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5 Common Selling Mistakes And How Not to Sound Too ‘Salesy’

How to Sell Better? Honestly, prospects are sick of receiving those emails where you address them as ‘dear/friend’. They are also tired of downloading good-for-nothing white papers and attending non-productive webinars. It’s time for you to stop making these common selling mistakes.

Your prospects have had enough of sales! They want value; they need experience. But that is what I am trying to do, you may say.

As a salesperson or a marketer, you may not realize when you cross the thin line between selling and pushing your product/service into the prospect’s face. And, that’s exactly when you make the wrong selling decisions.

Your best sales tactic may be the biggest ‘pain in the neck’ for your prospects. No! That can’t be true for me – if this is something you just thought, let’s give you a reality check.

We’ll talk about common selling mistakes that make you ‘too salesy’, and if even one of these rings a bell, go ahead and read ‘The Way Around’ to understand how to sell better.

5 Common Selling Mistakes You Need to Avoid 

1. Your Sales Talk Starts and Ends with ‘We’, “Our Product”, “My Team” etc.

Your sales pitch makes all the difference. When it is a product that you wish to sell, it is obvious that you will talk about it. However, if your entire talk is about the product then you will lose out on the customer’s interest. Does your talk include only the features of the product that you offer?

You need to help the customer discover the fact that they need your product. Talking about benefits isn’t enough. You begin to get boring and appear as someone desperate to make a sales pitch. You don’t want to be the David’ who called Jill Harrington to ‘help him generate leads for his business but had no clue about Jill’s business or the challenges he was facing.

common selling mistakes

The Way Around 

A talk focused on the product can be acceptable if it is a solution to the customer’s problems. So make sure your pitch makes the customers feel that buying your product can make a difference in their lives.

As a salesperson, to avoid the most common selling mistakes, you need to listen more and talk. This not only helps you earn buyers’ trust, it also gives insights that you can use to personalize your messaging and recommend the right solution.

In case you feel challenged to stay quiet during a sales call, here are few tricks you can use – Keep a note handy that reads W.A.I.T (Why Am I Talking). HubSpot sales rep Gary Valenti uses this technique too!

You can also press the mute button once you’ve asked a question on a sales call. Also, ask one question at a time. This helps prospects process your question and give better insights, and gives you the time to modify your time of inquiry. Speaking less is tough but if you have an intent to listen, it isn’t as challenging.

2. You’re Agenda-Driven, Not Customer-Centric

You are a pushy salesperson if your one-point agenda is to sell the product. There is no connection between you and the customers. You don’t want to add value to them. You keep sending them long email trails, entice them with free downloads or webinars, or point them to resources to read. But they still won’t convert.

Why? Because none of this has been done with the customer in mind. Did you find out if the customer has time for your emails? Or if they want to read those lengthy resources?

The Way Around 

Sales are about being sensitive to the needs of the customer. Show a genuine interest in their requirements and try to solve their problems earnestly. Your product should be able to solve the problem that the customers are dealing with. If you really feel like creating resources, create meaningful ones.

VenturePact, a SaaS platform, had to find a way to answer their prospects’ biggest question – how much does it cost to build a mobile app. Instead of pointing them to boring resources, they created an interactive calculator. The tool got them more than 11K qualified leads.

common selling mistakes

common selling mistakes

3. Your Claims are, Well, Just Claims

One of the most common selling mistakes that salespeople make involve making big false claims.

Well, your job requires you to do so. After all, you have to make your product look better than the competition. Thus, you use flamboyant presentations that include reviews and quotes from satisfied clients.

However, none of this seems true to the customers and they often waive off such baseless claims.

The Way Around

Nothing works better than numbers and statistics to prove the success of the product. Include such data in your presentation because it can be verified. To gain the customers’ trust, use endorsements from public figures (influencers) instead of big words. There should be proof of what you are saying.

Take Starbucks for instance. Not that they need any advertising at this point in their journey, but stars moving around with a Starbucks cup in their hand re-emphasizes the ‘cool’ factor of the brand.

Case studies, testimonials, and product reviews may come in handy. Product reviews are 12-times more trusted than sales copies from manufacturers. Everything you say/show should be backed by proof. Google Chrome’s ad promotes how fast it is. It says, ‘even the fastest computers need 45 seconds to start and that is enough to make a sandwich!

4. You’re Using Generic Pitches

Nothing sounds more hollow than empty promises. If you have promised your customers that you will send them a customized pitch, you better send them. A generic brochure cannot replace it and paints a poor picture. Stick to your one-track sales pitch and you will surely sound more ‘in your face’ than persuasive.

The Way Around

Be proactive in your approach especially when making a sales pitch. If your client wishes some customized information, you cannot ignore it. According to a 2014 study by Qvidian, salespeople often lose deals because they haven’t customized their content to their buyer’s needs. You need to take that extra effort to collect the required data and send to him just what he wants.

One great way to ensure customization is to include interactive content. You can choose from the various types of interactive content such as quizzes, calculators, surveys, chatbots, etc. to answer your prospects’ questions rightfully.

For example, we this ROI calculator to help our prospects figure out the return on their investment with Outgrow. Aren’t we awesome?

ROI of using Outgrow

5. Your Sales Call/Pitch Doesn’t Resemble a Story

As a salesman, it is important to tell a story, one which the customers will relate to. Merely selling a product is not enough – especially where the future sales are in question. Stories, whether about the brand or the product or a customer who’s used the product and felt the change, touch an emotional chord with people. When told like a story, customers can relate to the humane part.

The Way Around

The sales pitch will work wonders if a story is woven into the narrative. Bru, for example, tells about the coffee grower who works relentlessly to ensure that the best coffee beans are delivered to the company.

According to author Erik Luhrs, “In sales situations, stories allow the subconscious mind of the prospect to truly ‘get’ and see the valuable application of the solution.”


Selling is more of an art and less of a gimmick. The sooner you get creative with your sales ideas and focus on adding value, the more deals you’ll close. Now, you know how you can sell better by avoiding the most common selling mistakes. Make sure you follow our tips (and our social media handles, duh). Check out the best lead generation tactics below!

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