to hear on a call. A common mistake sales reps make when hearing no, or a differing opinion from a prospect is giving up or counting that sale out. This is one of the worst mistakes that you can make.

How to Avoid This Sales Mistake

The best way to handle a “no” from a prospect is to not get discouraged or write off the sale. This is where the real work begins and how the best salespeople stand out from the rest. Handle an objection by showing the customer you are open to disagreement and would like to discuss their objections further. Ask pressing questions about why the prospect isn’t attracted to the offer. This important insight can help refine your sales pitch for this customer and others like them. By digging deeper into the objections, sales teams will see that they can provide alternative solutions to meet the needs of the customer. 

Conclusion: Avoid Making Sales Mistakes and Close More Deals

Your business simply can’t afford your sales reps to make these seven common mistakes. Sales strategies are ever evolving and should be constantly re-evaluated and updated. When sales teams are open to learning from mistakes and committed to constantly improving their pitch, your company will benefit in the long run.

Additionally, having a well-documented sales strategy will allow for consistency across your sales team. This is a great approach in the event that your customer interacts with other sales reps. Remember, sales representatives are an extension of your brand and ensuring that they are equipped with the right, branded tools, will result in a better experience for your customer. When your customers have a great experience with your company, you’ll notice that your customer retention numbers start to increase, resulting in more revenue for your business.

You need to equip your sales teams with the right tools, including digital tools, sales strategies, and support, so they feel prepared to go into every conversation with any prospects. When sales reps are prepared, they close more deals, resulting in success for your business.

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