The 7 Most Common Flaws Of Unsuccessful Salespeople

Every once in a while you meet a salesperson who lives for their profession, but that’s not always the case. Here are some of the most common weaknesses of salespeople.

1. Lack of enthusiasm

Few salespeople are truly passionate about their company or profession. They have a nine-to-five mentality and don’t live for what they do. It’s those who do that instantly stand out from their competitors.

2. Lack of listening

Salespeople don’t listen nearly enough or – even worse – not at all. Most of them just like to hear themselves speak and suffer from an overblown ego.

3. Lack of product knowledge

Of course every salesperson knows the basics, but do you also know which materials are used and what their pros and cons are? Who supplies the different components?  What’s the philosophy behind the product’s design?

4. Lack of company knowledge

Most professional buyers attach great importance to information on your company. How many employees does the company have? What’s the yearly turnover? Where do you come from and where are you going in the next few years? This info helps them to assess your credibility.

5. Lack of preparation

Some salespeople don’t feel the need to prepare for a sales meeting. They think that the prospect will just throw all the info they need right at them. Well here is a wake-up call. Companies put a lot of time and effort into keeping their website up to date, so they expect you to take a good look at it. Also make sure you have a couple of solid questions at hand for when the going gets tough.

6. Lack of negotiation skills

Many salespeople walk in with a lot of preconceptions and fixed ideas inside their head. They know their exact price and conditions and are not willing to leave room for negotiation. When it’s time for the negotiation process to take off, not all salespeople can handle the level of professional communication. Negotiation and manipulation may sound similar, there is a profound difference between the both of them.

7. Lack of objectivity and professionalism

Personal traits and weaknesses often surface when salespeople are countered. They start taking things personally and lose sight of the goals and outcome.

Your Turn Now

What do you think are the most common flaws among salespeople?
Do you recognize any of these flaws in your own approach?
Can all of them be trained?


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8 Responses to “The 7 Most Common Flaws Of Unsuccessful Salespeople”

  • George on August 5, 2011

    Good job again Wim. I think training can do a lot in terms of improvement, but when it comes to motivation, passion and attitude, that should come from the inside.

    George T.

    • Wim on August 8, 2011

      True George, sales trainig can create a momentary spike in motivation, but for a lasting effect it’s crucial to have a positive mindset. I know that’s not a problem for you though :)


  • Tonia on August 5, 2011

    LAck of listening stands out for me. I hate when sales people only talk, talk and talk and ignore the input from customers. You’re not making yourself popular that way!!

    • Wim on August 8, 2011

      Yep, that annoys me too Tonia. You’re not going to be perceived as a trusted advisor or business consultant when you’re just rattling away! As much as we like to hear ourselves talk, remember that this is not about you, it’s about the customer.

      Thanks for dropping a line Tonia,

  • Tom @ 22sales on August 7, 2011

    Hi Wim,

    I find that some sales people lack confidence in themselves when presenting to prospects / clients.

    Having said that, this lack of confidence usually comes from lack of preparation or lack of knowledge, so in other words: spot on!

    Hope you’re well!



    • Wim on August 8, 2011

      Great addition to the list Tom, thanks! Real confidence comes from within. If it’s only an attitude and not a mindset, the customer will notice.


  • Ashvini on August 8, 2011

    Great points Wim. All essential for avoiding troubles in selling and also becoming a better salesman :) .

    • Wim on August 8, 2011

      Avoiding troubles is the first step my friend, I know quite a few people who never get past this step :)

      Thanks for showing up!

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