Success In Sales – Avoid These 5 Common Fatal Mistakes

Kumar Gauraw
Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new.        ~Albert Einstein [tweet this]
We all make mistakes in life, learn from them and move on. In business as well, while selling our ideas, products or services, we do make a few mistakes and the same process repeats – we correct them, learn from them and move to the next steps.

Success In Sales - Avoid Common Mistakes - Blog Post By Kumar GaurawPhoto courtesy of ©Depositphotos / choreograph

While this is how we all learn and grow, how do we ensure success in sales? If that is your challenge, here are the most common 5 sales mistakes people make that can potentially break the sales process or even damage their reputation. I have made all of these mistakes at some point and I often remind myself to be careful about not repeating them again.

Sales Mistake #1 – Not Taking Time To Know Your Prospect

Countless number of people fall into this trap and repeatedly make this mistake. Have you run into people who connect with you on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn and the next thing you know is you receive a business proposal or a sales pitch on product from them? I don't know about you, but I feel like being spammed and immediately ignore them.

When you are selling, you are influencing other people to buy into your idea, your product or your service. You may not succeed in your mission if you don't know your audience. Somehow not everybody selling understands this fundamental and therefore a lot of spamming.

Whether online or in person, trying to sell without learning about your prospect, without doing your research about them, generally creates doubt and friction and a possible loss of sale. Just by doing this little homework, as a sales professional, you raise your level way above the average Joe who is running around trying to sell.

Sales Mistake #2 – Lack Of Self-Confidence

One of the most powerful sales techniques you can have is a strong belief in yourself. On the other hand, not having self-confidence is one of the most fatal mistakes of your sales career. This is mostly caused by two things:

  • Lack of conviction in the product or the service
  • Low self-esteem

Investing your time in your own personal development, reading positive mental attitude books, taking trainings on Attitude and Self-Image etc. can dramatically improve your confidence in yourself.

Similarly, taking time to gain knowledge about the products or services you plan to sell can dramatically improve your conviction. If your product or service is really beneficial to your prospects and you know what you are doing, you will never have low confidence. Try this!

Sales Mistake #3 – Failing To Connect With Your Prospect

Early in my business career I had to understand that people do not buy a great product because of its awesome features. They actually buy something because – they feel like that they need it.

Many sales professionals are so excited about their product that they forget to even ask if the prospect has any need for it. Instead, they keep talking about the great features of the product, how other people like it, etc. That is the biggest mistake in the sales process.

You need to connect with the prospect. Brian Tracy says,

If you can see Joe Jones through Joe Jones eyes, you can tell Joe Jones, what Joe Jones buys. [tweet this]

How do you do that?  Pay close attention to what they are saying. One of the most powerful technique to influence people, is the ability to ask good questions. Then, listening builds trust and credibility. The more you ask good questions and listen attentively to the answers, the more trust will you earn and your prospects will be more open to value your proposition.

Sales Mistake #4 – Giving Out Too Much Information

Napoleon Hill shared this story where Andrew Carnegie's mother walked into a store to purchase a small furnace. The salesman had great product knowledge and he knew what was best for the lady. Therefore, he enthusiastically told her everything about the product he knew – about energy efficiency and quality of construction, etc.
When he was done talking,  the woman politely asked, "But, will it keep a little old lady warm?"

In selling, giving out too much information hurts! Therefore, it is a great idea to learn to ask question, look for the need and restrict yourself to only provide the information that your prospects needs. The people who have the discipline to listen more and talk less, sell much more than those who don't.

Sales Mistake #5 – Not Asking For Sale

Doesn't it sound such a trivial mistake? But a large number of salespeople do not ask for a sale even after knowing that the prospect is impressed with them and their product. They assume that if they like the product, they will automatically buy it.


What I observed in my business career is, I must ask for sale specifically after every presentation in a non-threatening but confident manner. I can't just assume that the sale will automatically happen because I did a great presentation. In reality, sales doesn't happen without asking for the sale.

If you sell a product or service, you have the obligation to ask the customer for a commitment, particularly if you have invested time assessing their needs and know that your product or service will solve a problem for them.

The Greatest Of All Mistakes In Sales

While these mistakes and many others can be corrected. But the biggest mistake of all is to think that you are not a sales professional. Whether you are a student, a teacher, an IT professional, a network marketing entrepreneur, a doctor or anybody who needs to influence other people's decisions – You are in sales! You may want to refer to the blog post – Everyone Lives By Selling Something – Yes, You Too!

The principles of influence are universal and they applies to everybody. We all are selling something to somebody all the time and the sooner we accept that and work daily to improve ourselves, we all can make a huge positive difference in our lives and that of other people around us!

Question: In your experience, have you seen someone making some of these mistakes? Will you share your experience and also, what corrective actions do you suggest when it happens? Please share your thoughts in comments section now.

Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

7 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Javed

    “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.” ~Mel Brooks

    Very nice post Kumar. I have made most of these mistakes and I can
    easily relate to these. Especially I liked your story about the old
    lady. Great post! Thanks for sharing.


    •  Thanks Javed. Awesome quote! Thanks for sharing.

  2.  Thanks for such a nice post Kumar. Whether an employee or a businessman, I believe everyone can learn from this post and improve chances of success by not making the mistakes you have outlined in this post. Keep up the good work.

  3. Another great post, Kumar! 

    A mistake some inexperienced salespeople may be prone to making is not understanding or learning from their mistakes, and simply pressing on at that level of ignorance.

    It would be of enormous assistance to those who rush in for the sale, focused on their own needs… to take on a mentor who can provide them with the professional skills they need to improve upon, especially in the area of ATTITUDES and PUBLIC RELATIONS.  

    Communication skills are essential to connectivity.


    •  Thank you very much, Bill. Sales is a process of adding value to others. And those who understand this principle, get people to buy from them – all day long!

  4. Carol Minarcik

    Hello Kumar, Excellent Post.  Infact I plan to share it with my team.  This post in itself is a perfect getting started training as well.  I can tell you sure have great experience and I am sure your team loves you……Have a Great Day!

  5. I like that you used a quote said by Einstein, it can be applied not just in business but in life as well. I would say that we have not truly lived and see our potential to be great if we haven’t made a single mistake in our lives.

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.