The toughest part of sales is getting on the phone with a prospect for the first time. Even worse — having bad sales calls.

Whether you are cold calling or warm calling prospects, the way you deliver your presentation has a huge impact on how your prospects perceive you. Even one small mistake can crush your probability of winning over the prospect and the deal. But when you do it right, you are a step away from building a healthy sales pipeline.

Here are 7 crucial mistakes salespeople make during sales calls, and how you can avoid making them.

bad sales calls

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Reading from a Script

bad sales calls

Using a call script is perfectly alright, but aimlessly following it is a complete no-no.

As a regular part of sales prospecting, you’re given a list of questions to ask your prospects. But when you are just reading from it, the entire sales process feels like an interrogation, making the prospect uneasy and defensive.

What you should do: Write down the questions you want to ask and what you want to say to your prospects. Then practice and rehearse it until it naturally flows out of your mouth. The script acts as a reference, and you can keep improving it as you make more calls. When you talk to prospects, spread your questions throughout the conversation in a balanced, natural way.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Multitasking During the Call

bad sales calls

One of the biggest challenges salespeople face today is falling into the distraction trap. Push notifications and text messages from your mobile, and multiple tabs on laptop — your sales CRM, inbox, prospect’s website, LinkedIn — all vying for your attention.

No doubt, you need them all, but with so many distractions around you, it disturbs the flow of conversation and increases the number of pauses and filler words. This gives a sense to the prospect that you aren’t fully listening and concerned about their needs.

What you should do: Switch off your mobile or turn it to silent mode; minimize the browser or open only your CRM software with the prospect’s details in a new window. This helps you concentrate on the conversation and answer all the prospect’s questions, showing them that you are actively listening to their needs and will provide the best possible solution.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Bad Mouthing About Your Competition

bad sales calls

When prospects mention competitors, it’s tempting to badmouth about them. But never, ever do that. If you do so, you either come across as jealous or vindictive or both.

What you should do:  Find out if there is competition early in the sales cycle. This gives you ample time to diffuse their offers. When you point out the competitor’s weakness, do so by subtly representing how you might do it a bit “differently” and let the prospects draw their conclusions.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Giving a Blind Quote

bad sales calls

When prospects ask for a quote before knowing the value, most rookie salespeople oblige. And after that, they hear nothing from the prospect in spite of repetitive phone calls and emails. If a prospect insists on a quote without listening to the value, you are encountering a “column fodder” or someone who is just fishing for information.

If a prospect insists on a quote without listening to the value, you are encountering a “column fodder” or someone who is just fishing for information. Share on X

What you should do: Refuse to give the quote but politely and professionally.

Rep: “We have pricing plans for different business sizes. So before I give you a quote, I would like to understand your business challenges better. This will help me provide an appropriate solution and price.”

Chances are the prospect will cut you off, but it’s alright to let go as you’re only wasting your time.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Failing to Initiate Next Steps

bad sales calls

If a sales call went great and the prospect is genuinely interested, but you close by saying, “I’ll get back to you shortly,” or “I’ll send you some more information, and we can connect again,” you’ve already lost the deal. Closing a call in this manner to a potential buyer creates uncertainty.

What you should do: Have ample time to outline the next steps in the buying process to the prospect.

Rep: “It usually works for me if we set up status calls every week to ensure we are moving in the right direction. To start with, I would recommend we have a demo around your needs you described today. How are you placed tomorrow?”

Once your prospect has agreed upon the progress of the deal, send over a calendar invite immediately after the call so that the prospect will be prepared and available for the next conversation.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Pretending You Know Something You Don’t

bad sales calls

When a prospect asks for a feature that isn’t in the pipeline, most salespeople over promise but often fail to deliver. This damages not only your credibility but also your company’s reputation.

What you should do: It’s alright to be completely honest and say, “I’ll get back to you on that,” if you don’t know the answer or just say, you don’t know. But provide a creative and factual rationale as to why your product does not have the feature. Never lie and never say, we can’t do that, or that is not important to prospects.

Bad Sales Calls Mistake: Ignoring Objections

bad sales calls

Picture this scenario:

Rep: “Hi Andrew, I’m Jake calling from Acme Inc., and I’d like to talk to you about how you handle customer support today.”

Prospect: “Well, I don’t have the time.”

Rep: “OK, I understand it’s not a good time. I have helped Companies Y, and Z increase their customer support response by 50% and I can help you achieve…”

Prospect: [Hangs up]

What happened? Even though the prospect objected to the call, the sales rep launched into a pitch, making it clear that the salesperson wasn’t listening to the prospect.

What you should do: First of all, allow your prospects to do 70% of the talking. Make sure you listen to and respect a prospect’s objections to your call. Maybe they really don’t have the time to talk, but that’s not for you to decide. Instead, ask then when would be the best time to talk. If they don’t respond with a date and time that politely tell them that you will call back after a few days.


Of course, there are a lot more mistakes salespeople make while prospecting. It’s always a good practice to retrospect your call if you face rejection.

It’s always a good practice to retrospect your call if you face rejection. Share on X

It might not be your fault all the time, but if you do identify even a small mistake, take measures to correct it immediately. And as you keep making more sales calls, you will be better at it.

Editors Note:

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