10 #SalesFails to Leave in 2019

Every person in sales fails at some point. It’s just a fact.

But there is no reason to be afraid of this! As you’ve probably heard before, a person learns the most not from their successes, but rather from their failures.

We have gathered you some #salesfails from salespeople from all over to make your day a little better and to remind you that everyone fails once in a while.

We also will give you some learnings that you can take away from these fails in hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes in 2020 ;)


1. Nancy Nardin | Founder | Smart Selling Tools, Inc. | California:

A classic e-mail sales fail.

It all started with this message:


I have gone through your company website and found that your company provides Sales Forecasting Software Services?

Let me know if you are interested in the recently compiled database of Sales Forecasting Software Users?

Please let me know your interest, so that we would send you the additional information.

Could you please let me know a few details in the below format…

  • Target Titles:
  • Target Technology:
  • Target Geography:

Awaiting your response…”

Then, to top it off, their next email was this:


Hope all is well!

I am following up on my previous email (mentioned below). Any chance you can review the below email and let me know if this is still of interest to you.

Keep me informed for any additional details. I look forward to hearing from you.”

The first thing to note is that the person clearly didn’t go through the company website. Notice he wanted to know if I was STILL interested, even though there was no response to the first email.

Learning: Do your homework!

2. Cory Bray | Managing Director | ClozeLoop | San Francisco, California:

A manager complains that a salesperson doesn’t uncover pain during discovery. It turns out that “pain” isn’t a field in the CRM and the last time they had a coaching conversation on uncovering pain was 5 weeks ago, based on a training they had 11 months ago.

Learning: “Pain” is not a field in the CRM. Make sure your employees understand key concepts and increase the frequency of coaching and training sessions!

3. Colleen Francis | Owner | Engage Selling Solutions | Ottawa, Canada:

WOW - Salespeople fail multiple times a day! There are so many. One fave from this year is an inside sales person getting ahead of his words and saying “how was your intercourse yesterday?” instead of “How was your internet course?”

Learning: Don’t get ahead of yourself, slow down, and speak purposefully!

4. Max Derwald | Co-Founder & CEO | CANEI.Solutions | Dortmund, Germany:

I had to pitch a pretty big client two weeks ago at his headquarters and just typed in the client’s name in Google to get the address. It told me I had to drive for two hours and through rush hour so I drove early with much slack time. However, rush hour wasn’t too bad so I was super early and had time to stop at a bakery to get breakfast. There, I had this bad feeling in my stomach, so I double-checked the company’s address on their homepage and of course, I had driven to the wrong address. I then had to drive to the right address like a madman, breaking every possible rule but for some reason, I got there right on time. Like spot-on right on time.

I’m still waiting for the speeding tickets.

Learning: Always make sure you have the right physical address.

5. Edmund-Graham Balogun | Internal Marketing & Knowledge Sharing | Siemens | Munich, Germany:

The most common fail was calling a lead & addressing them with the name of the last person I spoke to. Sometimes, saying ‘good morning’ but the person is in a different time zone.

But it got better: the trick was to let the person speak first!

Another rookie move was asking “good time to talk?” People, especially executives, naturally would decline. But I learned to say “I read your article about … wanted to know your thoughts” They almost always granted audience or sometimes offer to call back!

Another rookie move was emailing before calling. Emailing potentially irritates the client. Nobody wants to receive sales/marketing emails. Hack is to call first, then always say “look out for my email with more details” And on the email send an outlook for a follow up.

Learning: Let your prospect talk first & call before emailing!

6. Corporate Bro | Founder & CEO | Corporate Bro Inc. | San Francisco, California:

How about the time a prospect called my cellphone and I thought he was a buddy of mine so I told him how hungover I was on a Tuesday morning…we didn’t laugh about it in the end.

Learning: Check your caller ID!

7. Max Sakiewicz | Sales Development Representative | PandaDoc | Tampa, Florida:

The worst thing that has happened to me on a deal is I accidentally used the wrong message template on a proposal so it had all the wrong names and it was just an awkward conversation when it came to explaining myself to the clients.

Learning: Always double check your templates!

8. Jonathan Press | Sales Engineer | Galley | San Diego, California:

The biggest mistake is listening to the advice of all the “experts” out there, and not listening to the prospect or customer. Also — thinking that anyone will do the work for you. At the end of the day — what moves the needle are activities, outreach, calls, emails — with hard work and preparation.

Learning: Listen to your customer and put in the work!

9. Veronika Traublinger | Customer Success Manager | Ciara | Munich, Germany:

My dad has caller ID turned off permanently, so whenever he calls it always shows up as “anonymous.” As he is the only person I know who does this, I always answer anonymous calls with “Hi Papa.” In this one case, it was a customer. It was strange, to say the least!

Learning: Make sure you know who you’re talking to before you assume it’s your dad!

10. Kevin Davis | President | TopLine Leadership Inc. | Reno, Nevada:

Pam is a salesperson for an office equipment company who recently responded to an RFP issued by a large medical center who needed to buy 500 computer monitors. When Pam read the RFP, it was apparent that the prospect was shopping primarily on price and features, and she suspected the customer did not recognize all their needs. Pam persuaded the prospect to agree to meet with her. Pam knew that her company had unique capabilities that the medical center could benefit from, one of which was an eco-friendly recycling program for all those old computer monitors that the medical center was planning to replace.

But during the meeting Pam didn’t just launch into a pitch about her company’s unique capabilities. Instead, she asked questions that helped the customer to recognize that they had problems and needs they hadn’t previously considered. Pam asked her prospect, “How do you plan to dispose of the 500 old monitors, and is that process consistent with the eco-friendly policy that appears on your website?”

Learning: Salespeople don’t always fail! Sometimes, trying a new tactic can lead to success instead of failure.


In conclusion, it’s important to:

  1. Do your homework.
  2. Offer frequent trainings to ensure your employees understand key concepts.
  3. Slow down and choose your words carefully.
  4. Make sure you have the physical right address when attending a pitch.
  5. Call before emailing and let your prospect speak first.
  6. Check your caller ID!
  7. Check your template on proposals!
  8. Listen to your prospects and put in the work.
  9. Again, check your call ID!
  10. Try a new tactic - it won’t always fail!

With these 10 tips, you’ll rock 2020 and make more successful sales calls than ever. Happy selling!

Published 5 days ago.

7 minute read.

Marlise Schneider

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