March 3, 2015 / Melissa Faudree

What if you have been making mistakes repeatedly when selling to prospective customers, which has resulted in lower conversion rate for your business? We all make mistakes but avoiding those mistakes can really affect the success of your company. We’ve created a list of 10 common ways we ruin a sales opportunity.

1. Late response to initial lead request

You must try to respond to leads as quickly as possible. After all, this is their first impression of you. If you cannot respond in a timely manner, this not only shows that you may be too busy but also that you don’t care for their business. According to research, if you respond within an hour of the lead there is about 7 times more conversion. However, most people do not follow up within an hour.

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2. Jumping the Gun

While it is best to dive into the reason you are calling for the initial conversation, a little small talk helps establish a connection. If you just dive into the conversation, it could make the potential customer feel like you just want to get this over with. You don’t want to waste their time but you also don’t want to rush anything. You should make the customer feel special, as if you don’t have any of customers (Even though they know that’s not true).

What small talk topics could you discuss? If you want to stand out, avoid asking the questions everyone asks. To show that you’ve completed research, you could ask about the latest news from the prospective client’s company. You could then find more information and ask for their opinion. If you have any friends in common on LinkedIn, this could be a great conversation starter and also increase your sales credibility. However, small talk should be avoided if you are in a sales meeting with more than one person. Save that for later so that you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.

3. Lateness

There is nothing worse than a potential customer’s first impression by being late. Being late is disrespectful and shows irresponsibility. You want to show them you are organized, reliable and worthy of their time. Attending meetings on time goes alongside with being prepared.


Do you know the potential customer? You should research information about the potential buyer and/or business before speaking with them. If you meeting with the potential customer without researching you may end up wasting their time by questions you could have answered on your own time. You should invest in the time beforehand.

You also must be prepared about what you want to say during your phone call or sales meeting. How much do you know about what you are selling? Can you answer difficult questions? You should be able to clearly communicate information to potential customers without stumbling over your words. You need to be an expert. All the information for your prospective customer should be readily available. This could include information such as pricing, features, samples, and testimonials.

5. Smothering them with Information

Talking too much about your products/services or even discussing the history of your company can hinder your sales pitch. You want to give the potential customer a brief overview of the important information to them. Your message should be clear and concise. Try to highlight your company in a subtle way that is crafted for the potential customer.

You don’t want to bombard your customers with irrelevant information because chances are they won’t remember it or will become confused. They only want information that applies to them and what they need. Your sales pitch should be customer focused, and not product focused. You should also not take too much of their time with the information you deliver.

6. Not Listening

If you are talking too much, you aren’t listening to what your customer wants. How can you sell something if you don’t know what the customer wants? Your customers should feel like you care about their needs and finding a solution. Don’t talk about yourself and your experiences. Make it about them! How can your products/services solve their problem? You should be asking them questions. They should be talking.

7. Scripted or Rehearsed Conversations

It will be obvious to customers if you are reading from a script over the phone. While there is nothing wrong with using a script as a guide, it should never be read word for word. You should be able to add your own personality into the conversation. It should be a two-way conversation and one that establishes a relationship.

8. Lack of Genuineness and Confidence

You need to have confidence in what you are selling so that your customers will want to purchase from you. You should also be honest and genuine with your customers. This will allow them to trust you and trust that you have their best interest at heart. If you are pushy, people are less likely to do business. You can build a relationship and increase conversion when you are confident and genuine.

9. Pressuring the Uninterested

No generally means no. You should not continue to pursue someone that is uninterested in the products or services you are selling. There will be plenty of others who ARE interested. You also don’t want to waste your time with those who cannot afford or need your service. You shouldn’t take any more of your time trying to convince them.

10. Not Asking for the Sale

You must ask your customers for the sale. This might seem obvious because it’s Sales 101 but it can be overlooked. By asking this question it will nudge your customer to make a commitment. Depending on how well your sales pitch went, they could be willing to sign a contract right there. But you have to ask the question first!

Even the most experienced sales professional can make mistakes. We are human. However, if you avoid these 10 mistakes you will increase your chances of closing the sale.

What other common sales mistakes do you see people make?

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