17 sales call mistakes you shouldn't make (and how to fix them)

Not bringing in the sales no matter how hard you try? You could be making some of these common sales mistakes that drive away prospects and leads.
Hinal Tanna
Hinal Tanna
Reading time: 7 minutes

Do you find yourself making many sales calls and trying to schedule demos, only to find that your sales numbers are still low?

In fact, only 60% of sales reps manage to meet their sales quota. 

What’s the root cause of such poor numbers during a sales call? Let’s take a look at the common sales call mistakes that ruin your chances of making a sale, and how you can fix them.

Contents

1. Not preparing adequately

One of the most common mistakes salespeople make is not preparing enough for their sales calls. 

This can take a number of different forms; from not having a clear understanding of the product or service they’re selling, to not knowing enough about the prospect and their specific needs.  

So, it’s better to prepare in advance before the sales call. Do thorough research to make sure you know everything about your product or service, as well as your prospect. This will help you focus the conversation on their specific needs and pain points, and show them that you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy.   

Being equipped with sufficient background knowledge of your prospect can also help you tailor your pitch to offer them an offer they can’t refuse.

💡 P.S. Need more pre-call resources? Check out our pre-call planning templates to help you better prepare for your sales call!

2. Failing to define the purpose of the call

Before making a sales call, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the purpose of the call is. 

Are you trying to generate leads? Are you trying to make a sale? Do you want to schedule an appointment at the end of the call?

Each rep and company define its ‘closes’ or targets differently. Once you know the purpose of the call, you can tailor your conversation accordingly and stay focused. To avoid such mistakes you can also use deal management software, which helps you to track all the customer’s conversation history.  

If you don’t have a clear goal for the call, it’s easy to lose focus and ramble on about things that don’t matter. This can be frustrating for both you and the customer, and it may lead them to consider another supplier.

3. Not actively listening and talking too much

A grave mistake to make during a sales call is not actively listening to the prospect and talking too much about yourself. 

This can be a major turnoff and make it difficult for the customer to see you as someone who can help them meet their needs. 

According to statistics, the best talk-to-listen ratio for a successful cold call is 46%:54%. Also, top-closing B2B sales professionals speak only 43% of the time, allowing prospects to talk for the remaining 57% of the call.

When you engage in active listening, you give the prospect the opportunity to speak their mind, which allows you to learn more about them as the conversation progresses. This way, you provide better ground to build a relationship with the prospect and let them lead the discussion.

4. Not following a sales discovery call structure

When making a sales discovery call, it’s important to have a proper structure. This will help you stay focused and make sure that you cover all the important points you need to cover in the short call. A typical sales discovery call structure should include:  

  • An opening line and a proper introduction of yourself  
  • A needs analysis  
  • A presentation of your solution  
  • A demonstration of your product  
  • A clear call to action  

If you don’t have a structure, it’s easy to get sidetracked and miss out on important points. This can cost you the sale.  

5. Overloading your prospect with information all at once

When presenting your solution, it’s important to take it slow and focus on one thing at a time

Don’t try to squeeze every little detail about your product into the conversation at once. This will only overwhelm the customer and make it difficult for them to understand what you’re saying. 

Instead, focus on one point, then go into detail to make sure you don’t simply skim through. This will help the customer understand your product and see how it can benefit them. 

6. Only talking about product features

This is a common sales call mistake made by many sales reps. Because we know the product well, we tend to want to showcase how the product works and how cool it is with all these features.

That’s not what your prospect wants to know.

When you focus on features, you’re talking about the things that your product can do, while benefits are what the customer will get out of using your product. 

This distinction is important because customers are more interested in what they will gain from using your product.  

7. Not handling objections well

Objections are a normal part of a sales call, and you need to be prepared to deal with them. When you encounter an objection, don’t get defensive and try to argue with the customer. Instead, listen carefully and ask questions to understand their concerns.  

Then, offer a solution that addresses their objections. This will help you overcome the objection and move closer to a sale.  

Some common objections include:

  • Is this a sales call?
  • I don’t know you
  • I’m too busy
  • I can’t afford it
  • Can your product do X, Y, or Z?

8. Being aggressive (or hard selling)

When you’re trying to close a sale, it’s easy to get aggressive and push the customer into making a decision. However, this is a mistake because it can backfire and make the customer more hesitant to hear you out, let alone purchase what you’re selling. 

This is often referred to as hard selling, which is a common mistake that salespeople make without even realizing it.

To prevent you from losing the sale, use the soft selling approach to create a comfortable and low-pressure sales environment for the prospect. This makes the buying decision come more naturally when you eventually pitch your product. 

9. Diverting the sales call to unimportant topics

When you’re on a sales call, it’s important to stay focused and on topic. Don’t let the conversation wander off into unimportant territory. 

This will only waste time (yours and your prospect’s) and make it difficult to close the sale

10. Be a consultant to your customers during the sales calls

More often than not, your customers are not experts when it comes to your product. So, be a consultant to them and explain how your product can help them with their business processes. 

In an interview we did with a Salesforce account manager, Edouard Obin, he shared that reps should steer the conversation to how your solution can bring value and help customers solve their problems. Your role is to understand the problems in order to add value to their customers

Do not make the mistake of just selling them the product. Sell the value of the product. 

11. Don't boast about your product during sales calls

Be confident about your product, but do not boast about it. 

While it’s good to share some case studies about your product or even make competitor comparisons, don’t overdo it. 

This will only make you look arrogant and the customer will not be interested in buying your product. Instead, the key here is to share just enough information to give your prospect an idea of what your product can do.

Here are some examples of how you can be subtle but still make an impact:

  • “We’ve managed to help several companies like X and Y to achieve about 60% growth in sales on a monthly basis.”
  • “In this industry, we’re one of the leading companies that offer this solution as we have many features like A, B, and C that many others don’t.”

12. Focusing on the price during sales calls

The price of your product is not the only thing that matters. 

We can’t stress this enough — not every prospect has a limited budget or only focuses on the price of your product. 

There are other factors like the quality or features that also play a role in the decision-making process of the customer. So, do not focus only on the pricing of your product, or give extravagant discounts. Try to offer a fair price that is beneficial for both you and the customer.

13. Failing to ask qualifying questions during sales calls

Qualifying questions are very important during a sales call as they help you determine the needs of the customer. If you do not ask qualifying questions, you will not be able to understand what the customer wants and this could lead to a loss of sale.  

Furthermore, qualifying questions not only help you to understand the customer but also helps you filter qualified leads and focus more on trying to close them. 

Some questions you can ask include:

  • What’s your budget?
  • Do you have the authority to approve the purchase of this solution?
  • Do you have a business problem that we can solve?

14. Closing a sale too early during sales calls

Another big mistake that sales reps make, even seasoned professionals, is trying to close the sale too early. 

This will make the customer feel pressured into buying when they may not be ready. Instead, try to build rapport with the customer and understand their needs. 

If you can sense that the prospect is still on the fence about their decision, send over materials like product brochures, case studies, and e-books that can help them understand your product better.

Once you have done this, you can then try to close the sale.

15. Not following up after a sales call

Statistics show that over 30% of the leads are never followed back after being rejected the first time because 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call. But, being more persistent can increase the conversion rate by up to 70%.

That said, always follow up with the prospect after a sales call. This shows that you are still interested in the customer and want to build a relationship with them. 

A good rule of thumb is to send an email right after the initial call and propose a time for the next call (if you didn’t manage to do so during the call itself). Then, before the actual follow-up call, drop another email or text message to give the prospect a heads up. 

If you do not follow up with the prospect, they may forget about you and your product, and all your effort has just gone to waste. 

16. Failing to take notes during sales calls

It is important to take notes during a sales call so that you can remember what was discussed. This will also help you follow up with the customer later.   

If possible, record your calls so that you can listen to them again and pick up on things you might have missed during the call. You can even use recorded conversations to better hone your sales pitch, tone, sales call script, and counters. 

17. Not building enough rapport during sales calls

Building rapport is one of the most important things you should do on a sales call. 

If you can establish a good rapport with the customer, they will be more likely to trust you and do business with you. After all, people tend to do business with those they trust. 

There are many ways to build rapport and it varies from customer to customer. Just take the time to get to know the customer’s journey and establish a connection with them.

It’s time to ace your sales calls!

As you can see, there are many ways to mess up a sales call. If you’ve identified that you’re making these mistakes, fret not! Simply learn from your mistakes and avoid making them in the future, and you’ll be well on your way to having more successful calls.

For more of such sales call tips and advice, check out our blog

Hinal Tanna
Hinal Tanna

Hinal Tanna is an SEO strategist and content marketer, currently working with the marketing team of Salesmate. When she's not working, Hinal likes to spend her time exploring new places.

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