Avoiding Common Sales Mistakes & What to Do Instead

Avoid the biggest sales mistakes and learn what to do instead for a smooth, successful sales process.


We've all been there — you're trying to close a big sale, but things just aren't clicking. Suddenly, you realize you're making one of those classic sales mistakes that tank deals left and right.

Sure, some of these mistakes might seem harmless, but they can quickly snowball and leave you with frustrated customers who feel like you don't “get” them. That's the last thing you want when trying to land a deal.

We've rounded up the biggest sales mistakes your team can make, and we’ll walk you through easy fixes. No more missing out on deals because of silly slip-ups. Let's ensure your sales process is as smooth and successful as possible.

Sales Mistake #1: Sales Team Lacks Product Knowledge

Confused salesperson lacking product knowledge, Avoiding Common Sales Mistakes

If your sales team doesn't know the products and services you're offering, how can they convince customers that it's the perfect solution? It's like trying to sell a car without knowing how fast it can go. It's not a great look.

Research shows that 91% of Baby Boomers and 79% of Gen Z customers agree that knowledgeable salespeople make the shopping experience more appealing. 

Even if you're selling online, you need a sales team that's an expert on your products. After all, how can customers trust someone who doesn't know what they're talking about?

The Solution: Train the Sales Team as Experts

You should make your salespeople experts. Provide them with thorough product training so they can speak confidently about features, benefits, use cases, etc.

If you have a really complex or technical product, you may also want to give them access to solutions engineers who can help answer detailed questions. That way, the sales reps can focus on the big picture while leaning on the experts for the details.

The more your team knows, the better they'll be at matching your products to the customer's needs and proving why your solution is the best fit. No more stammering or looking clueless — just smooth, confident sales conversations that win customers.

Sales Mistake #2: Handling Tough Questions in Sales Calls

No matter how much you train your sales team, there will always be that one question that stumps them. It's impossible to know absolutely everything, especially when you're dealing with super-specific customer scenarios.

The tricky part is handling that moment gracefully. If a lead asks about something you're not sure of, and you react by getting defensive or brushing them off, that's a surefire way to lose their trust (and the sale). Customers want to feel heard and understood, not ignored.

The Solution: Quick Research for Answers

Salesperson presenting quick research for answers during sales call, Avoiding Common Sales Mistakes

When you get a question you can't answer right away, don't panic! Instead, let the customer know you're on it. Write down their question, tell them you'll find the answer, and get back to them as soon as possible.

Then, go do your research. Contact product experts, dig through your knowledge base, or do some quick online sleuthing. Finally, respond to the customer promptly (within the hour if you can) with a solid response.

Not only does this show you really care about their concerns, but it also helps build trust. The customer sees that you're willing to put in the effort to give them the information they need. 

Plus, being transparent about needing a little time to research is way better than faking your way through an answer.

Sales Mistake #3: Pitching to the Wrong Audience

You may think your prospect won’t know the difference between a generic sales pitch and one that’s specially tailored for them, but they will.

Have you ever gotten one that was totally irrelevant to you? It's the worst, right? Not only is it a waste of your time, but it also leaves you with a bad impression of the company. You end up wondering if they even did any research on who you are and what you care about.

Unfortunately, this happens too often in sales. Reps get so eager to make a sale that they start blasting their pitch to anyone and everyone, regardless of whether it's a good fit. But that's a surefire way to tank your conversion rates and turn off potential customers.

The Solution: Tailored Collateral

Instead, start exclusively targeting the right people with your sales materials. Take the time to really know your ideal customer profile — their pain points, priorities, industry, company size, etc. 

Then, tailor your pitch, case studies, one-pagers, and other collateral to speak directly to those specific customers.

It may seem like a lot of extra work upfront, but it pays off. Research shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. 

When you show a prospect that you've taken the time to consider their unique needs, they're way more likely to see your solution as the perfect fit.

That way, your prospects will be nodding along instead of zoning out, and you'll be on your way to closing more deals.

Sales Mistake #4: Features Over Benefits in Sales

Bored customer during sales call discussing features over benefits, Avoiding Common Sales Mistakes

We get it — your product is loaded with amazing features. You're probably excited to tell everyone about all the cool stuff it can do. 

Here's the thing: your prospects don't really care about the specifics. What they want to know is: “How is this going to help me?”

When you just rattle off a laundry list of features, it can actually turn customers off. They're sitting there thinking, "Okay, that's great, but what's in it for me?" If you don't clearly explain the benefits and how it solves their problems, they won't see the value.

The Solution: Lead with Value

Stop diving straight into the features. Lead with the value your offering provides. Start by really recognizing your customer's pain points and goals. What are the specific challenges they're facing that your solution can address?

Then, craft your pitch to clearly show how your product or service will directly benefit them. How will it save them time or money? Make their job easier? Help them achieve their objectives? Connect the dots between the features and the real-world impact for the customer.

By leading with value first, you're much more likely to capture your prospect's attention and get them excited about what you have to offer. Save the specifics for later. First, make sure they know how it will improve their life.

Sales Mistake #5: Sales and Marketing Not on the Same Page

Sales and marketing don't always see eye-to-eye. The marketing team is busy creating campaigns and content to attract attention while the sales reps are on the front lines trying to convert those leads.

If the two departments aren't aligned, it can create frustration and disjointed messaging for the customer.

Imagine a prospect getting one type of pitch from marketing, only to have the sales rep give them a completely different story. Talk about a confusing experience! Not only does it make your company look disorganized, but it also erodes trust with the customer.

The Solution: Unified Sales and Marketing Focus

Unified sales and marketing teams celebrating, Avoiding Common Sales Mistakes

Set up regular meetings with the CEO, head of sales, and head of marketing to ensure everyone is aligned on priorities, messaging, target customers, etc.

Make sure the sales and marketing teams work together to create content, refine the buyer personas, and develop the overall go-to-market strategy. When both departments are laser-focused on the same objectives, the customer experience is seamless.

There will be no more sales reps feeling like marketing isn't giving them the right tools and no more marketing teams feeling like their hard work is going to waste. 

With everyone rowing in the same direction, you'll be able to deliver a consistent, compelling brand experience.

Sales Mistake #6: Wild Sales Quotas

As a sales leader, you want your team to be hungry and driven to hit big numbers. But if you set the bar so high that it's practically unattainable, you'll end up with a demoralized, burnt-out sales force.

When your reps feel like they can never reach their goals no matter how hard they try, it can seriously tank their morale and productivity. And let's be real – that won't do your bottom line any favors.

Plus, unrealistic quotas can lead to shady sales tactics as reps get desperate to meet their numbers. We're talking about cutting corners, making false promises, or pressuring customers — not exactly the recipe for building long-term relationships.

The Solution: Realistic Quota Setting

You should set quotas that are challenging but also achievable for your team. You want to push them to reach new heights, but not to the point where they're constantly falling short and feeling like failures.

As a general rule of thumb, you'll want your rep quotas to be around 4-5 times their on-target earnings (OTE). So, if a rep's OTE is $50k, their quota should be in the $200-250k range. However, when first building your sales team, you should be a little more practical. 

In that first year or so, you may need to adjust the quotas slightly, especially if you're hiring less experienced reps. The goal is to have 80% or more of your team consistently hitting their numbers.

Once you've got that solid foundation, you can start pushing the quotas higher to maximize your team's potential. Rushing into unrealistic goals immediately is a recipe for disaster. Slow and steady wins the race when building a high-performing sales force.

Mastering the Sales Fundamentals

There you have it — the biggest sales mistakes to avoid and the simple strategies to implement instead. 

Focusing on building an expert sales team, handling tricky questions the right way, tailoring your approach to the buyer, leading with value, aligning sales and marketing, and setting realistic goals will help you crush your sales targets.

When you have those core elements dialled in, you'll be unstoppable. No more sloppy mistakes sinking deals — just smooth, successful sales conversations that delight customers and grow your business.

Ready to Take Your Sales to the Next Level?

If you're ready to form your effective sales process and boost your team's performance, check out more expert sales resources from Lunas. We've got the tips, tricks, and tactical advice you need to avoid pitfalls and close more deals than ever before.

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