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7 Reasons Why Salespeople Fail

7 Reasons Why Salespeople Fail

Salespeople are the ambassadors, the face of your enterprise. Their ability determines the impression of your company. When they fail, it reflects poorly on both your company and brand and impacts the financial performance of the company.

To help in understanding when salespeople fail and how to be on the lookout in order for us to correct the situation, we have collected seven red flags – there are more, but by working on these you can go a long way to helping ensure that the salespeople are working as effectively as possible.

  1. No listening skills

Salespeople are often measured by how well they pitch–but active listening is probably one of the most underrated sales skills. Unfortunately, it’s one that many reps fail to develop.

The price of poor listening is many lost selling opportunities.

  1. Don’t understand value-based selling

Giving value is the key to getting the trust of our customers and prospects. However, the concept of creating and giving value is lost on many sales reps.

Prospects need to know that you understand their business challenges and that your product or service helps overcome those problems. This is the heart of value-based selling.

  1. Waiting for the huge client

If someone likes to complain, they’ll never run out of material. In sales, there are all kinds of excuses: the leads are bad, the industry is not in a good place right now, now is a bad buying season.

Some salespeople do not give a hoot to “small” prospects and spend their time daydreaming about that one huge prospect that they always think will be closed on this call. Sometimes it happens, often it doesn’t.

Be on the lookout for salespeople who are beginning to adopt this attitude. Keep them grounded and focused on the team’s goal; a goal that is achieved by a series of wins and not a lottery win.

  1. Don’t deliver on promises

Following through is vital in sales. If you tell a prospect you’ll call them before the weekends, do that. Promising and not delivering is one of the quickest ways to sour your relationship with a prospect. The practice of consistently doing what was promised is in every successful salesperson’s arsenal.

  1. Don’t make the second contact

It would be nice if most prospects said yes during the first touch, but that’s just very far from the truth. Only 2% of closed deals happen at the first call or meeting. The majority of successful transactions are a result of the gradual build-up of trust across several touches.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons behind the failure to follow-up. Salespeople may be afraid to appear pushy; sometimes they just don’t think it’s that important. Others haven’t been trained to do so, or just think a prospect will reach out if ever they want to finally purchase.

No matter the reason, not following up is leaving money on the table.

  1. Not enough support

Salespeople need support to be successful. Tools, training, coaching–all these are part of a support system that enables reps to reach and smash quotas. Without support, salespeople spend less time selling and more time dealing with tweaking processes and adjusting execution.

Of course, the sales team still holds ownership of their goals. However, without proactive help from sales operations, their managers, and trainers, reps’ growth will be stunted and they won’t develop skills required to solve unique sales problems.

  1. Poor attitude

According to Sandler Training, a salesperson’s underperformance is rarely due to external factors. “The majority of them don’t lose because of product inferiority, pricing excesses or poor sales technique. They lose because of low self-esteem!”

The most successful salespeople are those who are confident–they believe in themselves and in their chosen profession. They take pride in helping clients ease and overcome their challenges.


Closed deals don’t come easily; that’s for sure. Everyone in the team must be willing to put in the work. Be on the lookout for these problems in your sales organization and nip them right in the bud. It’s best to arrest bad habits, traits, and practices before they balloon and blow up.


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