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5 Common Mistakes Salespeople Make and How to Avoid Them

Image of Pam Georgiana
Pam Georgiana

The legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence." As we start a new year, many of us are taking time to reflect on the crucial lessons we learned in 2022 and set goals for 2023. If you're in sales, chances are one of your goals is improved performance. As Mr. Lombardi stressed, excellence should always be one of those goals. 

But do you have the resources to attain excellence? Unfortunately, many sales teams do not. 

Many salespeople are unsuccessful because they make the same mistakes repeatedly. Here are some of the common sales mistakes we see most frequently - and expert sales coaching tips for avoiding them.

5 Common Sales Mistakes

Failed follow-up:

Inside sales is a long-term strategy. Rarely will you get a “yes” from a prospect after one conversation. In fact, 80% of your prospects will say “no” four times before they say “yes” on the fifth conversation. However, 44% of your salespeople give up after one follow-up call, and 92% will give up after four "no's." 

Not only do many salespeople give up too soon, but they also let leads slip through the cracks. They either forget about a prospect or take too long to check in. Customers want to feel valued. Research shows that consumers will pay up to 16% more for a positive, friendly, and welcoming experience. Research also shows that responding to leads within 5 minutes or less can significantly improve conversion rates.

Coaching tip: To convert new leads, respond to their initial inquiry within five minutes or less. If you don't connect, make at least seven attempts to connect in a way that doesn't feel spammy and through the lead's preferred method of communication.

Supercharged coaching tip: Leverage a digital speed-to-lead tool, sometimes referred to as rapid lead response or even click-to-call automation, to connect with prospects almost instantly.

Poor introduction: 

You have about seven seconds to make an excellent first impression. Within those first few seconds, the prospect will decide if they like you — and that first impression will stick, no matter what you say or do. So it's critical to start an introductory conversation with positivity and strength. 

Coaching tip: Put a smile on your face and in your voice. In the first few seconds, clearly and concisely introduce yourself, explain why you're calling, and get an opt-in to talk before launching into your pitch. 

No game plan:

You'll never achieve excellence without a solid sales plan. It's essential to be intentional about every conversation. That includes knowing your talking points and goals of the conversation. Along the same lines, don't waste anyone's time. No one likes to be dragged through a long conversation with a relative stranger just to answer simple questions like "Is this car still available?", especially if the answer is, "I don't know." 

Coaching tip: Clearly articulate your reason for calling at the very beginning of your call, and try to give a range of minutes it will take. That will help your prospect understand the intent of the call and decide if now is the right time to talk without being stressed.

Supercharged coaching tip: Before each call, develop a detailed game plan based on the prospect's unique situation. Have the prospect's relevant information on hand, including where they found you, how they contacted you, and what they're looking for. Calldrip's call response solution offers a whisper functionality that shares key data points before connecting you to the prospect. Want to see how it works? Let us show you.

Not listening well:

Seasoned sales professionals say they listen more than they speak. In fact, statistics show the ideal ratio is 43:57 with listening being the dominant activity. Listening to your prospects fosters a deeper connection. Prospects are more likely to continue the conversation with someone they trust. Look, we know you are busy and have a lot of prospects. It can be challenging to focus on one person at a time. However, that is your job. Prospects know when you are not making them a priority. 

Coaching tip: Practice active listening. Active listening creates mutual understanding between two people because the listener tries to fully comprehend the meaning and intent behind what the speaker is saying. You are listening to understand rather than to respond. You do this by repeating key points to confirm that you heard them. 

Supercharged coaching tip: Spend a few moments preparing for each prospect call. Remind yourself of their personal details and their immediate questions and needs. This small but important step shows your customers that you understand and care about them. 

Poor voicemail etiquette:

When a prospect does not answer your phone call, your voice message must be memorable and action-oriented. Leaving a version of “Hi Jimmy, give me a call when you get this” all but guarantees Jimmy won’t ever phone you back.

Coaching tip: Create a simple, clear voicemail script introducing you and your business and explaining why you're calling. Include a strong call-to-action (for both the lead and you) at the end of the message. For example, "Please call me back as soon as you can. If I don't hear from you, I'll try to reach you again next week." Use a tool like Calldrip’s Perfect Voicemail to leave an optimized voicemail every time automatically. You can pre-record and load the voicemail to your phone system so it is ready whenever you need it

Supercharged coaching tip:  In addition to a voicemail, send a follow-up text message to ensure you meet the prospect on their preferred channel. People tend to answer texts faster than voicemails, moving the sales conversation forward. Text messaging is a convenient and powerful tool, but it is important to  remain professional.  A couple things to keep in mind when texting customer is to be brief with concise messaging and be friendly to create a more personal and inviting interaction. Want to learn more about text messaging?  Here are 5 best practices for texting your leads. 

Make a commitment to chase perfection this year by avoiding these common sales mistakes. With the coaching tips we offered here and resources like Calldrip, you'll be closer to catching excellence by the end of 2023. 

Calldrip offers award-winning sales coaching software and works with thousands of businesses worldwide to improve sales performance. We understand the nuances of consumer behavior and the most effective methods to engage prospects. We are experts at inside sales. 

Contact us today for a free demo of Calldrip's sales call response, tracking, and coaching solutions.


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