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SalesGrowth MD, Inc. | Denver/ Englewood, CO


We recently conducted a very un-scientific poll in one of our ongoing sales training classes. The topic of the poll was to identify the top sales 10 reasons for sales failure that they had personally experienced or had witnessed by other sellers.

 The list they came up with will be providing the next 10 weeks of subject matter for our class and one of the participants suggested it would also make for some good upcoming posts on LinkedIn. So, with the appropriate recognition and thanks to the class, here is the list they came up with.


  1. Selling to unqualified prospects- Salespeople often develop “happy ears” and see opportunity where none exists. The result appears in clogged pipelines, wasted time, and less time to sell to truly qualified prospects.
  2. Fear of money conversations- Many sales reps have “head trash” when it comes to dealing with money. There are many ways this can impact a sale but resorting to the “me too for less” approach of selling is certainly a deadly one.
  3. Too much talking- One of my favorites, this is the dreaded “telling isn’t selling” syndrome and the results are ALWAYS sub-optimal.
  4. High Pressure-Verbal Assault- This is really just a more “salesy” and obnoxious version of “too much talking.” While the results of talking too much are sub-optimal, the results of this approach are catastrophic!
  5. Lack of rapport- People buy from people they like and trust. Failure to establish enough “likeability” can doom the selling process before it even gets started.
  6. No selling plan- If you don’t know where you are going how will you know when you get there? Most of us in sales have experienced what amounted to a “conversation of good intent” when we met with a client, talked for an hour,  and nothing much was accomplished.
  7. Afraid of getting a no- No one likes to hear no but being comfortable with no as a positive outcome is important. Amazing how people that are okay with no actually hear yes a lot more often because they are devoting time to prospects that are a good fit.
  8. Too much or not enough follow up- With apologies to the 3 Little Bears finding the right balance between ignoring prospects and stalking them is a critical skill.
  9. Not in a peak mental and/or emotional state- Salespeople that cannot separate themselves emotionally from the sale or bring their own baggage into the sales meeting will never be as successful as sellers who remain emotionally neutral.
  10. Working hard but not smart- This is a roll up of several previous fails combined. Sellers that fall into this category are chasing the wrong prospects, doing the wrong behaviors, and pretty much reacting instead of pursuing well-defined goals.

In the coming months I will write posts dedicated to each of these fails and I encourage input from readers with thoughts on any of these topics.

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