Melissa Chen Coaching

Sales Hacking: The Top Sales Mistakes to Avoid


The rise of digital technology and the age of the Internet has seen a paradigm shift in sales.

The centerpiece of the exchange is no longer focused on the product or service being offered, but on the customer’s specific needs and how to offer the best-customized solution at the best price to address a customer’s pain points.


The shift in focus from product to customer demands a parallel shift in how sales reps and service providers engage with customers. The old notion of being able to sell anything to anybody has gone by the wayside, as has the idea that a certain product is a must-have. In this article, we’ll shine the spotlight on four common mistakes that sales reps and service providers are making in the modern sales environment, along with tips and tricks on how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Learning Enough About the customer

As mentioned above, the breed of salesperson still exists who thinks he or she could sell ice to Eskimos in the dead of winter.

That kind of confidence is impressive, perhaps even admirable, but it also shows signs of arrogance and being a poor listener.
Customers can come from websites, social media, emails, coupons, flyers, online reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and plain old walk-ins. That same variety gives salespeople the unique opportunity to gather a ton of data about the prospective customer before they ever say “hello.”
A quick Google search can provide you details on a client’s age, job, where they live, what income level they’re at, and a half dozen other pieces of information that you can use in your conversation.
Not only that, but the more you learn about them through research, the less of their time – and their interest level – you have to waste asking those same repetitive questions.
When you do get in that face-to-face, or at least computer-to-computer conversations, ask what problem you can help them solve and use your ears way more than your mouth. When people are looking for solutions, they’re going to want to give you all the details to help you help them. Be of the mindset that you’re helping someone solve a problem, not trying to make as big of a sale as possible to earn your bonus.

Mistake #2: Not Reading Expressions Correctly and Failing to Ask the Right Questions.

The sales and service industry is no longer just about handshakes and rattling off the technical specs of a product to dazzle the potential customer with your knowledge.
For starters, the Internet will allow a smart customer to access the exact same set of specs you’ve memorized, significantly deteriorating your position as the subject matter expert. Psychology and empathy are far more important these days. Learning to read expressions, body language, and emotions is a huge addition to your prowess as a salesperson.
Does the customer seem nervous about asking questions?
Put them at ease by letting them know that you’re nervous when you go into an unfamiliar store as well.
Are they at wit’s end because other service providers have failed to meet their expectations?
Take the problem from the beginning and make no assumptions about what their pain points or specific situation might be.
Patience can be one of your most effective weapons when dealing with a frustrated client. Remember as well that most customers can see through scripted questions. We all hear them so many times when talking to telemarketers or customer service reps on the phone – so don’t get caught reciting your lines.
Instead, listen for tell-tale emotional cues and context that allow you to respond in kind. Don’t ask yes/no questions, use words that keep the client talking to help you understand exactly what they’re looking for.

Mistake #3: Failure to Properly Prospect and Qualify

By the time you’re engaged in a real conversation with a genuine customer, you’re getting closer and closer to closing the deal. But qualified buyers don’t just fall from the sky, even in the digital age where the Internet connects about 60% of the world population.

When salespeople fail to find the right type of person to sell to, they waste their own time, the company’s money, and send its revenue projections sliding down.

The first step is finding leads. To turn a lead into a prospect involves the salesperson qualifying them as such. That is no more complicated a process than asking the questions and extracting the information that lets you know if the customer has both the desire and ability to buy the product or service.

Having one but not the other might be enough to keep them in the system as a long-term possibility, but having both gets them the immediate upgrade to prospect. A problem many salespeople have is that they automatically assume because someone has clicked a web ad or like a social media post, that they are ready to make a purchase. The lack of following through on the qualification process is a sore point that leads to a lot of hours wasted.

Mistake #4: Failure to Properly Close a Sale

When some salespeople think they smell a sale, they act like sharks in the water, circling closer and closer ready to snatch up the payment and put another checkmark on their monthly quota sheet.

This line of thinking is a disservice to the fundamental truth of what sales represent to a customer – making an informed decision and having faith in the company to deliver on its promise.

Every consumer has purchases they don’t think twice about – groceries, gas, their favorite morning treat from the local coffee bar. But when the stakes are higher and the sales process more involved, customers weigh their options more significantly and are known to back out altogether if even the slightest thing seems amiss.

Building trust is a vital cog in the sales wheel. Customers rarely give their business to salespeople or companies who have not earned their trust.

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A lot of that comes from honest answers to their questions, from building rapport, and from letting the sales process evolve at the client’s pace. When all desired information has been given, only then is it time to present the customer with the need for a decision.

Reframe their opening pain points, describe how the product or service your company provides can solve those problems, break down the price as needed to make it more palatable, and put the power in the customer’s hand.


Being pushy is a thing of the past. Trying to rush a client into a quick sale is foolhardy in the era where their smartphones can find them prices better or equal to yours at a dozen nearby locations. The key to sales is to value the customer, hear the customer, and guide them towards the best possible solution every time.

What do you do to show your customer value?

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