Sales: avoidable Mistakes and often underrated hacks

Sales is a decisive element, especially in the B2B environment, and often the bottleneck for a scalable business model.

You will read in this article how to use sales in your right target audience as a power channel. Understand also, what mistakes you should avoid. 

What is sales and why do I need it customer centric?

I often imagine a seller as a pushing and rather annoying agent literally forcing me to buy a vacuum cleaner his company produces. People, who go door to door, do cold calling and somehow manage to bamboozle some clients here and there. 
Eventually, I ask myself: How can sales go with a steady success rate and how can this sales strategy be deployed bringing the added value to both B2B and B2C?
We all actually want to have people buying in a most free willing, eager and carefree fashion via Skype or by telephone instead of persistently convincing them to do so. It speaks for a mature sales concept and draws the line between good sales and bad sales.

That is what Sales is all about

Okay, sale begins when a sales representative is trying to tease out a piece of information from a potential customer that would give the salesman the idea about customer’s problem or desires. Subsequently, this dialogue helps his vis-à-vis to understand how their problem can or is going to be resolved. A salesman often demonstrates it with relevant examples from his practice, in other words, he provides some trustworthy evidence. Our seller makes a convincing offer and completes it with a specific, yet very discreet, advice calling a customer to action.

Some memorable episodes from The Wolf of Wall Street actually illustrate this concept so accurately. While a typical salesman is willing and persistent in embellishing the advantages of their product or service, the true seller finds the way to lead his customer to recognition of the need in the product himself.

Sales facts and figures

sales facts cold calls

According to Charlie Cook almost no cold calls (meaning, calls without prior introduction) lead to any further steps in the sales process.

Almost a half of salesreps give up already after a first follow-up. A bigger success rate requires about 4 or 5 Follow-Ups after the initial contacts.

sales facts sales reps
sales fact answer

Speed pays off. From roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of winning salesreps are those who respond first (source: (Quelle: Propeller).

4 mistakes in sales you better avoid

You talk too much

When at the negotiation table, remember, silence is your best friend. Salesreps can sometimes get overly imposing thus talking themselves out of a deal: the prospect client is almost there, he is almost bought-in and ready to discuss specific terms, but our excited rep keeps going … and going …. They accidentally plant a doubt seed into the buyer’s mind. If you find yourself a bit too chatty while attempting to close a deal, just remind yourself: no one has ever lost a deal by listening carefully.

You forget to plan the next step

So, you have just had an awesome conversation or call. And? If you are closing your conversation with something hazy like “maybe we could discuss our next steps someday next week?” you should know you’re losing now some really valuable opportunity. Instead, try to be more precise and clear as to what the next step will be. 

You’ve just made a positive telephone call and had an exciting conversation with a nice prospect. And where do you go from here? Take out your calendar and make an appointment or agree on a precise date and hour when you call back and close the coveted deal.

You don’t listen

It should be more than obvious that you care for and acting in the best interest of your customer. Nevertheless some sales executives make a mistake by dedicating all the time of the dialogue to praising their product or service. 

What is more valuable is to listen attentively to your prospect buyer when you have a feeling that the situation is conducive for finally closing a deal. Don’t let the insightful questions be forgotten, ask them to your customer, show that you care and you sell a solution.

Shooting a presentation too early

Many sales representatives and also entrepreneurs tend to show the potential customer everything they have at the beginning of their presentation: what their product or service is made of and what the business has to offer. 

But this moment all the wad is shot, you’ve spitted out everything you had and now the response that you will likely get is something blurred like “we will think about it and call you back”, which means, you’ve most likely lost the client. You cannot proceed to sales before you ask a series of insightful questions to discover the issues and goals of your client and their business.

Want to discover potential sales contacts?

Find opportunities for your sales via this simple search tool on LinkedIn, Xing, twitter and Google for Jobs. 

Customer Radar Hero Image

Sales positioning in terms of marketing initiatives

sales funnel

Sales in the entire funnel

If we take a look at the entire marketing and sales funnel, we’ll see that the activities belonging to sales are positioned between the middle and the bottom area of the funnel.

Here the emphasis is made on the activities that encourage potential customers to understand not only their own situation but also the attractiveness of the solution that your product/service offers. It happens closer to the bottom part of the funnel, where conversion turns into a purchase and later develops valuable loyalty to your company.

Immediate impact vs sustainability

The use of measures of direct sales typically creates a stronger buying stimulus as compared to some longer channels like performance marketing for promotional purposes.

As compared to very long-term effective channels as, for instance, search engine optimization (SEO), sales have much shorter reverberation.

sales impact sustainability
sales portfolio

Classification in the channel portfolio

When you draw up your portfolio of channels and activities, you’ll see that sales typically function as a very well-aimed spear. You can address your prospect clients directly with the enhanced precision by using inbound actions like emails or content marketing.

This channel produces its best result when complemented by both long-lasting and medium-term channels.

4 often underrated sales tips and hacks

Get access to the decision makers

When it comes close to a sales situation, most companies set their buyers in front position. However, these are not the people who make the ultimate buying decision. So, if you want to save energy and precious time, do your best to avoid gatekeepers and try to get directly to a decision maker. In case of doubt, the ball will return from up there but already landing in the hands of a right person in the company. But, anyway, with this other person you’ll have another standing if this is the one who was delegated by their superiors to sit down with you and talk. So, go and talk. Do your best job. Just like in Sinatra’s famous son New York, New York “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere”.

Work for the Disqualification

The biggest problem of many sales reps is that they overload their pipelines with bad deals. It causes the loss of precious time not only to them but to their customers as well. Instead, apply a precise search for your right customers, the customers whose problems you can resolve with the highest probability. This is your sweet spot. This si the only decisive criteria for your success in targeting clients.

Referral Blitz maneuver

Involve your customers into “Blitz action for company recommendation”. Call your clients and ask them to, in the course of a brief talk, to give you a referral. Everyone who has a part in this action shares valuable energy and clients are always willing to help sales professionals if they love sales rep’s work, if clients are satisfied with a solution you provided for their need.

Deal-Closing Tip

Ask the following question as a suave close: “[Name], on a scale from 1 to 4, where „4“ would be „very likely“, how likely is the possibility for us to close the deal?” If you hear anything but „4” ask your vis-a-vis why they gave exactly this evaluation and do ask what you can do to change the odds.

Sales come down to these key figures

Missed Sales Opportunities

A missed sales opportunity occurs when a lead (a potential customer) is not contacted. The aim is to bring the number of missed opportunities to a minimum.

Formula: (not contacted opportunities / total number of opportunities) * 100

Example: (5 not contacted / 100 opportunities) * 100 = 5%


BANT has long become a commonly applied and easy-to-understand method for qualifying leads.
So, we are speaking about an acronym that stands for BudgetAuthorityNeed and Timing, the elements that a Sales Rep has to find out about in the course of a conversation with a potential customer. Do they have the money to spend? Do they have the authority to make the purchase? Does the lead have an urgent problem? Is the time right for a purchase?

Value, Stakeholder, Pain, Compelling Event

Some sales teams have adopted another form of BANT.
Instead of Budget they care for Value, instead of Authority they feel like Stakeholders, Need has switched to Pain and Timing is replaced by Compelling Event.

Get going

Sales is a precisely focused tool which is aimed at picking a customer, who is already there paying attention to what you offer, at the best timed moment. If we position sales in the marketing funnel, it will sit in the middle down to a potential client’s conversion into an actual client.
When you make an effort and do not speak only about yourself but listen to your vis-à-vis carefully instead and encourage them by asking them right questions, then you will have people buying happily.

And now: When selling, target quality instead of quantity and save your own time and the precious time of your customer.

About Me

As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience every day how important customer centricity is for companies.

Integrate the essential customer perspective into your product genesis and marketing processes. That puts horse powers on the street, until it runs.


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