One of the biggest sales mistakes you can make is assume your problem is in closing the sale. This mistake could easily top a top 5 sales mistakes list. First, though, imagine, the restaurant manager in a hotel complaining, “We are not closing our walk-in guests. They come, sit down, but somehow after ordering they don’t buy.” Absurd? Well, we’ll come back to that shortly.

Biggest sales mistake

Now closing is getting agreement by the customer to purchase your product or service. This could either be by signing the contract, giving an LPO or paying cash. This latter one is, of course, the conclusive close. Anyway, as I was saying, while there are other sales mistakes, one of the biggest ones you can make when selling, is this. Assume that your problem is not in prospecting, pitching, negotiating or handling objections, but only closing. Especially, if you sell through conversion. This is where this is a common closing sales mistake. 

Now then. The request that, “I just need you to train my people to close” would be a typical manifestation of this biggest sales mistake. “We have no problem prospecting; in fact we are inundated with prospects. We have no problem with sales lead generation and we don’t make mistakes with setting sales targets. The problem is we don’t close enough. I need the team to convert more than the 2 in 10 they currently are.” This is a common sales mistake and its makers should borrow a leaf from the hospitality industry.

Mistakes of sales people

As I was saying, imagine, the restaurant manager in a hotel lamenting, “We are not closing our walk-in patrons. They come, sit down, but somehow after ordering they don’t buy.” Your immediate response to this will not be, “Something is wrong with how your waiters sell, will it? You will likely say, “Something must be wrong with the service the walk-ins (prospects) receive.” And you would be right. The same happens with online sales. It is your (customer) experience shopping there that will determine whether you will get to the shopping cart, let alone buy.

Now before you dismiss these two as incomparable, to say, selling loans, coffins, moving services, land or such other industry that sells through conversion, think about it. The hotel is in the business of converting contacts (walk-ins, whom they call guests or patrons by the way) into sales, yes? And they do this, not through selling, but serving! And therein lies the problem. A significant reason why you are at 2 out of 10 in conversions is likely because you focus more on selling than serving (service)

One of the biggest sales mistakes

Sales mistakes examples

For instance, the unsaid part of, “I need the team to convert more,” also includes, “I’m pushing the team but they are not just converting (closing) more.” Does that sound to you like sales, or service language? Pushing and service used in the same sentence can lead to fatal sales mistakes. Like the guest who leaves after ordering. Something you may have done yourself, because the order took too long, the food arrived cold, the waiter was rude or dirty, you could smell the ponging toilet from where you were seated, or something about the service, not the sale, put you off!

Sales mistakes and how to avoid them

This is akin to the salesperson transferring the pressure to close more from the manager to the potential customer and thereby sending out sales, not service, vibes. 5 missed calls today, 4 WhatsApp messages tomorrow and 3 reminder emails the day after, is not service. It’s not even selling. It is harassment. The prospect feels pushed, badgered. ‘You don’t care about me’ he feels. ‘For all you know I’d lost my phone or a loved one and hence my silence.’ It is good to know how to say, “I made a mistake” and hopefully recover the sale, but it is better to avoid making one of the biggest sales mistake by sales reps-selling, instead of serving, your way to a close.

What are service (sales?) questions

Serving your way to a close is among the most effective sales techniques especially when selling through conversion and can be bolstered via permission selling. For instance, “Would you like a drink?” is a full sales pitch sandwiched in full service. And notice it’s a cross-sell because it’s asked after the first sale was made when you answered the question, “What would you like to order, Sir?” So, instead of asking, “What went wrong with the sale” perhaps the question should be what went wrong with the service?”

As I’ve said before, and this is easily the number 1 rule in sales, selling is giving a service and giving a service is selling and in the business of selling through conversion it’s an artful balancing act.


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