5 Easily Avoidable Sales Mistakes

5 Easily Avoidable Sales Mistakes - Shutterstock

How do you succeed in a sales position? Being good at selling stuff in today’s consumer market requires a wide array of social skills because customers hate the stereotypical “salesperson” persona and want to interact with a real, helpful human. Sure product knowledge goes a long ways, but the key to getting a client’s interest starts with selling yourself and then understanding the customer. Knowing what items to push and when to do it will take you to new heights in your sales career. In this post we are going to look at five mistakes you should avoid making during a sales pitch in order to improve your numbers.

5 Easily Avoidable Sales Mistakes - Shutterstock
5 Easily Avoidable Sales Mistakes – Shutterstock

Be a Quiet Leader

Sure, you want the customer to be involved and let them ask questions; however you should never let the customer lead the discussion. The majority of the questions should be coming from the seller, not the client. Understanding the client’s lifestyle is the first step in finding the right product or service to meet their needs. Ask the questions in a conversational manner and you might quickly notice the barrier between the salesperson and the customer breaking down as they open up to your inquiries. When you fully know the situation, then recommend a product/service and illustrate exactly how it will meet their needs that they just laid out for you.

Overselling is Overkill

Never try and sell too much or pressure a customer. If you push too hard or aim too high the customer will take off running for the doors. You want to “wow” them with your knowledge and winning personality rather than make them uncomfortable by pushing too hard for a high end sale. I always say that it’s better to have them leave your business with something, even if it’s an entry level product or service, rather than lose them because you pushed for something they simply were not comfortable with. Aim for what you think they need, rather than what you want them to have.

Make your Pitch and Move on

Inexperienced men and women in sales have a tendency to talk too much. Just like in dating, you have to know when the shut up and listen! Once you have made your sales pitch, tying in the product to their lifestyle and needs, close the deal and then quit talking. Going on and on with more meaningless details is never going to persuade a “on the fence” customer. Every good salesperson will come up with some good ways to close a sale. Experiment with various styles, and roll with whatever seems to have the most success.

Saying “I don’t know” is ok!

Technology has created a consumer base that is much more knowledgeable about products and services available to them than in decades past. Customers may even walk into a business with more product knowledge than many of the employees selling them. To this end, if you hear a question and don’t immediately know an answer, never be afraid to let the customer you do not know and offer to do some research for them. Your honesty will impress the customer more than a fluffy lie that they can easily see right through!

Be Prepared

If there is one thing the Boy Scouts taught us, it was to be prepared at all times. For me, this comes down to two things: product knowledge and business knowledge. In other words, a good salesperson needs to know their products and services inside and out. They should be expecting and ready for strange, completely off the wall questions at any time. As a salesperson, you want the customer to immediately recognize you as an expert in your field.

As far as knowing the business is concerned, make sure and understand all of your policies so you know where to draw the line with customers who are making demands. Saying yes to a few things is ok, but there is a point where it becomes financially irresponsible to let a customer dictate the terms of the sale. Companies should take responsibility for imparting this knowledge themselves and send employees to a retail sales training program, however this is not always the case!


Even the most experienced sales people make some errors. The key is avoiding the big ones as much as possible. It’s not hard to sell stuff, and anyone can do it! Just be yourself, and use these five tips as a type of general guide to steer you in the right direction. Good luck and happy selling!