Avoid These 5 Sales Pitfalls And Try These Selling Techniques Instead

If you are new to the sales industry, here are five common pitfalls you want to avoid.

Salespeople at young startups face unique challenges in comparison to their corporate colleagues. Some sales teams may have to draw up selling techniques and strategies from scratch, while others may have to constantly adapt their existing process based on industry or company factors. These sales individuals are the true supermen and women of the office as they must be strong and resourceful enough to achieve high revenue growth in a crowded or niche marketplace.

If you just completed sales training courses or are transitioning into the sales industry from a different career, you may have a lot of questions regarding best practice sales techniques. To hit the ground running and succeed, make sure to avoid these top five sales pitfalls: 


Everyone loves a challenge, but if you're spending most of your time trying to win over hesitant or noncommittal leads, you're simply fighting a losing battle. Instead of constantly seeking out new, long-shot potential clients, consider investing in older leads who have previously expressed interest, but may have fallen to the wayside. Cultivate these businesses or individuals to build up a strong client base.

Another reason you may be chasing down impossible leads is because you're relying on bad lead information.  DiscoverOrg’s study revealed that sales and marketing departments lose an estimated 550 hours or up to $32,000 a sales rep from using bad-quality data. Bad data happens more frequently than you might think, and much of the problem is due to poor data hygiene. For example, 25 to 33 percent of email addresses become outdated every year. 40 percent of email users switch up their address once every two years, while 15 percent do so once or more a year. Even at an organizational level, 21 percent of CEOs change each year, while 60 percent of people transition to new positions within their company. With these figures in mind, you should clean up your lead database, especially for contact information that is over a year or two old.

[bctt tweet="Stop chasing down impossible #leads. Practice good #data hygiene to capture the right ones. " username="StartupInst"]


You might truly believe in the product or service you sell. There's also nothing wrong with thriving off the high of landing an important sale. What you do need to watch out for, however, is forgetting to listen to the people you are selling to. Talking someone's ear off is not the best way to convey a sense of need or urgency for your product or service. Instead, try to take a step back and start listening to your clients' needs, not just telling them what you think they should hear.

"The research is clear: In successful calls, the buyer is talking more than the seller," Richard Ruff, co-founder of Sales Horizons in Phoenix, told Yesware. "Listening has received less of an emphasis. But it's a big deal because when you listen, you can genuinely understand what matters to the customer — so that when you talk about the product, you are positioning your product in terms of what matters to them. Selling value is what it's about — and selling value is still the key to success in selling."

People will get more confused if you overtalk your product or service, or burden them with too much information. It’s unlikely that they will become customers if they feel overwhelmed by an endless showcase of data and features. While you need to listen, you also must learn how to be concise and clear when it is your turn to share. Try to get them excited - but just don't overdo it with technical or complex jargon.


Your clients may be used to an endless parade of salespeople trying to convince them to buy their products or services. Features and prices are important factors in any potential sale, but they should not be your primary goal. Don't make the mistake of only selling potential customers on what your product can do. Rather, show them how your company can fulfill a need in their life or at their organization.

[bctt tweet="Features and prices are primary factors in any #sale, but they shouldn't be the focus. " username="StartupInst"]

Essentially, show them how your product or service is a solution to their problem. Narrow down your sales presentations to the top three problems your product and service could solve for your clients. This takes careful research beforehand, but will pay off in the end because the clients will notice how hard you worked to personalize your pitch to their unique requirements or issues.


Overselling is a common trap many salespeople fall into. It happens when your prospects are already highly interested in your product or service after your initial pitch. Even though it seems like they are ready to sign on the dotted line, you keep selling to them in an effort to really lock down the deal.

The more you try to win over prospects who are already convinced, the more likely it is that they're going to run in the other direction. Learn when it is time to back off and let the potential clients take control of the conversation. Let them ask questions or even let you know that they are ready to buy. Once you give them a little breathing room, they will be ready to think seriously about your offer.


One of the hardest parts of the job is closing a sale. After you make your pitch, wrap up your presentation and answer your prospect’s questions, it's closing time. When finishing up your sale, try not to make it too easy for them. If they don't feel any sense of urgency to make a decision, they will walk away and likely not call you back or make a definite decision. Turn up the pressure just a little bit to get them on board.

On the other hand, you don't want to be too pushy. Try to avoid filling the silence, especially if it seems like they are seriously thinking about buying your products or services. If they are on the fence, you don't want to hastily ask them what they're thinking or if they're ready. Simply wait for them to let you know what their decision may be. They will appreciate your willingness to hash out the various benefits with them, along with your lack of pushiness.  

According to HubSpot, you want to use questions, not declarative statements, to keep the closing process moving. For example, don't tell you tell your prospect, "I would love to meet up on Wednesday," or start any sentence with "Maybe we can..." Instead, ask them direct questions, such as "Can we meet Wednesday afternoon?" Your potential clients can then only tell you yes or no, and you will get a strong indication of their willingness to continue with the sale by putting the ball in their court, so to speak.