5 Worst Selling Blunders You Should Avoid

source: http://loudounscene.com
source: http://loudounscene.com

Sometimes I think sales people don’t use common sense when they sell. Not to say that I have no faults of my own, but some of the worst selling blunders could be avoided by simply using basic logic.

So which one of these five selling pitfalls have you made in the past?

source; www.thenewadvocate.com
source; www.thenewadvocate.com

1. Making promises you can't keep

Don't you just hate it when someone tells you they will call and they don't? Now factor in variables like time, cost, value, and others that are important to you. Right, it’s irritating and not to mention unprofessional. Unfortunately promises are often broken. This is not your usual he-promised-to-call-me-after-our-date broken promise (though this is also important), but promises made by sales professionals. I think this is a common selling mistake that even professionals and seasoned veterans do. Making promises is short of guaranteeing something to clients. Of course guarantees and promises are good. But they’re only good if you can keep them.

Some Suggestions:

  • Stick to what you can absolutely deliver
  • Know your products and processes so you can give accurate information
  • Inform clients about any problems regarding your promise and APOLOGIZE! Don't make excuses and blame people or the company. You made the promise, you are accountable.

source; http://people-equation.com
source; http://people-equation.com

2. Selling, Selling, and Selling Some More

Too much talking and too much selling will drive clients away. Most clients simply want the headlines about your product. It’s a nice to know everything about the product but don’t be an annoying walking advertisement. Clients have specific needs to be ironed out and all they need to know if you can provide a solution. So center on that need and the rest of the products features become an added bonus. Instead of being a walking encyclopedia about your product, be a consultant.

Another important part of selling is LISTENING. I often tell sales professional to listen to what your clients are saying. Of course there is a sales presentation to complete. But here’s the thing, how can you provide what clients need if you don’t take the time to listen to their needs? More than the sales presentation, clients simply want to know how you can help them solve their needs (and wants). Be a problem solver, not an individual bound by presentations and scripts.

Some Suggestions:

  • Focus on key points of the product or the service - highlight whatever is relevant to the clients especially the product's benefits.
  • Allow the clients to ask about the product, your company and anything related to what you're selling
  • Listen to your client. This means being sensitive to both verbal and non-verbal cues.
  • Provide solutions rather than simply offering products

source: http://www.wutsamada.com
source: http://www.wutsamada.com

3. Lack of Knowledge

Whether it is about your product or your company’s processes make sure you know the basics. A good place to start is reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions if your company has one. If not, insist on having one or make your own. It’s is really irritating for the client to be entertained by someone who can not offer any valuable information. Of course what is valuable is subjective, so when it doubt, start with the basic info first.

The lack of knowledge of a sales person is not just irritating but insulting as well. Irritating since the person can’t provide important information. Insulting since clients may feel unimportant and unappreciated by having an incompetent, uninformed person assisting them. How would you feel if you were in their shoes?

So to all sales professionals out there: Learn, Learn, Learn and after all that Learn some more.

Some Suggestions:

  • Learn what the clients want to know. Moreover, provide it to them.
  • Choose the right information to give. Too much or too little will spell disaster. Moreover, jargons and too technical info will not impress them, it will just make your sales presentation more difficult to digest.
  • Read about your products, your company and your industry. Search the internet, newspapers, talk to other sales people, managers and even previous clients. It pays to have the latest information.
  • Listen to other sales representatives present or sell. Value the experience of others and put weight on the expertise of other successful sales people.

source; http://www.gapingvoid.com
source; http://www.gapingvoid.com

4. Giving Vague Answers

This is a corollary of the previous irritant. Some sales people have the habit of giving vague answers when they do not know how to respond to a client’s query. This is understandable in that no one wants to be called incompetent. So whip up some vague answer just to weasel out of a question. It’s understandable, but it is not acceptable! If you can not provide the answer then direct them to someone else who can. So how do you avoid this from happening? Simple, learn as much as you can about your product, service and the company. But don’t stop there; learn about the processes and everything that the client might want know. Start with the FAQs and work your way to more in-depth information.

Just to reiterate: Learn, Learn, Learn and after all that Learn some more.

Some Suggestions:

  • Ask someone to drill you with questions about your products, company and processes. This is where practice becomes handy.
  • Note every question you can't answer and learn the answer.
  • Prepare a list of possible questions from clients and research it even before you meet with them

source; http://sixminutes.dlugan.com
source; http://sixminutes.dlugan.com

5. Presenting Unprepared

Don’t make a fool of your self and try presenting without preparations. Unfortunately some are too brave enough (or downright stupid) to even try this. This is a rookie mistake but even seasoned professionals get into this trap. Presenting to a client is your chance to shine and highlight your product’s strengths. But this will be to no avail if you fail to prepare. Preparation goes beyond putting your sales kit together or packing your flyers. It includes knowing your clients more. Get as much information as you can. Even the simple knowledge of demographics can make a difference in your presentation. Clients want to know how they will benefit from you and your products. Be ready to provide details about this. A good practice is to write questions that they may ask you. Research and know all these before you go into battle. My dad often told us the key to preparing for a 10 item quiz is by knowing 100 things about the subject. Apart from the most common questions asked, you may have no idea what would pop up in your client’s mind. So the best tactic is to think of what you don’t know and study it. Preparing for a sales presentation is simply professionalism at its best.

Some Suggestions:

  • Research about your client - demographics, industry, competitors etc.
  • Provide facts not hearsay. Make sure you can substantiate every information.
  • Customize your presentation based on your client's profile and needs
  • Prepare a Plan B in case Plan A has problems. This means having both digital copies and hard copies of your presentation, preparing a pen and paper presentation or some other presentation strategy.
  • Know when to present. The right timing will help your clients remember you and choose you.

Avoiding these pitfalls can help you create better sales success. Come to think of it, these pitfalls can be remedied easily when people just use their common sense. This proves the fact that common sense is not so common after all.

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Comments 20 comments

Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia

excellent and useful info, thanks jpcmc. A good hub about selling.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Thanks fr reading the hub Christine. I'm glad you found it useful. I do hope I can write other hubs that will interest you.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California

Everybody writing for Hubpages could use some tips on salesmanship - or at least advertising. Good job here, dude. Later!

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Thanks Kosmo, I appreciate the kind words.

Natasha 5 years ago


Thank you for your blog. I recently moved from selling longterm insurance to selling vehicle insurance and it is quite an adaption. I really would like any info that can help me with this - please if you can help you can mail me at tashymorgan@gmail.com

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi there Natasha, although the you've moved to another type of insurance don't make the mistake of treating both as if they are the same. First of all, the clients are different and more importantly the reason behind why they want the insurance is different. That in itself is a huge factor in the way you will approach them.

Chesterton Wilde profile image

Chesterton Wilde 5 years ago from Quebec

everyone finds themselves selling something at one time or another so these are awesome tips to give a hand!

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello Chesterton Wilde. True, everyone sells whether it's a service, item or just an idea. Understanding how people see what you can offer is one thing, actually delivering what you say is another. Most successful sales people are those that understand the value of trust.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 4 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

Thank you so much for a very thoughtful and wise hub. Your approach is sound and your information is first-rate.

Cheers, Linda

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

I truly appreciate the kind words Linda.

Lisas-thoughts101 profile image

Lisas-thoughts101 4 years ago from Northeast Texas

I just hate selling...... but you are right.. we all are in the position of selling something at some point if nothing else but ourselves in a job interview. Thanks for the good tips. I am going to read your other hubs on the subject. Voted up and useful.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Good morning Lisas-thoughts101,

Yes, job interviews can be seen as selling one's self - the good way, not selling yourself that can land you in jail. LOL

I'm happy you like the hubs. I hope I can share more on this topic with you.

jacobspage profile image

jacobspage 4 years ago from Texas

Great tips, selling is all about possessing knowledge and confidence in your product. Without those two things people will see right through you.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello jacobspage,

It's really essential that one knows what he/she is selling. The more you know the better you can sell it. Thanks for reading and leaving your insights.

Anjili profile image

Anjili 4 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

Hi jpcmc,

Thanks for revealing some of the gaffes we make when selling products. Your list will go a long way towards reminding me of the DOs and DON'Ts of commerce. Our clients count most when it comes to what we take home. Thanks again for this cool share. Voted up

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Good to see you again Anjili,

How we present ourselves and conduct business is very important. We sell ourselves first more than just the product or service. Sad to say, many sales professionals fail to recognize the importance of selling properly. Great to see you again. Have a nice day.

carozy profile image

carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

What an excellent and helpful article. Voted up! :)

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hi there carozy,

Thank you for the kind words and the vote up. Selling is fun when we know what we are doing.

vnsatakopan profile image

vnsatakopan 4 years ago from Chennai, India

Very informative. However, not everyone can become a successful salesman just by reading instructions. Selling is like acting. These things have to come naturally. Very good hub and voted up.

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines Author

Hello vnsatakopan,

Selling is really like acting, it takes practice and one has to hone his skills. Just like acting, the set changes, technology advances and the audience change. Sales professionals need to recognize this in order to learn how to become better. Thank you for your kind words and your insights.

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