10 Mistakes that Ruin Sales Calls

Salespeople spend all day on the phone selling to prospective customers, with rehearsed sales pitches and qualification methods. However, what if they have been making mistakes since their first call and repeating those errors in subsequent calls, resulting in a lower-than-expected conversion rate? Eliminating common sales call mistakes can make a big difference in your company’s bottom line. Here is a list of 10 typical sales call mistakes that you should help your reps avoid as part of your sales management strategy.

1. Boasting about your product – Buyers don’t want to hear reps rave about how superior their product is. Within the first minute of connecting with a prospect, reps should show why the product is great for THEM.

2. Bombarding your potential buyer with too much information – If your reps are doing most of the talking during your sales pitch, they’re doing it all wrong. Reps should be doing most of the listening so the buyer feels that their needs are understood and their pain points being spoken to.

3. A lack of planning – Before making any sales call, your reps should ensure that they have enough background information about the potential buyer or company. If you don’t know enough about the prospective customer, you won’t be able to make a personal connection or effectively communicate how your product can help them.

4. An unclear or nonexistent message – If your reps can’t articulate your objective within the first minute of their sales call, they will either hear crickets or a dead line. Get the message out as clearly and concisely as possible.

5. Poor sales management – If reps aren’t receiving adequate coaching or feedback from their sales manager, they won’t know how they’re performing. Additionally, without regular sales coaching, they won’t know what mistakes they’re making and, subsequently, will not be able to learn from them.

6. Failure to explain the next step – If the sales call went great and the potential buyer is genuinely interested, it is critical that your reps clearly outline the next steps in the buying process. The prospect is not likely to spend a great deal of time and effort researching the next steps they will have to take – it’s the rep’s responsibility to do the work for them and make these next steps abundantly clear.

7. Out of touch with reality – While reps shouldn’t instantly give up if the sales call isn’t going well, they also shouldn’t waste their time giving a pitch to buyers that are NOT qualified or interested. The best sales managers use sales pipeline reports to help reps prioritize the right opportunities to work on.

8. No confidence – If reps don’t sound confident in their product, the prospective buyers will not have faith in it either. A lack of confidence can be easily discerned over the telephone so help build your reps’ confidence in their own abilities, as well as your products.

9. Reading from a manual – If your reps are reading from a script, they will be handicapped from the get-go.  It is patently obvious to potential buyers when you’re reading lines from a manual, which can hinder efforts to make a personal connection over the phone.

10. Lack of Sincerity – It is obvious to the buyer when reps are being insincere or disingenuous by making unrealistic promises about what your product has to offer. Instead, offer rational fact-based reasons why you can help them.

While there are numerous mistakes that sales reps regularly make during calls, these are among the most critical sales call killers to avoid at all costs.  Feel free to share and comment with your own thoughts on what egregious errors kill sales call performances.